1 . Front Page

If You Build It, Will They Come? Accessibility, Affordability and Participation in Jewish Communal Life by Jonathan Woocher Executive Vice President, Jewish Education Service of North America A paper prepared for the Center for Policy Options, University of Judaism, Los

2 . Items

Item On September 21, 1997, more than 300 day school leaders (plus representatives of several federations, foundations and national agencies) met in Chicago to argue the need for dramatically increased funding of day schools. The sponsoring organization, the National Day

3 . If You Build It, Will They Come?

Perhaps the greatest achievement of 20th century American Jewry is its imposing organizational system. Thousands of synagogues, centers, membership and service organizations, philanthropies, and educational institutions provide a myriad of settings for nurturing, expressing and sharing Jewish identity and commitment.

4 . Changing Organizational Cultures and Behavior

The first strategic approach is a matter of “policy” in the broadest sense. Jewish organizations are often their own worst enemies when it comes to encouraging participation. Generally, this is not a product of design, but of lack of awareness.

5 . Multiplying Access Points to Jewish Life

Changing organizational cultures and behavior can go a long way toward making participation in Jewish communal life a more attractive and rewarding proposition for Jews who currently stand at the margins. It needs, however, to be complemented by another strategy

6 . Making Jewish Participation More Affordable

To this point, we have focused largely on how to enhance the value of Jewish involvement in the eyes of the prospective participant. But in the end, we must come back to the issue of cost as well. Although we

7 . Conclusion

We should be pleased that the organized Jewish community has begun to discuss seriously the issues of accessibility, affordability and participation. Our future in North America depends on gaining and retaining the commitment and involvement of a critical mass of