Mikdash 2020 is a pilot program created to enable a cohort of synagogues to develop and launch a formal strategic planning effort to strengthen their organizations’ long-term viability.

Our aim is to affirm synagogues as a central address and spiritual home for modern North American Jews. We will do this by enabling participating communities to  experience a transformation in growth, outreach, and engagement. Synagogue teams in the cohort will learn to articulate—and put into action—a shared vision, enduring mission, and unique value proposition. With support from our expert faculty—and from one another—participants will explore how to identify key constituents, stakeholders, and areas for growth. Next, they will craft a strategic plan for change in areas such as leadership, structure and program. Together, participants will then put their plans into action.

Core Components

 Each synagogue community will:

  • Receive a grant of up to $100,000 towards the cost of strategic planning and the hiring of a part-time project manager
  • Receive an ignition grant to experiment with new ideas that emerge from the strategic planning process
  • Upon completion of the strategic plan, become eligible for a grant towards the implementation of the strategic plan. This grant will be offered as a 1:1 match.
  • Participate in two in-person seminars
  • Receive monthly mentoring by program directors
  • Participate in peer consulting
  • Host one site visit


This program represents a partnership between Mikdash and the synagogue. In return for our investment, we ask for the following commitment from the synagogue team:

  • Time and energy. This is not an easy process. The synagogue’s lay and professional leadership must be able to commit time, energy, and focus to the two-year process of strategic planning and implementation. True transformation can only take place if every member of the synagogue’s leadership team is up to the task.

The synagogue’s Rabbi, Executive Director, and Board Chair must fully participate in webinars and attend two retreats over the course of the two-year program.

  • Shared investment. Participating synagogues will be asked to share in the cost of the strategic plan and the hiring of a part-time project manager, and to raise the match for the challenge grant.
  • Willingness to try new things and learn from experience. Innovation is inherently risky. Participants will be asked to think outside the box and try things they haven’t tried before—and to have a good sense of humor and a persevering attitude. Even when things don’t go as planned—and trust us, they won’t—successful program participants will be able to learn from their experience, keep their chin up, and try again.

Throughout Jewish history, successful communities have been those that knew how to respond to changing community needs and adapt with the times. We’re excited to help the next generation of synagogues do the same, and secure their place as essential spiritual homes for 21st century Jews.

Nominate a synagogue today!