As we noted last week, there were many good articles in Klal Perspectives and Rabbi Eliyahu Fink who is the Rav of the Shul on the Beach in Venice singled out Moishe Bane’s article in a post on his blog.
One paragraph that Rabbi Fink quoted from Mr Bane’s article was this one:
There must be a renewed emphasis on deepening the basic social connections between members of the Orthodox community. The importance of friendships with others who share one’s values must be emphasized and facilitated. Time spent with others within the community must be encouraged. It is critical that the expansive role that observant people play in their professional and business environments does not redefine them socially, as well. Connecting with G-d begins with connecting to Klal Yisrael, and these efforts must be forged through shuls, schools and other communal organizations. Attending shiurim or learning in chaburas often provide the needed camaraderie, as do chesed endeavors, but not all Jews have access to these opportunities. Ordinary social interaction, per se, among frum Jews must also play a critical role.
Mr Bane is the former national chairman of NCSY, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Orthodox Union. The OU is working hard to strengthen Shul Growth and one of their initiatives is the OU WINGS program which stands for “We Inspire New Growth Synagogues”.
WINGS is headed by Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn who is the mara d’asra of the West Side Institutional Synagogue. In the OU Wings post, it says that in the five years since he arrived at the West Side Institutional Synagogue, Shabbat morning attendance has increased from 12 to over 300.
In the interview on his blog, Rabbi Brill writes:
Einhorn found his spirituality when he discovered the world of motivational management books and could not get enough of them. He devoured the books on how to improve one’s leadership, how to motivate those under you and how to push yourself to your potential. An action centered gregarious form of self-fulfillment in the real world. He also read Rick Warren and the other motivational Evangelical but they were only part of the broader quest for tips and ideas for self-motivation.
Rabbi Einhorn is absolutely sold on Tony Robbins’s program for fire-walking to be transformed and to release the potential within. Not only has he undergone the fire-walking seminar, he encourages other Orthodox rabbis to do the same. Einhorn has also attended Landmark seminars (a derivative from Werner Erhard’s EST) and appreciates the importance of Neuro-Linguistic Programing for motivating others. (Be prepared for ever new emphasis on emotional manipulation in the Orthodox youth organizations.-Rabbi Brill)
Here are some questions:
What are the boundaries of secular knowledge integration?
How far should we travel to meet people where they’re holding?
Can we make the Torah’s teachings more appealing to a wider audience?