This is the time of year when “kosher wine tastings” seem to abound, especially when they are connected to fundraising efforts to sell Kosher for Passover wine. As kosher wines have become more tasty and Israeli wines more fashionable, these activities have increased. As I survey the various Jewish newspapers advertising these programs (to an insider core who presumably reads these newspapers), I wonder what it would take to transform these programs into outreach efforts. I wonder aloud, especially because I am mindful that when we make program suggestions to institutions and communities, they are concerned about adding yet another program or responsibility to their already overwhelmed staff or lay leadership. What would happen if the event were to take place in a local wine or liquor store? What would happen if there were no admission prices charged? Or the event was free to non-members and members were charged a nominal fee?
Others may also be concerned about what it takes to implement a full-scale Public Space JudaismSM program, especially in a small community. By taking a program that is already planned for inside a synagogue or JCC and moving it out, you are able to take your insiders (members) with you. By linking it to Passover, it already has some measure of appeal, because of the large numbers who observe/celebrate Passover in one way or another. And by appealing to wine lovers, rather than those who intend to observe Passover per se, you are able to broaden the appeal to those on the periphery.