Our award winning Open Tent initiative is a consciousness-raising campaign to engage the entire congregation in an effort to make RS a more welcoming place.
Program goal: To make Rodeph Shalom a more welcoming place for new and prospective members, to encourage stronger connections between members and to increase the number of visitors. This program was designed to raise the consciousness of the entire congregation about welcoming and what Ron Wolfson calls “radical hospitality”.
Description: This program asks every member of the congregation to do at least one of the following five acts:
- Welcome a Stranger – say hello to someone you may not know.
- Give a Name – tell Catherine Fischer (215-627-6747 x246, [email protected]) about someone who may want to join the synagogue.
- Spread the Word – post upcoming events at your office or gym to create a buzz.
- Host a Dinner -- invite a new member to Shabbat dinner at your house.
- Bring a Friend – bring a non-member to an event or to services.
The challenge was finding a way to remind congregants about this program in an effective and memorable way.
What resulted was a “storycard” campaign that included short personal stories from congregants that described an instance where being part of the Rodeph Shalom community was important to them and may have changed their lives. Each card included a reminder to do one of the five welcoming acts. The cards were distributed at services, left on tables around the building, published in the Bulletin and included in packages sent to prospective members. More and more congregants submitted stories.
We are proud to announce that our Open Tent Initiative is a winner of the 2009 Belin Award from the URJ!