We Must Bring the Backyard Experience Into the Shul instead of the Shul Experience into the Backyards

24 Dec 2020
News & Op-Ed

Responding to the challenges that many smaller Orthodox Jewish shuls are experiencing in engaging and growing their communities during the pandemic, the Orthodox Union’s Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue & Community Services recently convened rabbinic and lay leadership from more than 21 smaller Orthodox communities to virtually discuss and collaborate on strategies to help them unite and ignite their synagogues throughout turbulent times where communal physical gatherings in their buildings have been on pause for close to nine months.

A major challenge many communities are concerned about is how to bring their small backyard minyanim back into the brick-and-mortar sanctuary, as many are worried that participants have grown increasingly comfortable in these small settings.

Participants took part in group discussions about their shared and individual challenges and spoke about programs and initiatives they were able to employ within their local communities. They also heard from Orthodox Union executives about the challenges all Orthodox shuls will face as they strive to return to their synagogue-centered communities. The event closed with a presentation on the use of various functions synagogues can employ on the Zoom platform.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.