Religion & Beliefs

Passover in the Aisles?

Jews aren’t much for mission.  We don’t stand on street corners, handing out little flyers that say things like, “Your God is a False Messiah!” or “Shabbat or Hellfire Damnation!!!”  Thank goodness. But our aversion to mission is extreme, and … Read More

By / March 20, 2007
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Jews aren’t much for mission.  We don’t stand on street corners, handing out little flyers that say things like, “Your God is a False Messiah!” or “Shabbat or Hellfire Damnation!!!” 

Thank goodness.

But our aversion to mission is extreme, and can sometimes make us allergic to outreach, which isn’t the same thing as mission at all.  And our outreach-allergy is linked to our clubbiness, our little vacuum, which can be a negative thing, as well as a nice perk. 

While we don’t want to seek out converts, I think most of us aren’t, in theory, opposed to the idea of reaching out to Jews who might benefit from community, Jewish content, tradition…

And there are a lot of those people. 

Trust me. I am one.

So when I heard about JOI’s Passover in the Aisles program, I was intrigued.  And I think you might be too:

Asking the question, “why are unaffiliated people not coming to our synagogues and JCC’s to attend the programs that we know and love?” We understood that it takes a lot to walk into a Jewish institution — a space that can feel foreign and intimidating if you are a newcomer. By programming outside those walls, in a place that is familiar to all, we can maximize Passover as an opportunity to reach out.

Basically, the program sends people into grocery stores, to act as Jewish reference librarians for Jewish (unaffiliated) shoppers.  Pretty cool.

But I mention it here because over the next few weeks, I want to offer you some  ways of making Passover more meaningful this year.  And volunteering to help out with this JOI initiative might be a good one.

Remember that while for you, Passover might be a warm and welcome time, spent with family and friends… for people less connected to the Jewish world, it can be hard.  A season that stands as reminder that they’re alone in their religious journey, far from family. 

So help out!

At the risk of sounding like a cheesey freak… if we each invited one person to Seder, one person without community…

There wouldn’t be many unaffiliated Jews left.