interview with Dan Judson. Several Reform congregations are experimenting with a “free will” system whereby members pay what they wish. What can we learn from this radical rethinking of dues? Article explores the reasons congregations are introducing new dues systems, how congregations transitioned into the “free will” system, member and bottom-line benefits reported by a variety of different congregations, commonalities in congregations with successful “free will” systems, and other models of synagogue financing. Sidebar reports on the URJ’s Reimagining Financial Support Community of Practice and its Active Learning Network. Spring 2014.
Michael L. Feshbach. Making the case for and introducing new verbiage for the words “membership” and “dues” in the Reform Movement in order to build more connected and holy communities. Fall 2013.
Julie Schwartz. How Reform synagogues turned their Biennial experience into lasting change: re-energizing congregants, increasing membership, engaging youth, involving young families, reviving a caring community, and more. Summer 2013.
interview with Allison Fine. A temple president and co-author of The Networked Nonprofit discusses why synagogues need a new networked model, one of community rooted in conversation, to nourish the feeling of “matter-ness.” Summer 2013.
Barbara Pash. How congregations can successfully engage young families. Profiles model congregations of different sizes and presents experts’ tips for success. Winter 2012.
David Gerber. “Jewish young adults want to be around others who share their passions.” Part of Cover Story: Forum for the Future, in which six 20s and 30s say what they need to find their home in the Jewish community. Winter 2012.
Rebecca Missel. “How many times can a young person go to synagogue alone and be ignored by the leadership before he/she decides to give up?” Part of Cover Story: Forum for the Future, in which six 20s and 30s say what they need to find their home in the Jewish community. Winter 2012.
no byline. Highlights “The Open Tent” program established by Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, which is engaging three different demographics: young professionals 25-45, expectant parents, and new parents. Winter 2012.
Ryan E. Smith. Proven strategies to retain adult membership in your synagogue based on other URJ congregational models and expert advice. Includes URJ resources. Fall 2012.
Jeffrey Govendo. Applying community-organizing methodology to the rabbi search at Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough, Massachusetts. Fall 2012.
Ryan E. Smith. Congregations’ innovative approaches to strengthening member involvement on the Day of Rest. Summer 2012.
Ryan E. Smith. Advice from Reform congregations, URJ consultants, and other experts on how to identify, cultivate, and train the volunteers of today and tomorrow. Winter 2011.
Mark Jacobson, Judy Buckman. Two temple executive directors present differing perspectives on this issue based on such concerns as “sound business principles” and “the very mention of dues leaving a negative impression.” Winter 2011.
What Reform Judaism readers say about how to boost synagogue membership, ensure our economic vitality, and secure the Reform Jewish future in North America. Grassroots responses to the crucial congregational issues of our times. Covers such issues as accessibility and inclusion, being a caring community, finances, temple management, membership, transformation, and welcoming. Winter 2011.
The exponential growth of a pluralistic minyan primarily serving 20s and 30s in Astoria, New York which was created by two HUC-JIR rabbinical students—and what congregations can learn from their initiative.
Jane E. Herman. Congregational stories of how a process of strategic visioning (in which a congregation works together to define what is unique and beloved about it, articulate its core Jewish values/hopes, and imagines a new future) can become a means of engaging the entire community in building and bonding, allow for better congregational decision-making, and offer members were entrees into active synagogue life; also includes “how-to“ advice by URJ consultants & other experts. Fall 2011.
Sue Fishkoff. Explains how an oneg can make or break a congregation’s recruitment efforts, oneg history, different systems to differentiate and welcome newcomers to the congregation, and more. Includes a sidebar guide to breaking the ice, “8 Ways To Greet a Stranger in Synagogue,” by Marcia Nichols. Fall 2011.
A symposium with Shirley Gordon, Judi Ratner, Peter Rubinstein, David Wolfman. Time-tested advice on handling three fictional congregational conflict scenarios, with an emphasis on how to include the entire congregation in the process. Includes "10 Ways To Cool Down Hot Meetings." Summer 2011.
Annette Powers. Successful congregational strategies to recruit prospective members and to engage new ones in temple life. Includes URJ resources. Summer 2011.
Every two years, Congregation M'kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, New Jersey puts on an all-day, community-wide outdoor party called the M'korstock Festival of Music, Arts & Shalom. Summer 2011.
Jane E. Herman. What Reform congregations and others have learned about engaging 20- and 30-something Jews.
Ruth Dickstein. Members of Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, Arizona are challenged to beyond their Jewish comfort level and become teachers of Torah-a process contributing to the temple's growth from 350 to 725 families in three years. Spring 2003.