The arrival of a new Jewish year is rejuvenating, bringing with it the chance for introspection, visioning and new beginnings.
In this issue of TalkingOutreach, we explore ways to connect spiritual seekers, interfaith families and Jews-by-Choice to the congregational community through worship experiences. Remember that for each person and couple, the first time they walk in the doors of your synagogue is a new experience. Acknowledging this reminds us of the importance of each individual interaction that happens at a synagogue and its impact on a Jewish family.
From our homes to yours, we wish you, your family and your congregation lshanah tovah may you have a healthy and fulfilling new year and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Rabbi Victor Appell
Marketing, Outreach and New Communities Specialist
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High Holy Days and New Beginnings
This month on the website, the URJ is highlighting its many High Holy Days resources. Here are some High Holy Days resources and suggestions just for TalkingOutreach readers. Visit urj.org/holidays/highholidays for more.
Visitors to a new place feel more comfortable when they know what to expect. Some of those walking through your doors this fall have never been inside a synagogue before. Or maybe they've been coming with a Jewish partner and have unanswered questions they've been afraid to ask. An Introduction to Sanctuary Etiquette can help those who haven't been in a synagogue in a while or who are unaccustomed to worshipping with Jews know what to expect when they walk in the door.
Have you ever wished for an easy to read, concise brochure to share with interfaith families, Jews-by-Choice and Jewish congregants who have questions about the High Holy Days? Temple Chai in Phoenix has just that in their High Holiday Guide. First written for interfaith couples, Temple Chai was thrilled to find that all of their congregants were grateful for it. Adapt it, print it, pass it out in your lobby or put it on seats in the sanctuary. (Just please acknowledge Temple Chai.) Your congregants and guests will thank you.
Many congregations host an Open House for new or prospective members before the High Holy Days. Consider opening your house in a different way one that unlocks the secrets of the sanctuary with A House for All People: An Adult Scavenger Hunt.
How does your congregation help support the participation of those in the sanctuary who were not raised as Jews, or who haven't been service regulars since their own childhood? One congregation responded with a Service Survival Series.
Interfaith families comprise at least half of the unaffiliated population in every community. Help your congregation re-think how to reach these families when they are most open to it before their first child turns two.
URJ Biennial and Outreach Perfect Together!
The URJ Biennial, our North American Reform family gathering, will be held this year near Washington, DC, from December 14-18. Your URJ Outreach Specialists will be at the Biennial, offering a chance for you to have personal consultations and discuss your Outreach efforts. We are excited to share with you that Outreach will offer some significant learning sessions, including:
When Intermarriage Touches Your Life explores the ways to engage an interfaith couple, and children of an interfaith marriage, in Jewish life;
Beyond the Welcome: Creating a Home for the Non-Jew in your Community will share opportunities to embrace and integrate interfaith families as significant partners in your congregational community; and
Conversion as a Community Building Tool looks beyond the conversion process and explores the many ways Jews-by-choice help us build our congregational communities.