FSA Requirements

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 $100 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.

Application Requirements

  1. Two reference letters from clergy and lay people that speak to the candidate’s ethical and professional behavior, leadership capabilities, and contribution to the synagogue community.
  2. Attend a minimum of two NAASE Professional Conferences (not inclusive of the conference where the FSA is conferred). Financial assistance could be considered for FSA candidates unable to attend the conference due to financial constraints of their synagogue. 
  3. Practical Paper – Submitted half-way through the process. A minimum of two pages on the candidate’s strengths and challenges; professional growth over the FSA candidacy period; and suggested methodology to improve and strengthen NAASE. 
  4. Participate in a professional conversation to take place 2/3 of the way through the FSA completion process. The conversation can be based on the practical paper, among other items including Communication, Human resources, Membership, Finance and budget, General synagogue management, Governance, Jewish ritual.

The Vice President of Professional Development of NAASE will contact candidates directly for #3 and #4 above.
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Electives (must total 25 credits):
Work towards some of these accomplishments can have been achieved prior to working towards the FSA:

Points   Accomplishment Notes
12 Serve on the NAASE Board for two years.


10 Chair or co-chair a NAASE conference.


5 Hold a master’s degree in a related field.


5 Serve on a NAASE Task Force or Committee.


+2 if serve as Chair
5 Mentor a new NAASE Executive Director for a minimum of two years.  
5 Attend the “Week of Study”. +2 if Chair the Week of Study (if applicable)
5 Hold a leadership position in a NAASE Regional Group for a min of 2 years. +2 if Chair
4 Teach a class at NAASE U or a Regional Conference.  
4 Present at a USCJ sponsored event.  
3 Submit an original contribution to the NAASE Administrative Resource (ARC) in management related categories such as financial oversight; fundraising; staff management and supervision; governance; etc…


3 points each submission, up to a maximum of three submissions for a total of 9 points
2 Attendance at any one other Jewish communal conference. +1 if NATA conference

+1 if USCJ conference

2 Teach a virtual distant learning session.  
2 Volunteer work in the Jewish community. Min 20 hours

Begin Application