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Rabbinic Management Institute - October 2013 (American Jewish University)


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A presentation about social media's virtual rabbinic pulpit, delivered to the Rabbinic Management Institute opening seminar at American Jewish University. (October 22, 2013)

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Rabbinic Management Institute - October 2013 (American Jewish University)

  1. 1. Rabbis’ Virtual Pulpit: Connecting With & Empowering Today’s Jews Esther D. Kustanowitz #RMI2013 - American Jewish University October 23, 2013
  2. 2. Social Media Literacy  It’s not about: ◦ “becoming more tech-savvy” ◦ “being a tech geek”  It’s about learning the tools that help you: ◦ manage, organize and access information ◦ manage, increase and deepen relationships ◦ reach people where more of them, increasingly, are (Social Media Revolution)
  3. 3. Social Media Resistance “I don’t even understand how Twitter works.”  “Who cares what I think?”  “I can’t come up with that much content on a regular basis…”  “Who has time for this stuff?”  “Blogging isn’t real writing.”  “The whole internet is just full of complaining and negativity.” 
  4. 4. If You’re Not Listening to Social Media…  …you’re missing half the story: ◦ Lifecycle (photos, announcements) ◦ Emotional challenges (vaguebooking) ◦ What social and political issues gets your congregants fired up (positive/negative) ◦ Information about how your congregants use social media ◦ How congregants feel about your programs or institution ◦ Access to constructive criticism (without F2F)
  5. 5. Should You Blog? Have you:  Read blogs and seen what’s out there?  Identified who will be primarily responsible for creating and posting content?  Identified how your voice strengthens and enhances conversations?  Thought about comments and if/how they should be moderated?  Readied yourself to promote your shul’s mission, but also retract on self-promotion for the good of fostering larger conversations?
  6. 6. Leadership, (Almost) In the Beginning
  7. 7. The New Leadership Balance YOU YOUR CONGREGANTS
  8. 8. Your Congregation: Characters Welcome
  9. 9. Social Media Culture The power of networks and personal recommendations more important  Crowdsourcing challenges and offering responses:  model  Jewish framework:  ◦ Kolyisraelareyvimzehla’zeh ◦ Al tifrosh min hatzibur ◦ Lo aleikhaha’mlakhahligmor…
  10. 10. From “Top-Down” to “Up and Out!”  Used to be just top-down: ◦ hierarchy ◦ undemocratic ◦ user impact: low  Now bottom-up: ◦ peer reviews 4/76/4664763_std.jpg ◦ consumer feedback ◦ invested “prosumer” class  Next phase: Wonkavator
  11. 11. What’s in a name? Each Person Has a Name Each person has a name, given her by God and given her by her father and mother Each person has a name, given him by his stature and his way of smiling, and given him by his clothes Each person has a name, given her by the mountains and given her by her walls Each person has a name, given him by the planets (stars) and given him by his neighbors Each person has a name, given her by her sins and given her by her longing Each person has a name, given him by his enemies, and given him by his love Each person has a name, given her by her feast days and given her by her craft Each person has a name, given him by the seasons of the year and given him by his blindness Each person has a name, given her by the sea, and given her by her death. -Zelda (b. 1914)
  12. 12. Multitudes Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.) - Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”
  13. 13. Biblical Crowdsourcing: Ideas From the Multitudes Law & Order: SBU (Special Biblical Unit)  Tzelophehad’s daughters shifting inheritance laws  2.5 tribes stay on the other side of the Jordan  Aaron’s sons bringing a strange fire  Korach’s rebellion 
  14. 14. “The Future Cannot Be Crowdsourced”: A Crowdsourced Response
  15. 15. Social Media Overload
  16. 16. Facebook vs. Twitter  Facebook – distribution, sharing & discussion (deeper reach) ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦  a newsroom the water cooler/break room Jewish geography: school/camp/uni reunion Twitter - consumption & distribution (wider reach) ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ a cocktail party in a large room a convention a sports arena CNN news ticker
  17. 17. Google + &Pinterest  Google+: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦  video meeting center space to share articles of interest space for discussion? better way to organize friends? Pinterest: ◦ An online portfolio ◦ A scrapbook ◦ A design journal or interior decorating plan  Both: Basically a mystery to me
  18. 18. 5 Things You Can Do Now 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Asehlekharav – both rav and rabim Learn the language Think about social media as an outreach strategy and a conversation to build engagement Create a content plan Be open to input & inspiration from other places
  19. 19. Determining Your Brand What’s your brand identity? What do you stand for? What do people think of when they think of you?
  20. 20. What Does ROI Stand For?
  21. 21. What Does TBA Stand For?    “The Board divided into four groups, each with a different exercise. One of them was to rethink TBA. The institution and the actual letters. Let's say that in addition to TBA standing for Temple Beth Am, it also stood for what Temple Beth Am was all about? What would Temple Beth Am's alternate slogan be if it had to use the same initial letters? As I watched this exercise in real time, producing both meaningful and hilarious solutions, I […] instantly saw the wisdom of the exercise. It pushed us beyond the squat boundaries that can confine us, released some creative and irreverent energy, and actually produced some good and fetching new slogans. Torah Be Awesome. The Best Alternative. Ten Become All (one of my favorite plays on the concept of minyan). You get the point.” – Rabbi Adam Kligfeld “Tightwad But Appreciative” “Thanks, Bespectacled Aba. They Bankrolled Appearance.”
