These are some of the resources I have found helpful in expanding the different ideas and goals of this book. You may find them helpful as well in learning about the many facets of synagogue renewal.
I’m God You’re Not: Observations on Organized Religion and Other Disguises of the Ego, Lawrence Kushner, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011 A great pulpit rabbi retires and shares his vision with the world. You may not agree with all he has to say but you do have to face the challenges he raises.
The Art of Public Prayer: Not for Clergy Only. Lawrence A. Hoffman, Skylights Path Publishing, 1999 One of the best books on why services in American synagogues are not working and what you can do about it. He was one of the first to focus on the issues.
The Spirituality of Welcoming: How To Transform Your Congregation Into A Sacred Community, Dr. Ron Wolfson, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2007 (Third Edition) His premise? Any house of worship that gets over 1000 people a week to services must be doing something right. He goes on to tell us what they are doing and how we can be doing better.
Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities, Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010 The story of Kehillat Hadar, one of the most successful, independent minyanim in the country. What they discovered about American Judaism and what it can teach all of us about the future of synagogue life.
Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities, Dr. Erica Brown, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2009 I have worked hard to improve my own leadership skills for many years. Dr. Brown puts leadership training into one easy to read book.
Becoming A Congregation of Learners: Learning as a Key to Revitalizing Congregational Life, Isa Aron, Ph.D, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002 A book about using Jewish Learning to make congregants more engaged.
The Self Renewing Congregation: Organizational Strategies for Revitalizing Congregational Life, Isa Aron, Ph.D. Jewish Lights Publishing, 2002 What works and what doesn’t work in cultivating change in a congregation.
Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do About It, Rabbi Mike Comins, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2010 A collection of essays by some of the great prayer leaders about how to make prayer more meaningful for those who pray in our congregations. There is something here for everyone.
Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community, Rabbi Charles Simon, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2009 All the rules for getting and keeping volunteers in one easy to read volume.
Finding A Spiritual Home: How A New Generation of Jews Can Transform The American Synagogue, Sidney Schwartz, Jossey-Bass Books, 2000 The first book on synagogue renewal that charted the transformation of synagogues by examining the first congregations seeking to do something different.
Sacred Strategies: Transforming Synagogues From Functional To Visonary, Isa Aron, Steven M. Cohen, Lawrence A. Hoffman, and Ari Y. Kelman, The Alban Institute, 2010 This is the science behind the transformation. The surveys and charts that convert anecdotes into science.
Stepping Forward: Synagogue Visioning and Planning, Robert Leventhal, The Alban Institute, 2008 A handbook for synagogues looking to re-envision their congregation. How to get the members behind the effort, how to get the board behind the effort and how to define the change and vision the future. (Disclosure: I have a small quote in his book – we worked together on a strategic plan in 2007)
Switch: How To Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Broadway Books, 2010 My daughter recommended this book which is not about synagogues but is about how to make change happen. It breaks down change into its essential parts and has good practical advice on how to address the most difficult changes.