Two weeks ago, the Jewish Outreach Institute welcomed 60 Jewish communal professionals and volunteer leaders to discover how to create new access points to Jewish life this Passover. “Gathering” for an interactive webinar, participants from across North America learned how to bring JOI’s signature Passover in the Matzah Aisle program to markets and grocery stores in their communities.
Passover in the Matzah Aisle serves as “step one” in a strategy to find individuals and families who are minimally or not at all engaged with Jewish life (including many intermarried families) and offer them a positive Jewish communal connection. It is an entry point program for introducing them to meaningful and non-threatening Jewish experiences, and supporting their increased participation in Jewish life.
Each year, JOI is able to bring Passover in the Matzah Aisle to new communities by training talented professionals and volunteer leaders. This year, over three quarters of the Jewish communal professionals and volunteer leaders who participated in our introductory training webinar were new to JOI’s unique outreach methods. It is an incredible experience to hear their feedback, and the ways that the program ideas open up their potential to connect more people to the meaning and value of Jewish life. It shows that there is tremendous interest in creating new access points to Jewish life, and that there is growing excitement among traditional Jewish organizations and synagogues to embrace and create models of outreach.
Over 50 Jewish communal organizations have already introduced Jewish life to people where they are in the weeks before Passover through this Public Space Judaism experience. There is still time to join the growing number of communities that are learning how to transform a taste of matzah into a lifetime of engagement, and JOI is thrilled to offer free training materials for volunteers and professionals, as well as FREE consumer educational materials (including kid-friendly resources featuring our friends from Shalom Sesame*) that you can customize to your individual community or organization. To find out how you can bring these free tools and materials to enhance your Passover outreach this year, contact JOI Senior Director of Training Eva Stern at EStern@JOI.org.
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