From Synagogue to “Center for Jewish Life”

Stock photo by RDNE Stock project on

Challenges synagogues face

Synagogues today often focus too much on the rabbi, rather than the real-world experiences of their congregants. This can lead to unproductive conflict. We should be helping each other to reconnect spiritually, not wasting time arguing about who is the “better Jew.”

Rethinking the synagogue

We can improve the quality of Jewish life in our communities by envisioning every synagogue as a Center for Jewish Life. In addition to traditional prayer services, the Center would offer a variety of programs and services for Jewish people of all ages.

Examples of programs and services

  • Jewish learning: The Center could offer a traditional beis medrash program, where people can come to learn Torah. They could also offer virtual and in-person classes on a wide variety of topics.
  • Jewish home: The Center could offer a “shidduch project,” which helps single people find potential mates. They could also offer a wedding planning service and a mikvah shuttle.
  • Jewish family: The Center could offer educational sessions for families, as well as a Mommy & Me program and a Jewish homework helper service.
  • Jewish food: The Center could offer a kosher cooking series and a home kashering service.
  • Social events: The Center could offer a variety of social events, such as singles mixers, potluck dinners, book clubs, movie nights, and Shabbat and holiday celebrations.

Overall goal

The overall goal of such a Center is to create a welcoming and inclusive community center that offers something for everyone. Whether a Jewish person is looking to learn Torah, find a spouse, plan their wedding, or just socialize with other Jewish people, this type of synagogue would be a place for them.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.