JOI’s associate executive director Paul Golin has an op-ed in today’s Jerusalem Post called “A Jew Named Christopher,” in which he looks at the Jewish community through the eyes of his unaffiliated friend and spells out some of what we at JOI have been working toward:
We need to learn who unaffiliated Jews are, find out what they might need from us, invite them to something else they’d find relevant, and then follow-up with them personally rather than dumping them on a mailing list or, worse, soliciting them for membership or donations. They need to get to know us, and we need the sensitivity not to inadvertently turn them away again.
Jewish programs are only as good as the Jewish professionals running them. To reach Jews like Christopher, we need the sort of trained army of outreach workers that Chabad has built, but have them offer countless additional paths into Jewish meaning.