How the Lessons of Covid Will Shape the Synagogue of Tomorrow
A rabbi asks his congregation what the future holds. Their answers provide a blueprint for innovation.
I have never been a fan of surveys, particularly as measures of Jewish life. Questionnaires may have their place in identifying trends, but for plumbing the deeper meanings of Jewish identity and experience, discussion remains the only true gauge. And so a month ago, employing new fashioned technology for old fashioned conversation, I began to convene small groups of congregants for a series of Zoom chats I called “Jewish Life After Covid.”
As an early participant soberly noted, the title may seem premature: in no way are we “after Covid.” The next few months are bound to be painful ones of further sickness, loss and isolation. Indeed each gathering of eight to 12 members reminded all of us what we have been missing: the casual though meaningful rubbing of elbows after Shabbat services, or in the temple hallways on busy Sunday mornings – precious moments of physical presence, which however brief, connected us to a community larger than ourselves.