The sanctuary and the building has been full over Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The energy was electric, and members are sending emails with appreciation and feedback. The chairs and mahzorim are now put away but you’re still singing High Holiday melodies in your head. Another successful High Holidays accomplished!
Or maybe, your congregation was one of the ones with a security incident, or your service leader needed replacing at the last minute because they got sick. Maybe the electricity, or A/C, or sound system was on the fritz. Or something else didn’t go as planned. Still, everyone pulled together and persevered, you got through it.
Congratulations! I hope you’ve taken some time to decompress and recuperate. High Holidays are an intensive time for anyone with a significant role in a congregation or prayer community. Now it is time to start asking: What comes next?
Here are some suggestions or reminders that you can use to bring the post-High Holiday energy forward into the new year: You can also view our Post Holiday Task Check List that was developed by Barry Mael, USCJ Sr. Director of Synagogue Affiliations and Operations.
Find some time to look at the data about who attended your High Holiday services and programming. What can you learn from the trends? How does it compare to who came the year before? Do the attendees have constructive feedback about their High Holiday experience? Are there any folks who you can empower to develop programming for their network of friends? Do you have programming on the calendar to meet the needs of the groups of people who showed up this High Holiday season? What is one next step that you can offer to engage them?
Take a moment to think about your interactions over the holidays. Who shared news that needs following up on? Who needs extra support? Do the clergy know? What reminders can you set for yourself to deepen the relationships that started just now? Are there individuals you’d like to get to know better that you can invite to join you for coffee or to meet up at a future event? What connections can you make to help connect attendees with each other or with other community members? How can your community enable people to come closer together?
For those who only show up a few times a year, how can you add additional opportunities for them to connect? Can you plan a Hanukkah mailing or giveaway? What about something to engage them come Passover? Have you gotten updated contact information from college students? What will be the next opportunity when people will connect with your community? Can you increase opportunities for this over the coming year? We listed a number of ideas here, if you ever need support with any of them, feel free to reach out to your Synagogue Consultant. Communities are built by hard-working individuals, whether volunteers and professionals. Thank you for all that you contribute to your community and to our Conservative/Masorti movement as a whole. Wishing you a year of increased engagement, deep relationships, and new connections!