In our many conversations with rabbi candidates over the last few months, I’ve learned a lot about the changing needs of the Jewish community. All of our discussions address prayer, rituals like kashrut, and how to build connections within our communities. They all suggest that the “key to success” is building relationships with each other. There are many ways to do this, and TBS currently provides several touchpoint events. But do we really know each other? I wonder if we might want to look around us and think about how to make our relationships with each other more meaningful, how to learn more about each other, and even how to reach someone who has yet to get engaged with TBS.
In my few months in this new role, I’ve attended Shabbat services almost every Friday night and Saturday morning, as well as a lot of daily minyans. I’ve been able to deepen my relationships with the small TBS community who attend our ritual events. Isn’t this what a shul is here to do? Yes, but … there’s so much more we can do. In a recent board meeting, we broke out into groups to talk about how we could engage our community in new, different ways or ways that actually revive old traditions. We came up with a list of wonderful ideas including Wine Tasting for Pesach (a program we successfully ran before), Havdalah star gazing at the Framingham State University planetarium (a new idea), and setting up a table on the Framingham Town Green during their Summer Friday night concerts (an idea stolen from another synagogue). These ideas came from congregants who don’t regularly attend services, from people who are looking for, craving a spiritual connection to TBS, but aren’t finding it. Are we going to suggest these people don’t have a home at TBS because we want to keep doing ONLY what we’ve been doing for the last 50+ years? The answer is a resounding no, just like the answer to the question, are we going to stop serving our traditional Shabbos goers, is also a loud no. The challenge is how we’re going to serve both interests.
A small group of people at TBS are working hard to build out ideas that we think will engage our community; we need your help to get things done, to make change happen. If you have an interest in doing more, or in sharing your ideas, join one of our focus groups March 24-31, email me your ideas, or just top me to say hi. I’m always listening.
Evie Shorey, President