Marketing synagogue life is a creative endeavor at Tikvat Israel Congregation.
The roll-out of two postcards, designed to attract new members has done just that, said Melissa Apter, chair of the membership committee at the Conservative synagogue in Rockville.
“We started a new initiative this year, where we are giving a very generous discount to our Early Childhood Center families,” said Apter, whose synagogue has 230 member households.
The four by five-inch postcard features a photo of senior Rabbi Mark Israel holding Apter’s baby, Barak, at a PJ Library event.
“Your family belongs at Tikvat Israel,” the front side reads. The back lists the discounted fees and the perks of of membership.
Six families, out of the 62 children enrolled in the Early Childhood Center, sought membership after they retrieved the postcards in their child’s backpack. One of the teachers signed up as well. “We doubled the number of early childhood center families that are now also congregants,” Apter said.
The price offered is $180 per adult member in the household. “You can be a full member of our congregation at a pretty steep discount,” Apter said. “Families really appreciate that and there are those who have not formally joined that have been participating more in events at the synagogue.”
The second postcard offers a free challah to anyone who contacts the synagogue during office hours. The postcards are found in the synagogue lobby near the sanctuary entrance.
“It’s a recruitment effort for people who may not be as familiar with our congregation, but are in our building when the office is closed or it’s Shabbat,” Apter said of the blue and gold postcard that prominently features a challah.
People have contacted the synagogue, though Apter is unsure if it’s a result of the postcard. Oddly, no one has claimed a free challah to be delivered to their home anywhere in the Washington metro area, Apter said.
“We are, of course, ready to make good on that offer.”
The Tikvat Israel building is used by outside groups who may want to be more involved with the synagogue, Apter said. The building hosts Israeli dancing and rehearsals for musical groups. “We want to make sure that we reach out to folks who may be curious about our synagogue.”
Both postcards were designed by Apter and Aaron Chusid, the executive director of Tikvat Israel.
“It’s the first time and probably will not be the last,” Apter said. “We’ve had success with it and we’re willing to experiment and try different things to make sure that everybody in our community understands what’s going on and can participate.
“It’s just one more visual reminder that people have a home in Tikvat Israel if they’d like to join.” ■
Ellen Braunstein is a freelance writer.