Our Mother of Good Counsel / Adath Jeshurun Synagogue 

A Catholic Church. A Jewish Synagogue. One in suburban Philadelphia. One in suburban Minneapolis. Both celebrating 125th Anniversaries, and both hired Insyte Partners to help them honor their past by visioning their futures. Each congregation explored critical questions and closely held assumptions.

Many of their questions overlapped. How can we…

  • Embody a welcoming spirit in all aspects of the community?
  • Effectively serve the diversity of needs of the many generations of our members?
  • Proactively and meaningfully engage and educate our young people?
  • Create music that honors our traditions and enlivens our services?

And some questions were unique to each. For the Catholic parish, what is the role of lay leaders in a world with decreasing numbers of clergy? How do we better the live the words of Christ through ministries? How do we heal from pain that exists in the church today?

For the synagogue, how do we honor our commitment to the land, the people and the State of Israel? How do we foster intentional Jewish lives? How do we model what it means to be a leading Conservative Jewish synagogue and best support the Conservative Movement?

Each community embarked on learning journeys to explore these questions – journeys to other congregations, to orchestras, to a baseball team, to non-profits. The Jewish group visited “mega-churches.” The Catholic group visited a marriage-counseling center. Each held a 3-day dialogue and decision-making meeting to come together as a community. Each developed a series of “bold statements,” which describe their respective visions of the future and agreed to them as a community.

Two years later, each has made much progress. The parish strives to become the “Holy Daring” through varied spiritual offerings, new ministries, a liturgy infused with new homilies and a wide range of music offerings. The synagogue created a welcoming culture that served it well when a neighboring synagogue closed and merged with them. It took a leadership role in re-shaping community Jewish education and has assumed positions of leadership on national organizations supporting Israel.

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