  22. 22. What are these slogans/jingles for? What happens here, stays here.  What’s in your wallet?  Nobody belongs here more than you.  Helping you take one step further on your Jewish journey.  Live generously.  Come stay with friends.  Someone made a store just for me.  Know the code. 
  23. 23. Your Synagogue: All things to all people?
  24. 24. Who is the Competition? 1. As You Like It 2. Available/ Accessible 3. No Membership Fees 4. No Judgment
  25. 25. Our “Collateral” Damage: what message are we sending?
  26. 26. Are you reaching everyone?         BANG Men’s Society Zahava YABA/Jewlyweds (20s & 30s) Ravakim (40s+) Boomer Couples Happy Seniors Non-Sanctuary Minyanim     HHD Services Shiva Task Force Bnai Mitzvah Visioning And Esther would add: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Pressman Parents Brit Milah&Babynaming TBA Daily Minyan SOCIAL MEDIA – for many, the first and most frequent interface  FB groups, Twitter, Pinterest, other tools Examples from Temple Beth Am
  27. 27. Recruitment: Things to Consider      What’s your “engagement story”? How can you better foster members’ creativity, empowerment and investment in programming and synagogue offerings, and engage membership as organizational advocates? Identify your assets (institutional strengths, and members’ skills and interests), and leverage them toward creating deeper emotional touchpoints How can you learn from and collaborate with other synagogues and communities? What conversations can you convene that affect the wider community, and how can you engage other community members and institutions in this conversation?
  28. 28. Engagement & Brand Perception      You’ve been working on a mission statement. What would your elevator pitch be (describe what makes your synagogue or minyan special in under one minute)? If you hired an ad agency to create a campaign for you, what would your messaging/slogan be? If you were training shul members as ambassadors, what would you teach them about the institution, its members and offerings that they don’t already know? What personal skills, background or institutional information would you insist that they have? Who are the people in your neighborhood? (Map your current assets: who can promote and advance the shul’s brand and offerings). Who are your current stars? Which stars outside are you looking to recruit? Identify appropriate asks, some of them not financial. Which shul events are the best-attended? How do you follow up with attendees after events? Can you identify additional calendar points that might be “hot spots” for engagement? How do you structure partnerships? Can you think of recent partnerships that have been successful? What made them successful? What about challenged partnerships? How would you have fixed them?
  29. 29. Presenting Yourself Who are you? Authentic self  Which of your attributes are the ones you want to promote?  What value do you wish to add?  Accessibility  Approach toward interaction 
  30. 30. Rabbi David Wolpe – Sinai Temple
  31. 31. Old Model New Model Rabbi works on sermon for hours/weeks  Presents to congregation  Congregation grumbles at kiddush  Esther’s Saba says: “If you dig for 20 minutes and don’t hit oil, stop boring.”          Blog about sermon topic Open to community suggestion Solicit engagement from stakeholders Listen to feedback Incorporate feedback Inform stakeholders of their valued contributions People listen to the sermon because it reflects them Feedback continues in-person and online Sermon Shakeup
  32. 32. Rabbi Menachem Creditor
  33. 33. Rabbi Sharon Brous - IKAR
  34. 34. Rabbi Jason Miller
  35. 35. Jason A. Miller
  36. 36. #whatrabbisdo
  37. 37. #PewJew
  38. 38. 7 Pre-Social Media Strategy Actions for Your Shul        Determine your institutional voice/s Consider starting a blog, so you can host conversations Consider the role of the rabbi in creating content and engaging conversation (in any location) Identify person/people to update Twitter and Facebook (daily) and blog (regularly) Identify newsy angles for programs, use as hook to promote org in online conversations Find “mavens”/hubs in your community, invite their feedback & partnership Invite personal assessment by a social media trainer
  39. 39. “But I Don’t Have Time!” Personal Training for Busy Rabbis  Social media regimen/cultural immersion ◦ Find time (coffee breaks, lunchtime, etc) ◦ Check Twitter/Facebook page at least once a day  Read the Tweetstream or Status Feed of people and orgs you’re following – begin to participate in conversations  Share a FB group or event with friends who are “hubs” ◦ Visit blogs at, or  click on a few headlines  monitor/join a conversation  Ask questions (professionals/civilians)
  40. 40. “What Do I Post About?”  Trends in the Jewish world ◦ Israel ◦ News & politics ◦ Peoplehood & global issues  Trends in the secular world ◦ Pop culture & celebrities ◦ News & politics
  41. 41. “But How Do I Find Things to Post About?” Google Alerts / Google News Search (archives)  Stay tuned to Twitter, CNN, BBC, Facebook – what are people talking about, and how does it relate to your work?  Authentic lenses on passionate subjects 
  42. 42. Content Exercise If your organization had a blog, what would its purpose/mission statement be?  How often would you post?  What would your first five posts be about?  Who would write them?  How would you promote them/get new readers? 
  43. 43. Case Study: Jewish Humor Central
  44. 44. Resources      “Dues and Don’ts: Shuls Try Different Membership Models” – J Weekly, August 23, 2012 “Many Claim Membership But Few Pay Shul Dues” – Jewish Daily Forward, August 10, 2012 “Where Good Ideas Come From” (book trailer) – 2012 “Getting Engaged, Part 1” &“Getting Engaged, Part 2: Courting Engagement” –, August 2012 “Looking for the Perfect…Shul” – The Jewish Week, 2007 (includes link to Emergent Jewish Communities study from 2007)
  45. 45. How to Find Me  @EstherK   Google me 