It used to be that you couldn’t use words like “sell”, “product” or “market” easily when talking about Jewish education.
That was when the product actually sold itself.
Jewish education was valued for its own sake; no one needed to be sold on its importance.
In today’s consumer environment, the game has changed.
The terms value-added, cost-benefit analysis, customer base, target markets and more are now part of the consumer’s consciousness.
And we need to respond appropriately.
What are we selling that Jewish teens should buy?
We’re not selling widgets or milkshakes, but we really need to determine the value added of programs past the drop-off age of bar/bat mitzvah.
What are you selling? Fun? Free? Friends? Food?
Or are we selling things that might resonate with today’s teens on so many levels:
For the college conscious population: promoting intellectual curiosity, college readiness, opportunity for debate, free exchange of marketplace ideas, ways to connect with timeless tradition….
For teens who have the gut-wrenching angst of fearing they don’t fit in: discussing issues that happen in public school in a supportive, ethic-laden environment, communicating with a group of Jewish peers about the anti-semitic/Israel/Zionism remark overheard in social studies classes, or talking about the ethical conundrum of knowing your friends cheat/do drugs/cut themselves/abuse others/are abused….
the lists can go on. These are parts of the program that will make a difference—a lasting impact.
And oh yes, the program also offers fun, food, and friends.
So, what are we selling? And what will Jewish teens and their parents be buying?
Photocredit: Google images free use
- Underselling Zuckerberg and Our Jewish Teens (ruthschapira.wordpress.com)
- A Short List of What the Jewish Community Should Do for Teens (ruthschapira.wordpress.com)
- From Jewish Camp to Synagogue: Five No-brainers (ruthschapira.wordpress.com)