The 7 Core Elements of Shul Life

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In our last blog post we discussed the beginning elements of creating a wildly successful membership drive. All of that presupposed a basic framework for what the new member is going to be joining. In order to capture the attention of the new prospective member there is a ground level structure that needs to be in place for the individual to understand that the institution will probably have what he or she needs. In my opinion these are the 7 core elements that are a necessary part of any shul NO MATTER what your vision/hashkafa is.

1) Chesed – the shul must have some level of chesed engagement. At the simplest level this would include a benevolent fund where the Rabbi/Executive Director raises money on behalf of significant causes. There is SO MUCH more to say about how to make chesed an critical part of your shul life.

2) Yom Tovim – your new member is going to want to know that the Jewish season is entirely covered. Programs, seats, tefilah, etc all of these piece need to be made easy for your membership.

3) Torah  – the centerpiece of your Jewish offering. Each of these items will need numerous specified blog posts but suffice it to say that any member considering your shul will need to see that core Jewish values are being espoused.

4) Shabbos  – probably the main nexus point for all of your new members. Within Shabbos, I mean – how does Shabbos FEEL at your shul? Is it inviting, engaging, spiritual, food filled, etc. The potential member is taking in all of these disparate pieces.

5) Tefilah  – this is one of the critical “whys” of why a person goes to shul to begin with. This area has a high percentage impact. If there’s no singing, no joy, no sincerity – you may pick up a member here or there but they surely wont stay.

6) Life Cycle  – will the shul care for me when I’m sick, when I have a baby, when I hit rock bottom, when I’m old, etc.

7) Am Yisroel  – many have said “social is king”. This may or may not be true we’re going to have to explore this further. A very attractive part of membership is that it will give me a sense of belonging.