Sometimes the best way to bring people together is to find a common denominator. That’s the idea behind “One Book, One Jewish Community,” a project organized through the Jewish Outreach Partnership of Greater Philadelphia. The goal of the program is to bring people in the Philadelphia area together through shared conversations and discussions about a book’s themes and how they are relevant to today’s Jewish community. The program is now in its third year.
“One Book” is a great low-barrier way to connect everyone, no matter what their background or level of Jewish education, to the larger Jewish community. All you need is to buy the book – which is usually discounted for those participating – or find it in a library and then read it on your own schedule.
Right now the program is only in Philadelphia, but I wonder what it would look like if it expanded nationwide – or worldwide. Imagine Jewish communities across the globe reading and discussing one book about Jewish life, perhaps sharing thoughts with neighboring communities via webchats, conference calls or listserves. Maybe that’s a ways down the road, but in the meantime the project is an opportunity for local organizations to serve as a gateway for increased participation in Jewish life.