Mission Statement: Missing in Action?

Posted on: August 18th, 2011 by Hayim Herring

I just had the pleasure of teaching an outstanding group of rabbinical students who are participating in the Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship program. While preparing for­­­ a session on the importance of synagogue mission statements, I discovered something curious about them: only two of the roughly dozen synagogue websites that I reviewed featured their mission statements on the home page. In the other cases, I needed to hunt for them on the website. And that’s only those synagogue websites that even had mission statements!

We’re getting to the time of year when people who are not a regular part of the synagogue community will be “shul shopping.” Rosh ha-Shanah begins on the evening of Wednesday, September 28. The first place that people look to learn about anything today is on the web. If your mission statement, the most basic expression of your synagogue identity, does not readily appear on your website, what message are you communicating to potential congregants?

By the way, if you work for a national synagogue denominational office, you might want to check if your denomination’s mission is featured on the website’s home page.  You may be surprised by what you find.


Rabbi Hayim Herring

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