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


ben said...

Reb Charles,
Brillaint .Incredible possibilities ..Get the kids inspired so that they all respond with their own "Jewish theme Party ".

Kol Tuv,


architect said...

What a wonderful idea!

Just wanted to comment on what you wrote about the state of moral affairs.

I authored a book entitled Adults Only: Trendsetting Spirituality for the 21st Century. It is a comprehensive Hashkafa book in the guise of a totally secular book on the subject of moral choice. Many assimilated Jews will not pick up an overtly Jewish book. Therefore this book was created to appeal to the most acculturated Jew.

The book is based on objective science and treats the most complicated subjects in a creative and exciting way. I was thinking that perhaps you can mention the book to your facebook list. The book is endorsed by almost every prominent Kiruv authority.

More cna be learned about the book by visiting www.thebookforadults.com.

Thank you and Tizka Lemitzvos!

elis blues said...

Hello Reb Charles,
long time no see!!
I just saw the piece in the JPost weekend magazine and thought I'd make contact - Eli Marcus - from the old JSU days at U of T, with Gerry Fisher and all that crowd.
Drop me a line.

Shoshanah Selavan said...

thank you for your incisive comments
change "marring" to marrying :)

Andy said...

Reb Charles,
You should consider re-posting this event again this year, and perhaps every year from now on.
Marbim b'simcha,
Y.M. Lipson