Online Outreach

Reaching people where they’re at is the driving force behind much of the outreach work done today. We run Public Space Judaism programs like Passover in the Matzah Aisle, but this also includes public Menorah lightings during Hanukkah and anything else where Judaism is taken outside of institutions and put in a place where people will simply stumble upon it.

Today, that public space isn’t limited to physical areas. Whether it’s “Meet Up” groups or the social networking site Facebook, the public space is more often than not online. The most powerful tool to get a message to a mass audience, say new media marketing experts in a recent JTA article, is YouTube, the online video sharing website. It’s about as public as a space can get.

But making a video is only the first step – getting people to see it is something completely different. A good video doesn’t automatically mean millions of people will watch it, said one expert. And spending a lot of money on something of high quality is also no guarantee. Once a video is available for the world to see, the trick is getting to the world to see it.

This is important for all Jewish organizations and institutions, whether they struggle with affiliation and membership or not. Getting people to recognize what’s out there in terms of Jewish community – via a YouTube video or a Facebook page – is one of the greatest challenges we face, and as a whole we need to do a better job of advertising what we offer. JOI has a Facebook page where anyone who finds us can become a fan, upload videos, share links, network and join an ongoing conversation about outreach and the Jewish future. But, as with most things outreach, we can always do more.

Social networking sites hold incredible potential for putting the Jewish community in a secular space. How are you leveraging the power of YouTube and Facebook for outreach? What are you doing to help people explore and connect with the Jewish community online?

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