Layoffs Announced at Conservative Umbrella Group
(JTA) — The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism said it was laying off a portion of its staff.
The layoffs are an attempt to cut the organization’s budget, the New York Jewish Week reported on Wednesday.
The report quoted a letter Tuesday from the USCJ’s leadership saying, “We are redefining staff positions to align job descriptions and key performance indicators with the goals set forth in the plan and, regrettably, we are reducing our employee head count as of this morning.”
The extent of the reductions wasn’t immediately clear.
The USCJ serves as an umbrella organization for some 600 Conservative synagogues. In recent years it has taken a financial hit as Conservative synagogues have shut down, merged with other Conservative or Reform congregations, or pulled out of the congregational group for practical, financial or ideological reasons.
In 2015 it sold its Manhattan condo space to shore up its budget.
Staff members were told before Passover that there would be layoffs, according to the report. Affected staff members were told whether they would be laid off on Tuesday.
The layoffs are part of a broader strategic plan, called the Roadmap to Strategic Success and Operational Sustainability, which includes bringing the USCJ’s operating budget into balance, the Jewish Week reported.
The newspaper reported that the development of the plan began in Jan. 2018, citing a letter it saw from USCJ. The plan, according to the letter, calls for more collaboration among Conservative movement organizations and for the USCJ to centralize operations and other aspects of the organization.
Rabbi Steven Wernick stepped down at the end of last year as the organization’s CEO, and the organization has not named a new one.
The USCJ did not respond to a request for comment by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.