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.
The problem I face with so many synagogue’s is that we simply are afraid to think big. Whether we micromanage or spend too much time on events with low impact, it seems to stem from a fear of strength. In this blog post I’d like to take out some strategies how to GO BIG OR GO HOME.
#1 – Believe that you can do it.
We all tell ourselves a story; “We simply have no money”, “nobody will come”, “I’ll get too much pushback”. Often these are just messages that stand in the way of a more basic belief – we can use our synagogue to make a huge difference. We can run a tzedaha campaign that literally changes the life of 200 people. We can have the biggest Chanukah carnival in town, etc.
#2 – Be Relentless.
Keep going. Don’t back down because the project gets difficult. If you retain sight of what this is about you can hold on. I worked with one shul that had a plan to reach 300 teenagers through Torah by the end of the year. They stopped after the 3rd week because only 5 teenagers showed up. Why give up? Have you exhausted all options?
#3 – Surround yourself with a positive team.
Positive people make the project more inspiring and help give it the traction it may need. Debbie Downers may point out flaws that you would not have thought of, but on the other hand – they take the wind from your sails. And really make it a point to eliminate the old “but we always did it this way.” I met with a synagogue in the midwest. I asked them why they keep running a Sunday brunch that simply doesn’t bring anybody out. They told me “this program has been in our community for 17 years.” Okay, but are you willing to try another way to excite the Sisterhood?
#4 – Test some waters.
Experimenting and being willing to try out different approaches and strategies is often a helpful way to get the creative juices flowing. Test out new database platforms. Who know, you may stumble on a great new way to capture potential member information.
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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.