Posts Tagged ‘Membership’


Do Synagogue Movements (Except for Chabad) Know What They Really Sell?

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 by Hayim Herring


My friend and colleague, Dr. Jim Schreier, sent me a link to an article called, “The Only Thing Apple Really Sells,” that inspired the content of this post. The gist of the article is that Apple does not sell hardware, software or cloud-based solutions. Rather, Apple sells an ecosystem. Their products and services are, “one-way tickets to platform archipelagos, to fiercely guarded fiefdoms where everything works in harmony within walls that are high and strong. And the longer you’re inside, the harder it is to leave.” The author of the article goes on to say, “That’s (an ecosystem) the endgame. An ecosystem so interconnected, entwined so tightly, that you can’t leave even if you wanted to. It’s not hardware, or software. It’s a family of products, apps, services, and accessories with the gravitational pull of a black hole. And Apple, today, simply does it better than anybody else.”


Do denominational synagogue lay and professional leaders understand that they are really selling a Jewish ecosystem? Or, do they fall into the understandable default position of selling “membership” (a product). (more…)

Neusner’s Flawed Premise on Increasing Synagogue Involvement

Posted on: July 18th, 2012 by Hayim Herring

Neusner’s Flawed Premise on Increasing Synagogue Involvement

Photo from: Luthien, on stock.xchng

A few days ago, Noam Neusner wrote an article about synagogue membership in The Forward. Any article that stimulates good thinking about this serious issue is welcome, so first thanks to Neusner for starting the conversation. But, Neusner’s main premise is fundamentally flawed. There is nothing that stops synagogues from adopting an entrepreneurial culture now! Many existing programs, services and activities that synagogues offer could be made more relevant, spiritual and inspirational without spending one “zuz” more. Fresh ideas and an open culture don’t cost money. As some congregations are learning, they just require courage and risk.

Want to make your congregation feel warm and welcoming? What about doing feature videos on the wonderful acts of volunteer service that members do within and outside of the congregation? Want to increase the number of learning experiences available for adults? Invite members who majored in Jewish studies while in college to delve into an area of interest and then give them a few pointers on how to teach adults. Want to create an ongoing, unbeatable multi-generational experience? Find someone who knows how to lead a band and create a congregational band that plays Jewish music. These are just a few easy examples of how you can use existing resources to align activities with things that matter to congregants and deepen personal relationships. And they don’t cost a “zuz” more!

Rabbi Hayim Herring