Tuesday, May 1, 2007

How I reached 10,000 Young Jews for Free

facebook.com is an on-line social network that is used by most college and high school students. You can use it to send messages, invite people to events, discuss issues, post videos, etc.

Two weeks before Pesach I created an “event” called: “Pesach” with the following info:

Event Info Name: Pesach
Tagline: "The Great Exodus Revisited"
Host: G-d
Type: Party - Reunion
Time and Place Start Time: Monday, April 2, 2007 at 12:05pm
End Time: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 7:00pm
Location: all around the world
City/Town: Everywhere
Country: Israel

In the description of the event I wrote a dvar torah with the following message:

Each year for the last 1800 years plus, Jews have gathered together to recite the Passover Hagadah. The Hagadah not only tells the story of our miraculous exodus from Egypt but gives us a guide on how to survive as a people in any future exiles that we might find ourselves in.

What made it possible to save the Jewish people in Egypt was that they remained a people. If the Jews had assimilated into Egyptian society it would have been impossible to save them. The Midrash tells us that even though they didn't yet have the Torah, the Jewish people kept a certain amount of separation from the Egyptians by having differences in dress, language and names. Adding to this, another Midrash says that they maintained a higher moral standard than their Egyptian hosts.

Today, we aren't so good at separating ourselves from the other people who we live amongst. As a matter of fact we have gone out of our way to look, dress and talk in a way that no one can tell that we are Jewish. As far as morality goes, well let's not talk about that.

On the other hand, we have Pesach. Somehow on Pesach we become a people again. So many Jews I know, who have melted into American society go out of their way to eat Matzah on Pesach. All of a sudden, there is a demand on campus for kosher-style (or even kosher) passover food. For one week, the Jews become a separate people, a nation.
Is it enough? Probably not, but it is a good place to start. Let us all make an effort to be distinctively Jewish this Pesach. Let us do it with pride and joy. Let us find other Jews and encourage them to do it together with us. Who knows what good could come from this.

I sent the message to 350 people on my list of friends. People liked it and passed the message on to others.

People receiving the message are asked to respond by a choice of “attending”, “maybe” or not” attending”.

Final results:

13,250 people received the invitation.

11,473 people or 93% of those who received the invitation responded.

10,057 people or 81% of those who responded said that they would attend.

Total costs: Not a penny.

Time spent on project: One hour