The days when Jewish institutions could count on people showing up are over. The days when newcomers to a community could be counted on to look for a school for their kids, a local market for food, and a synagogue to join are over. The days when a Federation could count on the vast majority of Jews to give a gift are over. The days when a Jewish Community Center was actually the center of the community are over. In this new reality, another program will not meet the need of the moment. If Jewish organizations are to survive and thrice, what they offer will need to change dramatically…and soon.
Jewish institutions must rethink their value proposition. If the “value” offer is a calendar of programs, access to Jewish information, gyms, pools, health clubs, cultural events, even activities to “repair the world”, our people can get all that for much less money than the high cost of Jewish institutional affiliation. But, if our value proposition is the opportunity to be in face-to-face meaningful relationship with Jews and Judaism in a relational community that offers a path to meaning and purpose, belonging and blessing, we have a shot at engaging our people….
Dr. Ron Wolfson, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community (Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2013), 32.