There is a simple way to make synagogues “sacred and vital,” said Dr. Ron Wolfson in the New Jersey Jewish News. “Congregations can start by making sure everyone who walks in the door is warmly greeted.”
Though it sounds easy, this first step is too often overlooked. That moment when someone – especially a newcomer – walks through our doors is an opportunity to establish a lasting connection. So important is that experience for both the synagogue and the visitor, Dr. Wolfson, a professor at the American Jewish University, now devotes much of his time to helping synagogues realize the power of welcoming. As president of Synagogue 3000, an organization that aims to make synagogues compelling moral and spiritual centers for the twenty-first century, he helps challenge “the existing assumptions of synagogue life in North America.” Most notably, this means a successful synagogue is not one that merely offers more programs, but instead develops a deeper relationship with their members. This begins with a warm welcome.