DAY 1140: How Facebook Made Our Minyan

August 14, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 1140: How Facebook Made Our Minyan


Dear Hevreh,

I’m always trying to tinker with our Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat experiences. It could be linking Adult learning with Tot Shabbat as we will do tomorrow morning, or it could bemeals at people’s homes as we did in the Spring, or it could be a Family and Community Shabbat by the Sea experience like we’ll have at the end of August, or it could be something as simple as having a dedicated Shabbat to celebrate people’s smahot (special occasions). The goal is not just to change things up for the sake of change, but to find meaningful, interesting, and creative ways of connecting together as a community. Yet as Woody Allen said, 90% of life is showing up — no matter the creativity of the program, it’s only going to be as successful as the effort to get people to show up for it. Turnout, one of the hardest but most necessary things we do, will determine how a program turns out. And last week, we got a big assist for turnout to our Friday night Celebration Shabbat from…Facebook. Facebook made our minyan last week.

In past months we’ve shared our advertising for Celebration Shabbat in this journal, on ourwebsite, in our weekly announcements, and on our Facebook page. But they were broadcasted to a large audience; they weren’t directed at specific people. Last week though, I tried something new. Since I’m “Facebook friends” with most (if not all) of our community who is on Facebook I went into the calendar feature of Facebook to see if I could tell who celebrated a birthday or anniversary in the month of August. And whaddaya know! At the bottom of each date were small little icons with the profile pictures of all of my “Facebook friends” who were celebrating a birthday in August. I simply hovered over the icons to find all of the members and friends of our community, then clicked on their icons to get to their Facebook page, and finally sent a private Facebook message to them individually to ask if they wanted to come on Friday night for a special birthday blessing.

So what happened? I got four positive responses, including from a pair who haven’t been in shul in awhile and many grateful notes for thinking of them. Even better? Many brought family with them to the service and we had a PACKED house for a regular Friday night in August. It was wonderful! And Facebook made it all possible. More precisely, Facebook helped facilitate the direct one-on-one contact that brings people together.

So whatever technology you use — Facebook, texting, phone calls, in-person conversations and meetings — reach out to someone else. Let them know you care, and be amazed at the response.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ari Saks

Photo taken from — By Original: Facebook, Inc. Vectorization: Tkgd2007 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat Social Media
Tag :