This is a brief update as of July 21, 2008 on Convention preparations. There are several fliers and a workshop schedule available. You may see them by either opening up “Critical Docs” on the board Intranet or click on the links in this article.
Program: We have all our opening plenary speakers and three out of four forums are fully organized. We have speakers and presenters committed to 50 out of 55 workshops (in specific time slots), and are adding more speakers and presenters to flesh out those 50 (such as when we are running a panel). We are also in the process of identifying facilitators for each of those workshops. We are working on clarifying content or financial issues on the remaining five workshops and expect to be able to finalize them in the next couple of weeks.
The workshops divide into seven tracks. The tracks are: Congregational Leadership, Congregational Growth & Finance, Arts & Spirituality, Tikkun Olam, Israel, Next Generation (Education) and Beit Midrash: Text Study. There are also a handful of special workshops that do not neatly follow any specific track, such as a response to the election results from just before convention and a workshop on Muslim-Jewish Relations. Shabbat morning and afternoon workshops are in place in addition to all these wonderful offerings. We have scheduled field trips to Jewish sites around Boston and are working on a Tikkun Olam opportunity.
The full workshop schedule is posted on the website. We are now preparing a list of all workshops and descriptions to go up on the web this week. This will be followed by a more comprehensive list including speakers and their bios and time slots.
Registration and Website: Registration and the website are up and running. As of July 20, 2008 there are 13 people registered for Convention. This number does not include most of the board members that pre-registered through JRF. If you pre-registered through JRF, you will need to register through the Ayelet registration website using the special code. (If you pre-registered through JRF, please refer to the email sent to you by Sherry.) This month we will be adding a web page for college students and graduate students. (See above for workshop web page information.)
Fundraising: We are pursuing fundraising through several avenues.
Program Book: We have begun a serious push for ads in the program book. Bookstores that regularly purchase from the JRF Press have all committed to purchasing a $100 listing. All of the major JRF vendors are receiving calls from the appropriate staff members. For example, vendors that work with Camp JRF are receiving calls from Camp staff - Ben, Isaac or Jeff - and vendors who print our invitations and marketing materials are receiving calls from Julie or Marla. We are working on creating a “recommended vendor directory” listing companies used by our affiliates. Staff members are calling our congregations for recommended vendors. Each of those vendors will be called asking them to purchase an ad.
• WindStreet is interested in purchasing a sponsor spot.
• The Western Region will be sponsoring a meal.
Scholarship for College Students and Graduate Students: A letter is being sent to a selected group of people inviting them to donate scholarship for college students and graduate students in the Boston area. People receiving the letter are Reconstructionists with students in Boston area colleges. The letter will be sent the week of July 21, 2008.
We are also seeking donors for general scholarship at a level of $2,500-$5,000 as well as individual donations of $54 or more from registrants.
Marketing: Lisa has been on vacation for the past few weeks. She was back in Philadelphia last week and got right to work.
• Camp Fliers: Rabbi Isaac has sent a note to all parents of Aleph session campers wrapping up their kids experience and urging them to come to Convention. We created a flier aimed at the parents, which he included with this note. It states: “Experience innovative, grass roots Reconstructionist Judaism as your kids do at Camp JRF.” The last day of Aleph session was Sunday, July 20. The flier will also be sent to camper parents after Bet session. Camp Flier
• College and Graduate Students: This flier will be distributed through several channels including: Harvard Hillel (with thanks to Dan Cedarbaum); Hillel’s in the Boston area; and college age staff from Camp JRF. We are targeting the students for Shabbat and offering them free lunch and a welcoming event headed by Roni Handler (an RRC student, liaison to Brandeis University and leader of No’ar Hadash Israel Experience 2007) as an enticement. College and Graduate Student Flier
• Visits to New England congregations: Bob Barkin will be visiting the New England congregations to speak about Convention and drum up their excitement. Rabbi Erin will be working with the congregations to arrange these visits.
Coming up in marketing:
• Email blasts, directed to all listserves and affiliate members with blurbs about major speakers and workshops.
Board Members: We are asking all board members to join the effort to market Convention. We will be creating “talking points” for all of you so you can talk-up convention at your congregation and we invite you to bring a friend with you – bring two or three!