Read working definition. Draw attention to the highlighted words. Emphasize that this is not another “program”, this is a different way of BEING.
In the NY pilot, we are encouraging congregations to both a) do small experiments to adjust and align, and b) Take on one more major initiative in one of the three major areas: program, governance and/or finance. E.g. Looking at new models of membership and dues; making programs about relationships not only content; and making leadership structures and cultures flatter and more transparent. We’ll see some examples of this in a few minutes.
Being a Connected Congregation means writing this “ethos” into the DNA of the congregation. It’s not about making one change and being done. What we’ve found is that the IDEA resonates easily. Operationalizing it is much harder. It’s unlearning, and relearning how we’ve been working for decades. It requires practice in small steps, over and over. Like seeing a physical therapist to help with lower back issues. You can understand the concept well, but retraining your brain, instincts, patterns, and muscles is another thing.
Introduce MATTERNESS concept from Allison Fine. It’s not that we attend, it’s that we MATTER to this community. From the CC definition, “feel a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for each other and the collective”. This goes beyond an usher saying “thanks for coming tonight”. Let’s take a few minutes to get to know each other, and reflect on times and spaces where we felt that we mattered. SHARE A FEW EXAMPLES OUT LOUD IN THE ROOM. HAVE THE CHEVRUTA SHARE WHAT THEY LEARNED FROM THEIR PARTNER. “This is Susie from Ohio, and she told a story…” THIS IS THE END OF THE FIRST SECTION.
A few minutes ago we talked about Connected Congregations being expressed through every pore of the congregation. As we’ve been helping congregations we have identified 10 core areas to focus attention that really lay the groundwork for a community to shift into being a connected congregation. This spring we’ll be publishing a workbook diving into each of these further. (mention sign up?) Run through each point briefly.
Not only leaders TODAY, but next few presidents in line. Consider at every new hire. Vision, risk, and complementary work to get there,
While “transactional” may point to the financial relationship, this shift applies to language and measurement as well as dues models. In a time of declining membership and economic strain, we may have instincts to act like the IRS, when in fact doing the opposite may pay more short and long term dividends.
Shift is both about embodying Connected Congs concepts, AND about the tools and behavior of people today, esp Gen X and Millennials.
Note BEING A PLATFORM for conversation. GREAT use of people in post to model. Could imagine the group going out together!
Have systems in place for moment of need. Fluency with the technology is important. Note BIT.LY link to a Google Spreadsheet to organize volunteers and donations. PLATFORM FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZING. Staff role changes to network facilitator.
ALSO JTA ARTICLE THAT CAME OUT WEDNESDAY. More than nametags and greeters – how do you help people REALLY get to know each other better? To give permission to go deeper, more personal, to connect.
The scaffolding for such programmatic intimacy matters a lot. Here’s an example of a Rabbi hosting a Hanukkah party in his own home. Being in each other’s spaces is powerful. Think outside the BOX. Also, explicit here about not needing to be members. Defining the boundaries differently.
Note the worksheet on the back of the resource page. Read instructions – NOTE WHERE YOU ARE TODAY, and WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
Share ah-ha’s from the chevruta / discussion. One of the congregations in our pilot took this worksheet to their board meeting, and compiled the thoughts of the board. As you can see, there’s no right or wrong, but hopefully helps you reflect, think about where you want to be going. ALSO, often we’ll work on the axes that we WANT to do, neglecting those that really need our attention. Note where your X and O were really far apart – maybe needs more urgent attention? Can download worksheet – see handout.
Wrap up. If time, Q&A. Also remind the dues and membership models session next with Lisa and Dan Judson.
Starting line urj biennial
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?”