Director of Communications and Public Relations

Job Type

Full Time


Details: Full-time salary commensurate with experience. Generous benefit package.




30 West 68th Street
New York
New York
United States


Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (SWFS), a large, dynamic, and socially active synagogue with unique outreach programs seeks a Director of Communications and Public Relations. Located in the heart of the Upper West Side, SWFS has a highly diverse congregation of over 800 family units (approximately 2300 people). SWFS has been at the forefront of American Reform Judaism for over 100 years and has been a leading voice for social change and justice during this period. SWFS is on the cutting edge of new trends in worship, education, and outreach, drawing people from throughout the five boroughs and hundreds of “virtual” participants who worship and participate online. 

SWFS is building upon its explosive growth, and has the vision to become New York’s pre-eminent Jewish religious, educational, cultural, and social institution. Its mission is to influence society, attract attention to relevant issues, and fulfill its mandate to “repair the world”. 


Reporting Relationships

The Director of Communications and Public Relations will report directly to Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, SWFS’s Senior Rabbi, in coordination with the Executive Director, Sandra Divack Moss.  Rabbi Hirsch is a visionary with a unique combination of deep religious commitment, keen global awareness and influence, and sophisticated strategic insights. Since joining SWFS in 2004, Rabbi Hirsch has led a dramatic revival in Jewish life. He has served on numerous boards of national and international bodies and is currently an officer of the New York Board of Rabbis and a member of the Partnership of Faith, an interfaith body of New York religious leaders. Rabbi Hirsch is a prolific writer and world class speaker.

Ms. Divack Moss started her career by establishing DOROT, a model intergenerational community service organization. She went on to work as a consultant, helping organizations develop and implement strategies for growth, consulting with various organizations, including the Eldridge Street Project and UJA Federations of North America. She has been the Executive Director of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue since 2009. 



The Director of Communications and Public Relations is a member of the senior staff. The Communications Director will develop and oversee the synagogue’s messaging, and coordinate the synagogue’s overall strategy for internal and external communications, marketing, media, and public relations. Within the synagogue’s fast-paced results-oriented environment, the Communications Director will work collaboratively with other senior staff members – clergy, directors of nursery school, religious school, teen program – to develop and implement communications, marketing, and public relations strategies that will expand the membership, influence, and impact of the synagogue. The Communications Department presently has one full time assistant, a Marketing Manager, and utilizes outsourced graphic designers.

Some key performance metrics of the job, among others, are:

  • frequency and quality of coverage in print and online media
  • online readership, traffic, and other metrics of reach and usage of SWFS communications
  • membership acquisition and retention rates
  • satisfaction levels among SWFS members with communications


-       Collaborate with the Senior Rabbi, Executive Director and senior staff to develop communications, marketing, and public relations strategies that will expand the membership, influence, and impact of the synagogue

-       Identify, refine, and implement the synagogue’s core messages to ensure organizational consistency

-       To attend school and communal events and religious services in order to capture the essence of SWFS in communications

-       Identify significant media and public policy issues that can be leveraged to promote SWFS and, by drawing more attention to the synagogue, can assist in fund raising

-       Manage press relations, pitch stories, track results; focus on NYC and national opinion media

-       Develop stronger ties between the synagogue, members, prospective members, and the public at large by:

o  overseeing and developing a progressive SWFS web site and web presence that will enhance the connection between the synagogue and its members, and brand SWFS as a major force in Jewish life and in national and international religious affairs. Devising, implementing, measuring, and managing effective communications strategies, which could include blogs, video, e-mail, postal, and major social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

o  creating, executing, and managing content syndication and distribution strategies

o  building media attention elevating the clergy and synagogue in news outlets

-       Develop and oversee strategy for marketing the synagogue’s nursery school and religious school.

-       Collaborate with the development team to integrate outreach efforts and enhance public awareness of fundraising initiatives, campaigns, and special events.

-       Devise annual SWFS membership and fundraising marketing plans, including competitive analysis.

-       Act as an internal resource for all parts of SWFS that need to create communications.

-       Stay abreast of emerging communications techniques and competitive activity.

-       Manages weekly live-streaming and other video content posted to streaming video sites.

-       Oversees department budget. 


The ideal candidate will have:

-       Significant client-side communications experience. Not-for-profit organizational / institutional experience preferred

-       Media relations: pre-existing relationships with journalists, editors, and major bloggers at the following types of media properties: NYC media properties, national opinion media

-       Experience using social networks to build community and advance an organization’s message

-       Understanding paid social media and techniques such as targeting ad placement in a segmented market

-       Experience in framing social and values-related messages, and in branding institutions;

-       Success in building the profile and reputation of an institution and the thought leaders within the institution; helping thought leaders create outstanding content

-       Detail orientation; willingness to implement; strong organizational and persuasion skills

-       Familiarity with major issues facing the Jewish people

-       A strong understanding (experience preferable) of positioning a not-for-profit organization to achieve tangible outcomes in a competitive communications environment

Full-time salary commensurate with experience. Generous benefit package.

Stephen Wise Free Synagogue

30 West 68th Street

New York, NY 10023



Medical, dental, paid vacation, retirement, life insurance

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply