Our Vision & Values

At Central Synagogue

Judaism matters.
Central matters.

Our Position

Central is transforming the way people experience Jewish life, cultivating that ongoing exploration, and pursuing a powerful vision for the role of Judaism in the world.

Our Vision

Central Synagogue works toward a world in which Judaism is central to our lives and is a profound and positive force for humanity. We are constantly evolving as we pursue that goal. Together, we learn, worship, serve, and continually redefine what it means to be Jewish today, both within our community and far beyond our walls

We do this through our programmatic areas of focus—Worship/Holidays/Music—Pastoral Care/Lifecycles—Adult Engagement—Youth and Family Engagement—Social Justice

Our Values

We believe that Judaism can and does change the world, and we are committed to ensuring it continues through the eternal miracle of the Jewish people.

We believe that all synagogues should transform the way people experience Jewish life, and we strive to embody innovation, rejuvenation, and evolution for a changing world.

We know that a depth and breadth of Jewish engagement – including commitments to study (Torah), worship (avodah), and social justice (tikun olam) – strengthens us and makes for a deeper, richer Jewish life.

We believe in creating a warm and welcoming home for our members and guests, and we look outward to build strong partnerships that constantly redefine our community.

We often try new things, occasionally experience setbacks, and always move forward.

We believe that Israel is central to what it means to be Jewish, and we’re committed to an Israel that’s strong, vibrant, and at peace.

Our Community

Central Synagogue is an inclusive and welcoming community. We encourage participation from all who seek a connection to Jewish life and want to be part of our sacred community regardless of religious background, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. Learn more »

Our Strategic Plan

Since late 2010, our dedicated board of trustees, visionary senior clergy and committed senior leadership team have been engaged in a thoughtful strategic planning process.

This process, which includes the careful crafting of a resonant mission and vision statement that will define and guide us as an institution, is designed to both inspire and more fully engage our already vibrant and robust congregation.

As one of the largest Reform congregations in North America, our clergy and leadership of Central Synagogue recognize the awesome responsibility we hold, not only to our 2,300 families but to our extended community as well. Our “virtual” community of live streaming viewers and ShalomTV viewers, which comprised more than 20,000 individuals during the 2013 High Holy Days, is a growing population of unaffiliated or under-served Jews and non-Jews who draw inspiration and comfort from our worship services.

Central Synagogue is more than a New York City neighborhood shul: it is a living and breathing testament to the future of the Jewish people.

Inspired by Rabbi Rubinstein’s 2010 Rosh HaShanah sermon on the future of Reform Jewry, we ask ourselves:

How will we ensure a Jewish future? If we stopped being Jewish, what would we miss? Does Judaism matter in 2013? What would a world without Judaism look like?

These are just some of the challenging questions that have sparked intimate and ongoing conversations between our clergy and our congregants. Throughout 2011 and 2012, our clergy visited the private homes of our lay leaders, inviting every single member of the congregation to attend one of these gatherings, and discussing these very questions.

These “cocktail parties” are part of our Pass It On initiative, aimed at connecting this generation with the next (l’dor v’dor) to ensure a thriving Reform Jewish future. These gatherings are also an opportunity for our members to understand how a strategic plan, most often associated with a corporate business model, better equips our congregation to thrive in an ever-changing Jewish landscape.

Strengthening the Core

We will continue to enhance these areas that we believe are central to our mission:

  • Liturgy (Worship)
  • Education
  • Life Cycle Events
Adding to the Core

We have identified these are populations for whom we can and should do more:

  • Teens
  • Young Professionals
  • Adults
Reaching Beyond the Core

We will reach in and build out to ensure that Reform Judaism is accessible to these populations:

  • Underserved Jews
  • Unaffiliated Jews
  • Non-Jews

We recognize that the success of this plan involves significant resources: time, money, people. To that end, we are currently analyzing our resources, putting into place systems that will measure our effectiveness and guide us toward the new and better approaches for our work.