Being married to a lawyer (and having watched one too many episodes of Law and Order), one learns a little about the lawyerly crafts (or at least how they are practiced on TV), and so for discretion and not to offend the well-meaning, I will post today about a hypothetical.
It is possible that a North American Jewish denomination that went through restructuring in 2008 is planning another go at it in 2012.
The denomination’s organizational arm might have identified, among other acute problems, that 50% of members leave their congregations within a year of their child’s bar mitzvah! It seems like a lot of members of this denomination seem to not like being its members. (Or as pointed out to me, perhaps that 50% might not be interested in long-term membership at all but joined solely for the purpose of housing their bar mitzvah.) But I digress…
“It usually gets referred to as the challenge of the unaffiliated,” [the advisor to the movement’s leader] said. “It’s not their fault they’re uninspired; it’s the congregation’s fault. That’s the project of working with individuals wherever they are.”
Ouch. But what if the individuals are watching Mad Men where they are? Or playing hockey ten times a week where they are?
I humbly (and possibly) propose a solution that would (a) solve that movement’s disaffiliation problem, (b) successfully outreach from here to Neptune (categorized by astronomers as an “ice giant”) and back and (c) obliterate deficits with one crosscheck: Convert all synagogues across North America into ice hockey rinks with large flat-screen TVs over centre ice for Mad Men watching. Depending on the synagogue’s orientation towards Israel, one could put the bimah and the Ark either behind the eastern or western goalie crease. The potential for audience share in Canadian markets (and some northern American ones) is tremendous.
If you build it, they will come.
(For the full monty on the restructuring and the reveal, click here.)