Disrupting Judaism

Last summer Rabbi Dovi Scheiner and his wife Esty realized they had a problem. Over the past decade they had done the improbable: created a sexy, enticing synagogue named Soho Synagogue for young Jewish professionals. At a comedy event in September named “Laughter Before Yom Kippur” every performer obsessed over how […]

Source: This Synagogue Is Breaking Away from a 2,000-Year-Old Model and Solving Judaism’s Biggest Problem – Forbes

I’m pretty sure I never expected to read the phrase “sexy, enticing synagogue”. I’m pretty sure I never wanted to either.

Amazingly, it just gets creepier.

The initial idea, drummed up last summer, was to create a paywall protected website that gave Jews access to Soho Synagogue. They could pay either one dollar or two dollars a day and then sign up for religious or social events. Once the website was built, however, they realized they could do so much more with it. They added a vertical where members could view one another’s profiles and message to ask for a date or a job opportunity. They created a space for young people to blog about Jewish issues they care about (One related to the afterlife was called “You had me at Hell Oh”) and for the Rabbi to publish D’var Torahs or Jewish words of the day.

Synago is “an answer that answered every question,” said Rabbi Scheiner. It wasn’t like the synagogue needed to raise money so it opened a car dealership or sold bagel and lox to strangers. Rather, it raised money by selling a product that added even more value to people’s lives and gave them an even better Jewish experience. “We are able to deliver exponential inspiration, exponential identity, exponential networking,” he said. “It’s an absolute fantasy.”

Speaking both as a Jew and as a technologist: ewwwwwwwww.

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  1. This is DEFINITELY not going to feed into the stereotype of synagogues as being nothing more than professional networking venues. Nope, not at ALL.

  2. A lot of churches want to do the same thing. Also creepy.

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