Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Boca Raton Synagogue Journal Dinner 2011 - Josh Broide's letter
Thank you so much for participating in a “pilot” outreach initiative that was launched less than a year ago. This revolutionary approach encourages the members of the synagogue to reach out and engage unaffiliated Jews in the community. Professionals in the field have always realized that the biggest impediment to their success was the overwhelming number of unaffiliated Jews compared to the relatively small number of Rabbi’s. With the launch of the BRS Outreach Revolution we really entered uncharted territory. Could a successful modern orthodox community run a successful Synagogue based outreach initiative that would not only change the face of South Palm Beach County, but also inspire Jewish communities around the country to take a fresh look at outreach?
Well it might be too early to tell if there has been a real impact on an international level, but I can tell you that we have already made huge inroads locally and national organizations are taking note. Although we are only a little more than halfway through the year, I would like to point out some of the success stories.
We began this year with our Beginners Services for both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that were completely full. After the holidays we brought a Discovery Seminar to BRS and more than 350 people attended. We knew people would be inspired so we made sure to offer NJOP’s Crash Courses the following week. More than 90 people attended the Jewish History Class and dozens of people attended the Hebrew Reading and basic Judaism classes. In addition we launched two Shabbat programs. Friday Night Live is a weekly educational and social program that attracts about 25 people every week and the Explanatory Experience is the new intermediate service for those looking to take the next step. Our members have already distributed hundreds of easy outreach gifts as well as hosted families for Shabbat meals. In November, SOS – Share One Shabbos, was launched. We were in awe when more that 200 of our members signed up to host more than a 1,000 people for a traditional Friday night dinner. There are more than 70 people just signed up and started attending a new season of evening beginner classes and look forward to hosting another Shabbat Across America next week. There is also a new daily radio show called Jewish Pride, for people looking for a quick burst of inspiration. Upcoming programs include Share One (Purim) Seudah and Share One Seder as well as the kick-off of Partners in Torah. The one thing that I don’t have time to do is go into the way that the programs participants enjoy the classes and the experiences. Everyday e-mails and phone calls come in thanking our community for opening the doors.
We are all truly blessed to live in such a special community! Mazel Tov to all of the honorees, each of you have contributed so much to our community and helped me personally in so many ways. I want to thank Rabbi and Rebbitzen Goldberg for their support. This outreach effort would never happen without both of you. Special thanks to all of the Rabbis and staff at BRS, you are all very special and take pride that you are making Boca Raton Synagogue the most successful shul in America. Finally Simone, I have always said I could never do this without you and I have finally realized that I really couldn’t do any of this without you.
Thank you all!!