Over the course of the past year, our congregation has been actively engaged in a city-wide
effort to develop new strategies to engage the broader Jewish community. This project,
sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is called, Big Tent Judaism. This
approach to Jewish engagement draws from the values and vision of our Biblical forbearers
whose idea of an open tent has become an ideal a model for Jewish hospitality.
In direct contrast to the “members only” model which has dominated congregational life for decades, the “big tent” approach strives to engage everyone who may be interested in our programs regardless of formal affiliation. To that end, we have expanded our congregational reach by seeking to actively engage new comers, proactively follow-up with those who attend our services and programs, and seek ways to lower any obstacles that people may perceive regarding participation. Like a tent which is open on four sides, we are actively seeking ways to
welcome all who enter our space.
One of the most successful programs we have developed has been for the youngest members of the Jewish community. Through Tot Shabbat and Torah Tots, families with very young children have had the opportunity to be a part of our community on an ongoing basis. These programs are open to all who have young children, and over the course of a year, we have broadened our ability to develop relationships and strengthen bonds of community. In the coming year, we intend to build on our successes.
Other programs that have experienced remarkable success regardless of membership include our monthly book club, interest group, sup and swap and knitsvah group gatherings. Each of these adult activities has generated steady interest and ongoing participation. Members are encouraged to bring friends, and as a result, each respective community has grown with time.
In the month of August, we intend to open the HCRJ “tent” on a grand scale as we have set aside two very special Sabbath services designed to welcome all who may have been curious about our congregation. Each of these services is described in detail on page 4.
As we prepare to begin a new Religious School Calendar year and as we begin to consider our High Holy Day plans, please consider ways that you can serve as an ambassador of HCRJ. If you know people in your circles of friends and family who may be searching for a spiritual home, invite them to join you for services or a program.
We are proud of what we have to offer. Help us open the tent wide to all who wish to be a part of our congregational family.