Seeking the Techie within

My parents used to say…we had children so we could have grandchildren. Today, why do people have children—they need tech support. 

Let me start by saying technology is not my strong suit. I am not a major Facebook user, nor Twitter. I have never updated my status believing that most could care less about my whereabouts and that my dog sneezed. At the same time, I love the ability to reconnect with old friends from BBYO, college, and acquaintances along the way. Yet, after finding out where they live, making “small type” and seeing a current photo, I often lose interest. But others are avid users and understand the incredible significance of these tools. We at Federation, including myself, need to better utilize them. 

I thought I would share two ideas I have on how our Jewish community can use technology more effectively...

Portland should have ONE Jewish communal website. Have you ever tried to navigate the Portland Jewish community via the web? Do you realize how much information you already need to know to find what you are looking for? Have you ever noticed that our community agencies and synagogues have no links to each other? In fact, only the Jewish Federation’s website provides information on the plethora of Jewish activities and organizations throughout town.

Why can’t our Jewish community come together to develop a spectacular website that everyone shares and updates...instead of paying the cost for each Jewish organization and synagogue to maintain its own? If we are serious about connecting Jews to the Jewish community, then we must look at the Jewish community as a whole, act together, and make it as simple as possible. By sharing information and combining our efforts we can be more coordinated, efficient and welcoming. Want to see an example of what I am talking about -- go to

At the same time, we need to develop a “customer relationship management” (CRM) mindset about those involved in the Jewish community. “Doing Jewish” is a great thing, whether with an organization, synagogue or via independent groups. Currently, we have no communal CRM system and we do not share information between organizations. No one knows the comprehensive activities people are engaged in within the Jewish community (i.e. a person belongs to the MJCC and Neveh Shalom – do they each know that?). If we had a CRM system in place, and are truly serious about deepening connections, then we can use technology to “push” Jewish experiences and activities of interest to people throughout the community. Think of and how once you purchase a book they will continue to send emails of new books that may be of interest to you. This is about people’s interests—not institutions!

The capabilities are there—are we prepared to use them? What are your thoughts about how we can more effectively use technology?

Moving from technology to real human contact, I have scheduled the first three "meet and greets" (since we are a non-profit, please purchase your own food and drink) where I look forward to meeting YOU, to hear your thoughts and to dialogue about our Jewish future. Please join me on November 16, 18 or 30 (see dates and times at right).

Shabbat shalom,



Add Comment