NEW YORK, N.Y. – Two Connecticut synagogues are among 35 synagogue throughout North America to be awarded grants by the Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community.
Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford and Young Israel of West Hartford will share in a total of $100,000 in grants have been awarded to synagogues in 15 U.S. states and one Canadian province, in an effort to bring communities back to shul as more people are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The OU received over 300 submissions across 34 states, from a range of synagogues large and small. The 35 winners chosen by the OU Grant Committee represented both out-of-the-box thinking and opportunities that are more likely to rebuild and reaffirm the value of synagogue and community and therefore encourage congregants to return for the long term.
The submissions represent a large depository of ideas and are available to any synagogue that could benefit from the innovative thinking. Ideas included hosting communal Kiddush celebration as a “make-up” for missed milestones, a back-to-shul fair, and a communal parlor meeting project to truly understand the changed needs of congregants. A full list of the winning submissions is available at www.ou.org/grant21.
“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us all that the shul experience creates a sense of community that is irreplicable,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “Shul leaders across the country are discovering new ways to bring back our communities stronger than ever – our families, our singles, our seniors and our youth – and we are thrilled to be able to partner with them on this endeavor.”