Area Conservative synagogues will have a new liaison with their national movement, as the director of the Mid-Atlantic district of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism leaves to take a new job in Bergen County.
Lisa Harris Glass, who has been working for the Conservative movement’s umbrella organization in New Jersey since 2006, resigned June 30 to become director of a synagogue renewal project.
Barbara Rosenau will assume her responsibilities as assistant director, serving the recently reconstituted district out of its offices in Philadelphia.
“Barbara’s experience as both a professional and lay leader in the Jewish world makes her uniquely qualified to take on this new position,” said Harvey Rosen, president of USCJ’s former NJ region, in a prepared statement. “She brings enormous energy to her new role and is excited about working with our congregations in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.”
Rosenau has held a number of lay and professional positions in the Jewish world, including director of student life at Gratz College, president of Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pa., and executive committee member of the USCJ Mid-Atlantic Region. Most recently, she was assistant director of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Rosenau will assume her new position in mid-July.
Harris Glass, who lives in Springfield, is leaving USCJ to head the Synagogue Leadership Initiative, a project of the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey in partnership with the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. She will help synagogues, mostly in Bergen County, with strategic planning.
She said her decision to move had little to do with USCJ and more about the opportunity provided by working with SLI.
“This was an opportunity to work pan-denominationally in a smaller geographic area. That’s an exciting opportunity for me to be impactful and see the impact,” she said.
At USCJ, she advised synagogues on new rabbi searches, brokered mergers between congregations, and helped implement the movement’s policies and programs at the district’s 107 member congregations.
Rosen had high praise for Harris Glass. “She’s a consummate professional,” he said. “She knows her stuff.”
Harris Glass was appointed director of the Mid-Atlantic district when it was formed in January, the product of the merging of USCJ’s NJ and Philadelphia regional offices. That merger itself was part of a national streamlining that reduced the number of regional offices from 15 to six.
The merger nearly doubled the number of synagogues under Harris Glass’ aegis.
Leaving the organization is bittersweet for Harris Glass.
“It’s never easy to leave a position you care about and people you care about and a mission you think is worthy,” she said. “But this is an incredible opportunity for me.”