Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Layoffs at Cash-Crunched United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism’s embattled congregational arm has laid off a handful of senior staffers amid its ongoing financial crisis, the Forward has learned.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism handed out at least four pink slips, just a week after announcing it would sell its Manhattan headquarters.

The USCJ confirmed the layoffs. “We recently had a reduction in force as part of an ongoing restructuring to achieve cost savings and reduce a structural deficit,” the organization said, in a statement. “Under this reorganization some personnel functions will be outsourced, while others are being reorganized to make more efficient use of resources and address current needs”

Rabbi Paul Drazen, formerly the USCJ’s director of special projects, confirmed that he had been laid off in the sweep. The Forward could not reach the other laid off staffers for comment, and the USCJ would not confirm their names.

Last week, the USCJ said it had decided to sell its Manhattan headquarters and lease new offices. That marked the second time in less than a decade that the perpetually cash-crunched institution had sold its offices to raise capital.

Meanwhile, uptown, Conservative Judaism’s flagship seminary announced today it would sell some development rights at its Morningside Heights property to raise money and pay for a new library


Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.

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Layoffs at Cash-Crunched United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

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