4 Rules Every Shul Should Live By

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Rabbi Einhorn’s SynaBlog is a new innovative blog that shares tips, tactics, strategies and best practices that enable Shul growth and promote Shul vitality.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to distill the elements of success. Along with the OU I have seen countless synagogues around the country. There are many components that contribute to how and why a shul thrives. Nevertheless, there seems to be 4 elements that are within our ability to control:

#1 Be relentless.
If your shul has taken the time to develop a mission, then live by it. Program around it. Pick scholars in residence that are aligned with it. Be committed to what you say you are. Also, make sure it is always clear. If you’re not going to tell the story of your synagogue, then somebody else will do it for you and it won’t sound pretty.

#2 Shul needs to be inspiring.
When all is said and done we all look for meaning. If we come to shul and are not inspired then at some point we must ask ourselves – what are we doing here? Keep asking the critical questions that really explore what and how makes a shul and your particular shul inspiring.

#3 WWXD Ask yourself what would Rabbi/President X do?
Find a Rabbi/Synagogue/Program Director/President whose work inspires you and ask yourself often – what would so and so do. You can’t always be looking over your shoulder, still, there are masters in the field who have been doing a terrific job year in and year out – look to them for guidance.

#4 Never let a great moment go by.
Our shul’s need to speak to the landmarks of a year when people want to reflect. If 9/11 is approaching, you can’t merely gloss over it. Your synagogue represents the voice of its constituents. When something amazing happens in Israel – your shul must design a program or a speaker panel that expresses the excitement of the moment.

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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is a Musmach of Yeshiva University. He has served as the founder of WINGS a Synagogue Consulting group. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Rabbi Einhorn was the Rabbi of Manhattan’s West Side Institutional Synagogue where he helped grow the membership by 70% over 4 years. Currently, he is the Rav and Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh.