Going Beyond “Warm and Welcoming” – New Ideas Around Engagement

February 13, 2023Rachel Margolis, RJE

We are excited to launch New Ideas Around Engagement: a URJ Series! In this series, you'll explore ways to create a community of belonging alongside others who want to go beyond hospitality and think differently about their communities' engagement goals. Learn about the three values of engagement: community, belonging, and curiosity. In this six-session seminar, you will also learn new community-work language, consider new principles for engagement, be inspired by practitioners in the field, and build a network of other leaders who are making their communities ones of belonging. You can register for New Ideas Around Engagement: a URJ Series now!

You often see a congregation describe itself as "a warm and welcoming community." However, "warm and welcoming" is a catch-all that means little if we are welcoming people to a table that is already set. A warm and welcoming community says, "please join us for our meal at our table that we set without you. You are welcome here, but the work has already been done." Vibrant, thriving communities are those that are working to move past "warm and welcoming" towards "belonging." Leaders in a community of belonging say, "we want to know you!" - and make time to meet one-on-one with people outside of the synagogue walls. Leaders in a community of belonging take the time to learn names, find out what drives people, and say, "I'm so glad you are here! Let's work to set the table together so that we can enjoy a meal together."

Springtide Research Institute's recent report, "Belonging," shares a framework for building a community that helps people feel named, noticed, and known. Learning people's names, seeing them for who they are, noticing when they participate, and truly taking the time to listen and learn about what drives and matters to them are the most impactful ways to engage people. But who are the people you're looking to engage? What can you and your community do to better connect with those on the margins? Perhaps they are already members of your congregation or perhaps they are not - either way, engaging with them is part of your holy work.

Each session of this series will be a conversation centered around engagement and the values of community, belonging, and curiosity. Registration information for additional one-on-one discussion sessions will be sent separately.

Session dates:

Wednesday, March 8, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 22, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, April 11, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, April 25, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, May 9, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, May 23, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. ET

If you would like to learn more about creating a community of belonging, check out our upcoming Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion workshops!

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