JOI Outreach Comes To Morris County

We have done five community “outreach scans” in the last twelve months, the latest of which was in Morris County, New Jersey. Last week, we presented community leaders there with the results of the outreach scan, as reported in the New Jersey Jewish News. If a demographer goes into a community in order to determine its population trends, JOI goes into a community in order to determine whether existing institutions have the capacity to respond to those trends.

Over the past couple of years we have looked extensively at over 500 institutions through our scanning process. All the outreach scans during the last twelve months were completed at the behest of local Jewish federations, except for the most recent in Morris County. In this particular case, we were invited to take a look at the community at the request of the Jewish Community Center of Metrowest and its assistant executive director Barak Hermann. Among the Jewish institutions in the Morris County area, the JCC is the only non-synagogue institution in the community. This is particularly important to note, especially given the fact that few families on the periphery currently affiliate with synagogues.

As we reported to Morris County leadership, to be most effective, outreach needs to be implemented holistically, fused with the very core of an institution. It needs to be prioritized when holding programs, drafting marketing, and strategizing recruitment, engagement and follow-up. Over the next nine months, our work will continue with the Morris County Jewish community as well as with individual institutions—and particularly with the JCC—through their lay and professional leaders, in order to help them become more welcoming to newcomers and those on the periphery, particularly the growing segment of interfaith families and their children.


  1. The Community Initiative in Morris County has been a tremendous vehicle for bringing the lay & professional leadership in Morris County Jewish community together to work collaboratively on outreach. We are building relationships with synagogue leadership that was not there before we started our work with JOI. The trust and respect that is continuing to emerge will be the foundation for developing the much needed collaborations to be effective in executing new outreach methodologies especially Public Space Judaism.

    Comment by Barak Hermann — February 5, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  2. I have high hopes for JOI and for our JCC, our Synagogues’ and UJC’committment and partnership in this outreach initiative. Like other Federations around the country,I hope UJC will become a more prominent partner in this project. We have a universal problem that needs to be addressed. Kol Yisrael (every Jew being responsible for one another)is lost on so many Jews here. We need to re-engage an entire population of Jews in Metrowest. We need to make sure that when someone wakes up one day and wants/needs to connect to their Jewish community that a thriving Jewish community is there for them. We are not a community that can afford apathy or disunity. This project affords us a positive means of working together to build and nurture Jewish infrastructure without ignoring the less tangible Jewish connections with Jews that are currently unaffilitaed and detached, all the while promoting wonderful Jewish values.

    Comment by Rebecca Gold — February 6, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

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