Senior Member and FTA


Strengthen your image…status…and effectiveness!


NATA has established a category of membership referred to as Senior Member. Senior Member status denotes that an Executive Director/Temple Administrator has been in the field of synagogue administration for at least three years and has embarked on the certification process and has completed the management exams portion of the requirements needed to achieve the FTA. A Regular Member in good standing of NATA may begin the process of certification before achieving three years of service, but recognition as a Senior Member requires a minimum of three years full-time service in a Reform congregation.


  1. Examinations are conducted at such times and places as the Board may from time to time designate. Regular examinations are scheduled annually in conjunction with NATA’s Annual Conference, as well as during NATA Institutes.  Examinations may be scheduled at the request of groups or individuals completing special courses of study.
  2. The Board may designate persons to serve as Proctors to the Board in the conduct of its examinations. Such Proctors may also serve as examiners in the oral portions of the examination.
  3. The Board may conduct written and/or oral examinations of the candidates.
  4. The examinations will be one and one half (1 1/2) hours in duration in each of the following areas of study:
    • Membership
    • Public Relations
    • Personnel
    • Budgeting and Finance
    • Tools of Synagogue Management
    • Governance
Examinations in all subjects must be completed on the days designated. Candidates who fail an examination will be so notified by the board. Executive Directors and Administrators often serve as role models for Synagogue members and the community. It is a demanding and challenging calling requiring individuals with education, knowledge, training, and distinct professional skills.


The FTA – Fellow in Temple Administration certification – demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of professional skills and professional growth in our field. In recognition of the critical role played by an administrator in the life of the congregation, NATA has established a proposed standard of knowledge and experience that is a recognized credential for those who wish to demonstrate their competency as Temple Administrators. The Fellow in Temple Administration (FTA) Certification Program is another step in NATA’s continuing effort to enhance the professionalism and knowledge of its membership.

To find out more information please, fill out an application by clicking on this link. To discuss the the process and your ideas for a FTA Thesis or FTA Project, please contact the V.P of Education: Aliza Goland, FTA Executive Director at Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA

Once a Temple Administrator has earned an FTA, it is objective evidence of his or her professional competence. It differentiates the certificate holder from other Administrators in the field. Additionally, it demonstrates to the members of the congregation, to other professionals employed by the synagogue, and to the public-at-large a commitment to continued learning and improved professional performance.


The FTA Certification Board, (hereafter referred to as the “Board”), established in 1962, is authorized to approve outlines and completed theses or projects, and to award its Fellowship in Temple Administration Certification to those candidates who have complied with the requirements for certification and have successfully passed its examinations.

Its membership consists of three members of NATA appointed by its president; two URJ consultants in the Department of Synagogue Administration appointed by the president of the URJ; and two representatives of the CCAR appointed by its executive vice president.  In addition, an academician from HUC-JIR is appointed by the chairperson of the committee.

The Board is not an educational body. It confers no degree. Its certificate does not bestow legal qualification on a candidate. In no way does the Board purport to interfere with or limit the professional activities of any Temple Administrator. Neither is it the intent of the Board to define requirements for employment of a Temple Administrator by any congregation.


To establish standards of qualification for Temple Administrators who desire and request the Board’s certification attesting to their ability to meet these standards. To issue Certificates of Fellowship to those candidates who have met its requirements. To further opportunities for better training of Temple Administrators in order to elevate the standards of the profession.


An Executive Director/Temple Administrator is eligible for FTA certification upon:
  1. successful completion of all specified examinations in the subjects of synagogue management and to Judaic studies as described below
  2. submission of an acceptable thesis or project; and
  3. completion of a minimum of three years of active service as a full-time Administrator in a Reform congregation.


