Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Community Overlap

In times of economic hardship, the evolutionary cycle is sped up. Those with the necessary adaptions survive, others don't.

The Jewish Community, and particularly the funders and donors of the Jewish Community are likely facing harder decisions than they've had to in years.

What do we save? What do we shed?

In business mergers, cost savings are often the result of 'synergies'. These synergies are redundencies, duplications, areas in which two people's roles (and paychecks) can be reduced to one.

These synergies are what might buffer this community against losing some of the services to which we have become accustomed.

Looking for overlap is a dangerous game, but let's quickly play it, for demonstration purposes.

In the young Jewish community, defined as 18-35, there are specific programs for College students, through Hillel, Chabad, Jewish Student Union, Jewish Fraternities and Sororites, etc. For post-undergrads there is JGrads, Gesher City, Moishe House, for the newer post-grads and YPD, SLIC, MOT for those further out of school, as well as all of the young adult divisions of the many synagogues around town.

Each of these organizations have a niche in which they operate but many of these organizations overlap. Because most target the same general demographic, some with more success than others, there is a sort of competition, even if its not explicit.

Just like it seems strange to an outsider to see so many reform synagogues so close to each other, all of which are struggling to gain market share with the young adult community, so too, at some level, does it appear that these young adult oriented organizations have the potential to scrap over the same talent pool.

For this community to move forward, we need to think of ourselves as one community.

As a young adult, I would like to see more of the organizations collaborate. Use the different social circles and emails lists to improve marketing reach. Use all of the different sources of funding to make sure that anyone who wants to have Shabbat dinner can do so, be it at Chabad with Jgrads, around town with YPD and Gesher City, or at the Moishe House.

This is not to say that these groups are terribly territorial and don't collaborate, but there is a sense of scarcity leading to occasional competition, which I, as a young adult simply looking to connect with people, find to be a turn off.

By pooling resources and ideas, the young Yids of St. Louis will survive this economic climate and may even make some gains.

Overlap.

2 comments:

Ariel said...

hence Next Dor...

Norm said...

Good question and here is an answer on what to cut

http://mainstreamjew.blogspot.com/2009/04/orthodox-jews-in-st-louis-disrespect.html