“Emanu-El in the Neighborhood” is an outgrowth of the wonderful and innovative work of the Caring Community, which itself has enhanced our congregation over the past decade.
Based on information gathered from the more than 500 congregants engaged in house and one-to-one meetings, isolation, loneliness and disconnectedness were identified as a common thread. Through the board’s strategic planning process, some long-term goals were identified to engage our members in social and caring connections, including congregant‐to‐congregant interactions, building community, reaching out with acts of loving kindness (g’milut chasadim), and responding to the call for social action and social justice, tikkun olam (healing of a broken world).
Emanu-El in the Neighborhood goals are:
- Provide opportunities for congregants to meet, talk, eat and more face-to-face, building interpersonal relationships
- Empower congregants to organize community-based activities that create and sustain congregant-to-congregant social and caring relationships
“Community” involves learning to live in terms of an interconnected "we" rather than an isolated "I.” As we invest in one another and accept responsibility for creating the community we want, our lives will be enriched. We believe that Emanu-El in the Neighborhood will offer our congregants the structure and forum to create this sense of belonging and interdependence.
- Emanu-El in the Neighborhood is in its second year.
- The Congregation is broken down into 17 geographical areas, each with a neighborhood group.
- You can find each neighborhood group online
- Each neighborhood group is led by at least one Neighborhood Liaison who welcomes the newest members, organizes activities and lets you know about congregant needs and celebrations in your area.
- Since September 2011, congregants have hosted over 60 break fasts, Havdalah services, Shabbat dinners and Chanukah parties.
- Over 40 of our fellow congregants have been volunteering as Neighborhood Liaisons to make sure each neighborhood celebrates four Jewish rituals during the year.
Emanu-El in the Neighborhood is transforming congregant-to-congregant connections across our community. On page nine of the attached bulletin, you’ll see pictures of congregants enjoying Emanu-El in the Neighborhood events and you can learn about their experiences with this program.
Emanu-El in the Neighborhood is drawing national attention for its innovative approach to community building. Our goal is to let our neighbors know they are not alone and facilitate opportunities to meet, celebrate and care for one another in our neighborhoods, as well as at Congregation Emanu-El.
RESOURCES: bulletin (excerpt), with photos and testimonials of the success of Emanu-El in the Neighborhood; Neighborhood Liaison manual
For additional member engagement ideas, visit the Membership and Outreach Program Bank.