Thursday, February 29, 2024

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Connection to the Jewish Community

Building equitable Jewish communities requires embodying equity in everyday Jewish practice. Fellow Jews explore this idea in depth. Some libraries host neighborhood Song and Storytimes in non-traditional locations like independent bookstores and coffee shops. It helps unaffiliated families connect with Judaism in a low-barrier, low-commitment way.

Get Involved

Getting involved in your Jewish community can take many forms. You can join JCC Denver, support Israel and the Jewish world with your dollars, or volunteer at your synagogue. You can also participate in national, virtual, and community events focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion and challenging antisemitism. Social media is an excellent way for congregations to highlight events and attract new members. But they need to offer more than just calendar listings. Congregations should share personal, inviting, and engaging content, lowering young adults' barriers to participation. Being an ally to Jews looks just like being an ally to other marginalized groups.


Taking action through volunteerism is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your connection to the Jewish community. It teaches you skills to benefit your professional life and enhance your well-being. It builds a foundation for Jewish learning throughout your lifetime. The Limmud study found that volunteers made new friends (84 percent), met Jews different from themselves, and deepened their connection to the Jewish people. Studies of Jewish participation often neglect to ask about volunteering, which is more than membership in an organized Jewish association or making financial contributions. Volunteering reflects the degree to which you are engaged in the organized Jewish community and your commitment to it.

Join a Group

Many Jewish communities offer a variety of group activities for all ages. Some focus on socializing, and others help participants connect to their Judaism more deeply. Some programs have been successful in helping participants feel a sense of belonging to the Jewish community. Other groups have focused on bringing Jewish practices into people's homes.

If you want to join a group:

  1. Look for one where members' body language indicates that they are comfortable with newcomers joining. Smiling and appearing relaxed is a good sign that the group is receptive to newcomers.
  2. Make eye contact and introduce yourself.
  3. Ask if you can hang out with the group somehow, and try to make it a regular thing.

Attend Shabbat Services

Shabbat services are a common way to establish a connection with your Jewish community. Shabbat is a twenty-five-hour "day of rest" that starts at dusk on Friday night and ends at nightfall on Saturday when the sky is traditionally dark enough to see three stars.

Attending Shabbat services helps you and your family learn about Jewish customs, traditions, and practices. While every congregation is different and does things its way, there are some general things you can expect.

For instance, the congregation leverages the structure of its Shabbat service to put forth its values around inclusion in various ways. It includes a pre-service dinner where people from marginalized communities are invited to speak and music and texts that reinforce inclusionary values.

Attend a Conference

Building stronger communities is a crucial responsibility for all Jews, regardless of whether their Jewish identity is defined as having a thorough understanding of history, religion, culture, and tradition or having a strong sense of connection to the land of Israel. Attending a conference can strengthen your community connections and expand your knowledge. Meeting people where they are is critical for Jewish engagement. Affinity Groups bring together people based on shared professional interests. Pop-up Shabbat and holiday programs are hosted in secular community spaces so that everyone can come, even if they don't have easy access to synagogues.

Image by Josh Mason-Barkin from Pixabay