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Synagogue revival – Five-year plan

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U.S. synagogues are getting a big boost designed to rebuild eroding membership, The Chicago Tribune reported Sept. 8.

Three leading Jewish philanthropists said they would invest $18 million over five years to help synagogues rebuild themselves.

The investment will be used to help congregations build their funding, staffing, leadership, holiday worship and education, and to help Jewish denominations work together.

The announcement was made at the close of a two-day conference on declining synagogue membership that was sponsored by Synagogue Transformation and Renewal, or Star, the philanthropists’ new Chicago-based group.

The three philanthropists are Charles Schusterman, chairman of an international oil and gas firm in Oklahoma; Michael Steinhardt, a returned Wall Street financier and founder of the Jewish Life Network; and Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., chairman of the Joseph E. Seagram Co.

Steinhardt said only about 30 percent of the roughly 5.5 million Jews in the U.S. belong to synagogues.

For full story, go to Chicago Tribune.

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