  1. Applicants must complete and submit the application form and provide all requested data completely and accurately at least 30 days before the announced date of the examination. The application must be submitted in accordance with the rules published by the Board, and it must be accompanied by an application fee of $50.00, which non- refundable unless the applicant is rejected from taking the examinations. The candidate must sign the Candidate’s Agreement, which is part of the application form.
  2. The Board reserves the right to reject an application for any reason deemed advisable and without stating the same, and the action of the Board shall be final.
  3. The candidate must possess high ethical and professional standing in the profession.
  4. The applicant must be a Regular Member in good standing of the National Association of Temple Administrators and must be employed as a full-time administrator.
The FTA Certification Board consists of the following representatives: Aliza Goland, FTA, Jack Feldman and Abigail Goldberg Spiegel, FTA


Each candidate will be required to submit an Outline of the proposed thesis to the Certification Board in advance of beginning the writing of the thesis (or commencement of the Project). The Certification Board will make suggestions and grant approval or deny approval of the topic.  The proposal should include a brief description of the objective of the paper and its rationale, an assessment of its relevance to the work of the Temple Administrator, an outline of the thesis and a preliminary bibliography. The paper must be at least 2000 words related to synagogue management and/or matters related to Reform Jewish life. The subject of the thesis should provide insight into some facet of the management process and should reflect issues of significance that can benefit a wide range of congregations. The thesis topic should be applicable to 80% of Temple Administrators.  Upon approval of the topic, the candidate can commence writing.

Candidates whose papers are accepted as being satisfactory may, with the permission of the Board, publish such papers. All papers shall remain the property of NATA.  Accepted papers may be reproduced by NATA as part of a resource bank to provide assistance and guidance to colleague administrators or congregational lay leaders.

PROJECT (Instead of the THESIS)
An action-based project, (instead of a thesis) is now allowable for completion of the FTA Certification.  The project description must be approved by the NATA Certification Board, and the applicant must take the full initiative for planning, seeking approval, and implementing the project proposal.  The Project must address a key area of Temple Administration.

The Project should:
  • Be relevant and of practical use to you in your employment context
  • Strengthen or add to your knowledge and skills as an administrator
  • Contribute to the field of temple administration
The Project submission report should include:
  • Purpose Statement and Rationale
  • Project Document describing the project
  • Process that the Administrator followed to complete the project
  • Description of the team collaboration and participation of others
  • Project completion date
Temple senior staff, support staff, and lay leaders are encouraged to participate in the Project.  Clearly define the roles of all participants.  After the Project is completed, write a summary of the Project accomplishments, as well as include evaluations by each participant in the Project.
Select a project that not only interests you and your congregation but also would interest other colleagues and lay leaders who may benefit from reading and implementing your Project!


The decision of the Board is final in respect to the candidate’s passing, failure or partial failure. The final action of the Board is based on the candidate’s ethical and professional record, training and attainments, as well as on the results of his/her formal examinations and thesis.

A certified Administrator should refer to himself/herself as a “Fellow in Temple Administration” and may append the letters “FTA” after his/her name in all professional publications and correspondence.


Certificates issued by NATA are subject to the provisions of the Board, and each certificate is subject to revocation in the event that: (a) issuance of the certificate shall have been contrary to any of the provisions of the Board; or (b) the candidate so certified shall not have been eligible to receive such certificate, irrespective of whether or not the facts constituting him/her so ineligible were known to or could have been ascertained by the Board at the time of the issuance of such certificate; or (c) the candidate so certified shall have made any pertinent misstatement of fact in his/her application for certification; or (d) the Temple Administrator so certified shall violate the standards of ethical practice and conduct.


In preparing for examination in Jewish studies, candidates should understand that primary emphasis is directed to the application of Jewish history, thought and practice to the operations of the Reform synagogue and the life of the Reform Jew. That emphasis would relate especially to the evolution of Reform Jewish life in Europe and America, the range of belief and practice which distinguishes Reform Judaism and the application of those patterns of thought and practice to the observance of rituals and ceremonies and the pursuit of social justice in Reform Jewish life.

In addition, candidates are required to demonstrate basic Hebrew reading fluency and vocabulary to participate knowledgeably in the worship service and to understand the Hebrew terminology most frequently employed in study programs and ritual procedures of Reform congregations.