FSA Requirements

This overview is intended solely as an introduction to the areas in which requirements exist. Candidates for the FSA should consult the official guidelines available upon request for formal and specific requirements and conditions.

The Fellow in Synagogue Administration (FSA) Program is the certification program of NAASE which affords synagogue executives the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership, professionalism, experience, competence and knowledge of the field. Similar to certification programs in other fields, the FSA program exhibits one’s commitment to continuing professional development and education, as well as the association’s commitment to fostering growth and excellence in its members. The attainment of the Fellow in Synagogue Administration Certification recognizes one’s longevity in the field, participation and leadership in the association, and an advanced understanding of the required knowledge to be a successful synagogue executive.

The Significance of the FSA Certification

Executive Directors serve as role models for their congregants and the local Jewish community. They fulfill a role that involves synagogue administration, budget and finance, human resources, membership, facility management and ritual knowledge. Executive Directors in Conservative synagogues are often part of a leadership team that includes the Senior Rabbi and President. In recognition of the critical role that Executive Directors play in the life of a congregation, this credential has been developed and is recognized by one’s peers at NAASE and the national synagogue association for conservative Judaism – USCJ. This FSA credential is a standard of knowledge and experience that demonstrates the competence of an Executive Director. Through this certification NAASE also is continuing its effort to enhance the professionalism and competence of its members. This credential also demonstrates to synagogue professionals, congregants and the community-at-large the executive director’s commitment to knowledge, personal growth and improved professional performance.

General Requirements for Certification

  • The applicant must complete the application and submit it with a $50 non-refundable application fee. The application and fee are good for two years after which the candidate must reapply.
  • The candidate must exhibit a record of excellent ethical and professional behavior, supported by letters of recommendation.
  • The Board of Governors reserves the right to reject an applicant for any reason deemed advisable and the decision of the Board of Governors action is final.
  • The Board of Governors may also revoke the FSA certification for unethical behavior and behavior unbecoming a synagogue executive.

Specific Requirements for Certification

Longevity, Leadership and Participation *

* All are required

  • Be a regular NAASE member in good standing for a minimum of three years (this amount of time can include time spent working towards the completion of FSA requirements)
  • Currently work in a Conservative synagogue, in order to apply for an  FSA, and must remain in a Conservative synagogue until completion of the process in order to be conferred.
  • Serve as a full-time Executive Director in a congregation for a minimum of three years
  • Hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree
  • Be a registered participant in a combination of three annual Conferences (minimum of two) and/or Weeks of Study
  • Chair or co-chair a NAASE Conference or Committee OR serve a minimum of two years on the NAASE Board of Governors

Knowledge of the Field

  • Submit three original contributions, in management related categories, to the NAASE Administrative Resource Center (ARC)
  • The candidate shall accomplish a minimum of two of the following:
    • Teach a class at NAASE University
    • Teach a class at a USCJ Biennial or Regional Convention
    • Publish an article in the NAASE Journal on administrative theory or on an aspect of synagogue administration
    • Earn / hold a Master’s degree in a job-related field

Participation in a Professional Conversation

  • The candidate will participate in a one hour professional conversation at a NAASE Conference with three FSA-certified colleagues, which may cover some or all of the following subjects:
    • Communications
    • Human resources
    • Membership
    • Finance and budget
    • General synagogue management
    • Governance
    • Jewish ritual