…it’s mystifying that in our American Jewish organizational culture, we have a huge web of information, but we have not successfully networked, tracked and sequenced our people enough. Jews connect to other Jews by accident when we have enough information to help make it intentional and strategic.
We have important organizations nationally and locally that work with populations from baby to bubbe, yet we still manage to drop people in the liminal spaces. Whenever a Jewish teen makes the transition from a youth movement to a university Hillel to a young professional cohort to becoming a young parent, to moving from mid-life to retirement, we should be able to track and sequence. Where were they? Where are they now? How can we move them as seamlessly as possible? This requires that we lower organizational walls and view ourselves as one community with a big “C.” Coordinating transition and passing on information is not just best practice and collegial; it needs to become an expected norm.
If this needs to happen better locally, it also needs to happen more nationally. When people move from one city to another, a JCC, federation or synagogue should be able to track, welcome and help them transition. We have information. We have to do a better job of sharing it.
But organizations are not omniscient. We need to know if you’re leaving and where you’re going. Stronger networking also means that we as individuals pass on our relocation information to the Jewish community and not only to the U.S. Postal Service. The post office has a way to do this but we don’t yet — at least not uniformly. It’s time to create a way to track and sequence and help Jews move from place to place and from life stage to life stage without losing them in the in-between spaces.
Let’s stay in touch.
Erica Brown, “A Better Jewish Network”, The Jewish Week (5 December 2014), 66.