Tools for your Shul

Yinon seeks to cultivate in our fellow Jews greater levels of faith, hope, and involvement with the world. We believe that Jewish communities should be vibrant, spiritual, and holy. As such, we are always seeking tools that further this vision.

We have previously offered a number of practical suggestions, and will continue to devote attention to creating vibrant spiritual communities.

However, in response to a number of requests we would also like to share a few tools we have found very helpful in building and establishing vibrant Jewish communities:


Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue
By Rabbi Sidney Schwarz

Finding a Spiritual Home is a book we cannot recommend more highly (thanks Yahnatan for turning us on to it!). The book was a result of the author’s continued fascination with “what makes some synagogues ‘work’ and others simply exist.”

With moving personal stories, communal examples, and useful insights, Rabbi Schwarz examines four different congregations from each of the four major Jewish denominations that are radically transforming Jewish life. At a time when people are crying disaster for the Jewish community, these exceptional communities are demonstrating that Judaism can indeed sustain a new generation of Jews.

Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life
By Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman

Rabbi Hoffman is a leading figure in the Jewish community today. A co-founder of Synagogue 3000, a noted academic and writer, in Rethinking Synagogues he shares insights from over a decade of research on how to reconceptualize your congregation as a sacred community.

The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community
By Dr. Ron Wolfson

How many times have you visited a synagogue or congregation and experienced the frustration of not one person saying hello, Shabbat Shalom, or even acknowledging your existence? Dr. Ron Wolfson tackles this issue, and many more in his book The Spirituality of Welcoming. Dr. Wolfson, a professor at the American Jewish University and a co-founder of Synagogue 3000 shares years of experience of how to transform your congregation into “a community of radical welcome.”


And please use the comment section below to share other tools you have found helpful.

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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