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The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community »

Book cover image of The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community by Ron Wolfson

Authors: Ron Wolfson
ISBN-13: 9781580232449, ISBN-10: 1580232442
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
Date Published: April 2006
Edition: (Non-applicable)

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Author Biography: Ron Wolfson

Book Synopsis

I feel like I should go to synagogue, but what s the point?

When I got lost fumbling through the prayer book, no one bothered to help me out. I felt like a total outsider.

All they really want is my money.

We ve all heard these complaints before. Maybe we ve even spoken them ourselves a time or two. And who can blame us? Too often religious congregations dwindle to little more than cliquish gatherings of longtime members or places we send our kids for their obligatory religious education. They feel dry, irrelevant, unwelcoming.

Yet congregations of all sizes can be so much more. Writing with humor, verve and candor, Ron Wolfson sets forth a renewed vision of synagogues as energetic sacred communities and outlines how you can transform your own congregation into an inviting center of vibrant relationships and personal spiritual rejuvenation. The key lies in a spirituality of welcoming not mere politeness or courtesy, but a deep hospitality manifested in all aspects of congregational life and based on the fundamental understanding that all people members, guests and visitors alike are created in the image of God.

Table of Contents

Studying synagogues : the genesis of synagogue 20002
The transformation of American Judaism7
A new kind of Aliyah11
What are the major challenges facing synagogues today?13
Why don't most Jews enjoy synagogue?17
Rethinking spirituality20
The spirituality of welcoming : the view from the summit24
The synagogue 2000 theory of synagogue transformation27
How to transform a synagogue : strategies for effecting change27
What values should guide us as we seek to change?36
Features of the synagogue 2000 process of synagogue transformation39
Synagogue 2000 becomes synagogue 300043
Adopting the synagogue 2000 transformation process : you can do it!44
Welcoming ambience45
What does Jewish tradition teach us about hospitality?45
Why is hospitality so important for synagogues?50
The radical hospitality experts : Chabad and the megachurches52
Emergent congregations : redefining hospitality54
How synagogues can provide quality service : learning from the corporate world54
Giving the synagogue a more welcoming face : the importance of greeting62
How can the synagogue be a more welcoming space?70
The art of dealing with difficult people78
Welcoming worship83
Researching welcoming worship in churches84
Researching welcoming worship in synagogues89
Using music to transform the synagogue experience96
The spiritual message110
Welcoming during worship116
Other ways to enhance worship123
Empowering the worship team133
The transformation of synagogue worship138
Welcoming membership143
Rethinking membership143
Recruiting new members148
The culture of dues158
Welcoming new members170
Deepening the connectedness of all members to the sacred community179
Structure, staffing, and funding for growth194
Broadcasting the message197
In gratitude199
Action guide for congregational leaders203