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Ways to Welcome New Members: A Brief Overview


“Most people who leave your community will do so within the first year, usually because they haven't made a friend.” - Rabbi Arnie Rachlis

  • Compile a New Member folder with a welcoming letter and information about your congregation. Include a new member questionnaire to explore what new members want from your community and what they bring.
  • Partner veteran members with new members to keep track of them and keep in touch. Have the current member partners set up a time to deliver hallah, wine and candles to the new members' home. 
  • Make sure that new members continue to be connected to the community - involved members are more likely to continue to be members. 
  • Create programs specifically for new members - a special service; or a brunch after Shabbat or on Sunday. 
  • Create special programs for uninvolved partners and/or families.
  • Arrange a regular (monthly) “coffee with the rabbi (or another leader)” focus group for particular constituencies in your community (i.e. seniors, non-Jews, GLBT members, singles, single parents, “class of …,” etc.). 
  • Share power and leadership. 
  • Have a committee fair to give new members the opportunity to learn about your congregation’s committees, how they work and opportunities for involvement. 
  • Write an “exit poll” to find out why people leave your community. 

Related Resources

Episode 1: New Jewish Spaces (Interview with Rabbi Shira Stutman)

In this interview, Rabbi Shira Stutman reflects on the promise and potential of an open, welcoming and pluralistic synagogue and community space. 

Podcast Episode

A Jewish Approach to Obligatory Giving

Overview of issues of fundraising, dues, and obligation in Jewish congregations.