The synagogue is a place for pursuing Torah, worshipping God, making sacred relationships, healing the sick and feeding the poor. The synagogue is not a building; it is the set of sacred relationships that constitute the community and the equally sacred acts that flow from it.
Rabbi Larry Hoffman, ReThinking Synagogues
Summer is coming to a close and our congregations are waking up and beginning efforts to welcome the coming High Holy Days. For those of us who work in Membership, this is often one of the busiest times of the year, as we prepare to welcome new members and invite prospective members to become part of our community. To that end, the URJ has developed a wonderful series of High Holy Days ads that are appropriate for print, website and Facebook advertising.
In addition to those online resources, the URJ is also planning what is sure to be a great Biennial Convention. Taking place just outside Washington, DC, December 14-18, the Biennial will have several resources focusing on the three tenets of Membership: recruitment, integration and retention. Join us to learn with and from your North American colleagues and other Membership professionals.
So how do we connect these new members to our sacred community, find out what their unique gifts and talents are and help them become committed, and active participants in our congregations? In order to find appropriate volunteers, we need to nurture a volunteer culture which is the subject of the recent URJ webinar, How to Expand Your Active Volunteer and Leadership Core. Watch it together with your Membership Committee and benefit from the concrete ideas it presents.
How do we connect with our members in a meaningful, personal way? Art Grand, chair of the Commission on Religious Living, has authored an excellent article about sacred conversations that echoes the goals of Lifelong Membership. He talks about ways to strengthen personal and community connections by encouraging your new and longtime members to tell their stories and share life journeys.
As we prepare for the awesome days ahead, we realize that our work in Membership comprises each of the three pillars of Judaism: God (worship), Torah (study) and Israel (the Jewish people). These are what keeps us holy and grounded and the Jewish people is what membership and community is all about!
Union for Reform Judaism
Increase Your Membership and Create Lifelong Members!
High Holy Days Advertising: Dont forget that the URJs camera-ready ads can be made in many sizes, including poster size, which will give New Year greetings to all who enter the lobby of your congregation! While you are on the URJ camera-ready ad page, please look at all the other available ads that welcome the unaffiliated, including ads aimed at young families, 20s/30s, interfaith couples, LGBT, empty nesters and more. These ads can be used throughout the year to welcome all who seek community.
How to Expand Your Active Volunteer and Leadership Core: Bring your new members into active involvement in your synagogue and re-activate your longtime members. This webinar explains the dos and donts of how to extend a personal invitation and establish a leadership track for your members that will take them from the periphery to the active core of synagogue life. (Find the webinar in the Membership section of the URJs webinar archive page.)
Upcoming Opportunities for Your Congregation:
URJ North American Biennial, December 1418, 2011: Have you registered yet for the 2011 URJ Biennial in greater Washington, DC, on Dec. 14-18, 2011? More than 4,000 Reform Jews will attend this formidable gathering. If you have been to a Biennial in previous years, then you know just how special it is. If you havent been to a Biennial yet, its an experience you wont want to miss!
The URJ Biennial is where Reform Jews gather to learn, pray, share ideas, dance and sing, hear from inspiring guest speakers, reunite with old friends, make new connections and make decisions about the policies of the Reform Movement. This Biennial will include some extraordinary events including the largest Shabbat gathering in the world; learning sessions that were created by YOU; renowned speakers; top-notch entertainment; and the chance to network with your peers.
Membership Certification Program, April 19April 22, 2012 Join us in Cleveland for four days of comprehensive training regarding all aspects of Membership: recruitment, integration and retention at the Schindler Fellows Program for Membership Certification. Participants will assess the challenges and strengths of their home congregation and learn best practices from across North America to plan an effective Membership strategy for their synagogue community.
Please note that limited scholarships are available for both small and larger congregations. For details about the program and scholarship information, contact Kathy at 212.650.4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advertising Grant OpportunityNational Center to Encourage Judaism: The NCEJ will pay half of the cost of your advertising in the secular press, up to $1,200 twice a year, for programs that welcome the unaffiliated, Jewish or not, and invite them to attend beginner-level programs about Judaism. Hosting a class or program for those interested in Judaism is an effective way to invite new members into your community!