Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

School of Community Leadership & Development

First Advisor

Coeli Fitzpatrick

Second Advisor

Azfar Hussain

Academic Year



We at Temple Emanuel of Grand Rapids, Michigan– like synagogues all over the country– are pondering the important topic of how we can inspire a love of Judaism and a love of place in the hearts and minds of young Jews that leads to lifelong observance and Temple membership. This rumination comes with recognition of the uniqueness of our size as a congregation in a part of the country that is not Jewishly dense.

Knowing our unique positionality, this guide outlines how we will become a model for engagement for Reform synagogues everywhere. This guide includes:

  • The importance of embracing an abundance mindset
  • What is “relational Judaism,” and how can its tenets guide our mission?
  • Promising statistics on young Jewish observance and Temple membership
  • Data on the potential reach of this work across West Michigan
  • Identified best practices for both teen and young adult engagement
  • Recent Temple successes with programming when utilizing best practices
  • How to prioritize the scalability and long-term flourishing of this work