Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Supply-side Jewishness

If you check out jewishinstlouis.org, you'll see (if you can figure out how to navigate it) a plethora of organizations, entirely too many, perhaps.

There are organizations for all ages, levels of observance, interests, and usually, more than one within a particular niche.

While it is theoretically wonderful to have a community that supports such a wide range of organizations, it also leads to a battle over attendance and impact.

The Jewish Federation, to an extent, supports a zero sum game within Jewish organizations. I say this because almost all of the organizations get at least partial funding from the Federation, and for organizations to get continued or increased funding, they must continually prove their worth through attendance.

A few weeks ago, I attended an event for the Saint Louis Israel Connection, an organization which seeks to connect Jews in St. Louis with Israel.

The event was pretty cool, I got to see a good number of people there, everyone enjoyed themselves, the bar owners liked us...by all accounts a successful event.

I mean, I had a chance to actually interact one on one with some people specifically because the place wasn't packed.

Now let me be clear, it would have been great to have more people there.

That being said, St. Louis is not a big enough pool for this 'bigger is necessarily better' type of an attitude to prevail.

But it's not just St. Louis. In an article on Jewcy.com, the problem of collaboration is smacked upside the head.

Often we are so wrapped up in the mission of our individual group that we lose focus of the fact that the over-arching guiding force behind all of our organizations and groups stems from the desire to build a strong and vibrant community, something that is hard to create when we act territorial.

Not only that, you turn off participants. I don't want to be a part of a group that is so isolated that it disconnects itself from the community.

And now for your viewing pleasure, Obama's Roast of Rahm Emmanuel:

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