Thursday, November 03, 2005

Reform address dropout rate

So what are our Reform brothers doing about their high dropout rate?

(Hint: not moving closer to Torah Judaism)


...At this month’s (Reform) national convention in Houston, they’ll be talking about how to keep their members in temple long enough to enjoy that heritage.
“The most serious challenge facing North American Jewry today is the low rate of synagogue affiliation,” URJ president Rabbi Eric Yoffie writes on a Web site devoted to the topic
The numbers are “so serious,” Yoffie says, that he’ll launch an initiative at the Nov. 17-20 biennial to promote lifelong synagogue membership. It’s the first time he has announced a major initiative in advance of a biennial.
With 900 synagogues and 1.5 million members, the Reform movement is the largest Jewish stream in North America, claiming 39 percent of all affiliated Jews, according to the 2000-01 National Jewish Population Survey.
But the movement also has the highest dropout rate, with 38 percent of members eventually leaving the fold, according to San Francisco’s Institute for Jewish and Community Research.
Then there are those who don’t belong to any congregation — 54 percent of American Jews, according to the NJPS...

It means making sure the synagogue is a warm and meaningful place for singles, interfaith couples, gays and lesbians, childless couples and everyone else who isn’t among the 32 percent of American Jews who join a synagogue for their children’s education.
Only 23 percent of our members are two-person families raising children, yet look how much of congregations’ budgets are devoted to them,” says Kathy Kahn, the URJ’s outreach director. “There needs to be significant recruitment and retention of singles, empty-nesters, seniors, gays and lesbians, people who are out there waiting to see whether they have a place in our congregational family.”...

More of the same...
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 10:02 PM


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