“Jewish Outreach: What is It, and When is It Most Effective” Presented Sunday, March 18
March 20th, 2012 •
The Jewish Children’s Regional Service invited a most unique panel on Sunday morning, March 18, 2012 to address the questions, ”Jewish Outreach: What is It and When is It Most Effective?”
Macy Hart , President and CEO of the Goldring Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life; Rabbi Yossie Nemes, Director of the Chabad Center of Metairie, Louisiana; and Paul Lewis, Director of Community Engagement for the PJ Library of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation of West Springfield, Massachusetts each briefly discussed how they define “Jewish Outreach” and how Jewish outreach is best manifested in the institutions and programs that they represent .
Each executive represented a Jewish institution or program that has made headlines and/or forged new ground in bringing Judaism into homes in out-of-the-way places or to families on the edge of organized Jewish life. For the Institute for Southern Jewish Life, their target has been Jewish life in smaller Southern communities; for Chabad it has been a world-wide mission to connect with Jewish individuals and nurture Jewish soul-searching and education; and for the PJ Library, their vision has been to encourage literacy, Jewish family living and parental bonding by underwriting the expenses involved in providing a monthly Jewish book to every young Jewish child.
Paul Lewis and Macy Hart each focused on the breadth and depth of their respective institutions. Paul focused on how PJ Library is now a national program that is sending close to 100,000 books a month to households with young children, and Macy concentrated his remarks on how small and struggling Southern Jewish communities are receiving educational and rabbinical services from the ISJL.
Rabbi Neme commented on how to touch a Jewish soul or spark a Jewish encounter. He emphasized that Chabad will travel great distances to service a community with only a single Jew in residence.
The presentation followed a brief business session of the JCRS, as part of the 157th Annual Meeting of the organization, the oldest Jewish children’s agency in the United States. In 2011, the JCRS served over 1400 Jewish youth in the seven Southern states that it serves and funded over 1300 of those youth. Within those seven states, the JCRS served Jewish youth in 193 communities.