What does it mean to be a welcoming Jewish community? The panel defined welcoming as:
The panel’s charge was to develop recommendations to strengthen the Greater St. Paul Jewish community by connecting community members with each other and to our synagogues, agencies and community organizations.
Listening Session data revealed concerns about community exclusivity, unsatisfactory outreach, and a general lack of cooperation among Jewish organizations. The panel looked at the current state of affairs, learned from others engaged in similar work locally and nationally, and identified realistic recommendations for a path forward.
Strategy 1: Utilize technology for communication and engagement. Recommendations include developing a centralized digital hub, social media, and shared contact information.
Strategy 2: Provide an introduction, orientation, and connection for community members. Recommendations include a video tour of Greater St. Paul, home hospitality, and partnerships with Jewish vendors.
Strategy 3: Establish a concierge position to facilitate connections and transitions. Recommendations include using a concierge to link people to community resources and allocating ongoing funds to maintain continuity of the concierge function.
Strategy 4: Promote a sense of community. Recommendations include increasing collaboration and programming among or across Jewish organizations (agencies, synagogues and other organizations).
Strategy 5: Create an additional panel focused on increasing the size of the Greater St. Paul Jewish community. The recommendations include recruiting people from outside of the Greater St. Paul area and people within the area who are not currently engaged.
Next, the panel will submit these strategies to an Implementation Committee that will decide which of them Federation will fund. Community organizations and agencies are free to support, implement, or fund recommendations as they wish.
In the meantime, Federation, through its marketing committee, is determining how Strategy 1 could be implemented.
Wendy Baldinger, chair
Rabbi Zalman Bendet