Getting to the Starting Line:
Becoming a Connected
Adina Frydman, SYNERGY UJA Federation of New York
Lisa Colton, Darim Online / See3 Communications
Is “joining” a thing of the past?
Individualism – DIY
Affordability of Jewish life
Changing Nature of Jewish Identity –
– Fluid, hybrid, self defined
Current State of Synagogues
• Declining membership ->
Lack of Financial Sustainability
• Edifice complex
• Fear + anxiety = imagination lock and Fortress Think
• A glimpse into some bold experiments
• The heart of the community
• “Hurricane Sandy”
Innovations and Strategies for
Synagogues of Tomorrow
• Platforms for 21st century synagogues:
– Social Media Boot Camp (Darim Online)
– Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today (Rabbi Hayim Herring)
• Data informed and Vision Aligned synagogues:
– Sustainable Synagogues Business Models (Measuring Success)
– Guide to Synagogue Management Systems (Idealware)
• Transactional -> Relational synagogues:
– From Dues and Members to Sustaining Communities
of Purpose (Dr. Beth Cousens)
– Connected Congregations (Darim Online)
What is a Connected Congregation?
A connected congregation is one that deeply understands the
meaning of community, and works explicitly to build a strong,
meaningful and engaged Jewish community.
Connected congregations prioritize relationships and shared
values, and align all aspects of institutional management in
service of the community.
Those within connected congregations feel a sense of shared
ownership and responsibility for each other and the
collective, and are empowered to contribute their ideas,
energy and resources.
“Connected” Permeates Everything
Data, Metrics, Measurement
Communication Tools and Strategy
Staffing Structure, Skills, Allocation
Community Values, Vision and Culture
are part of your
being, it can be
every pore of the
When we experience community at its best,
we feel that we matter.
Besides your synagogue, what is a community
in which you felt that you really mattered?
Why did you feel that way?
Was there something made an important difference?
Turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself,
and share a story.
Getting to the Starting Line:
The Top 10 List
1. Clarification of
Chair/VP alignment of
3. Deep understanding
of community and
4. Transparency and
Thinking about risk
Thinking about money
Thinking about space
9. Designing for social
10. Staffing, job
TRANSACTIONAL TO RELATIONAL
Temple Beth Abraham, Tarrytown, NY:
“Our board had to discuss our approach to financial relief. The question
posed was this: When families ask for special relief are we having a
conversation about the pain that family is in or the state of their
finances? In other words, are we acting as agents of Acts of Loving
Kindness or the IRS?”
-From “Tilling the Soil”, a case study on the Darim Online blog
Programs: Design for Social
“We had tried social programming in the past but never got the turnout
we hoped for, which led us to conclude (wrongly) that people did not
want to make social connections through the Religious School.
Measuring Success helped us develop a targeted follow-up survey to
probe deeper about social connections. That led to an “aha moment”
when we learned that people do want to make social connections, they
just do not want us to add new events to their calendars. When we
realized that, we took steps to build socializing and community-building
into existing events.”
VP and Chair of Religious School Committee
Temple Shaaray Tefila
From Vision and Data: Essential Building Blocks for Successful Synagogue Change,
SYNERGY, UJA Federation of New York.
Complete the brief worksheet on your own,
thinking about your own congregation. Where
are you now, and where do you want to be?
Then with others from your congregation, or with
your chevruta from earlier, share your
observations. Why did you choose what you did?
What would you like to see change?
-Download the worksheet and do with your congregational team.
-Seek out reports and resources from SYNERGY and Connected
Congregations and use them!
-Join the Connected Congregations Facebook Group to continue
the discussion and knowledge sharing.
-Stay tuned for the Connected Congregations ‘Getting to the
Starting Line’ workbook due out this spring.
Ask ourselves at every decision point, “Is this
intended to benefit the community, or is this
intended to benefit the institution?”