Team Welt had the chance to sit down with a true marketing innovator, Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp of Temple Sholom in Amberley Village. Now, typically when you think of “marketing innovators,” they are generally working with the cutting edge in commercial products and business to business products and processes, but you rarely think of faith or God as something that needs to be (or even should be?) “marketed.”
When Rabbi Miriam came to Sholom in the summer of 2010, she saw a congregation that seemed to be aging, and recognized immediately that it would be necessary to reach out to a younger community to revitalize the congregation. She convinced her board that social media (YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) offered a way forward.
She had a new sound system, and video cameras installed in the Synagogue. She began streaming major events on the web, and offering services regularly on YouTube. She made Facebook and Twitter solid channels for offering the latest news about services, events and the human interest stories that bring congregations together.
She and her team of staffers and volunteers use video to share ideas and issues, and they take full advantage of the interactive nature of social media to solicit feedback from her extended flock. Our two-hour conversation ranged across a wide variety of topics that included her background in design (she holds a B.A. in Studio Art, which helps her to understand how important the visual aspects of messaging is to the younger, web users), to her experience as a young, female Rabbi from the West Coast who happened to end up in Cincinnati. She shared stories of her vibrant and diverse family, who make their homes in far-flung places such as Brazil and London.
But even as this vibrant, thoroughly modern woman described her very contemporary life, she made it very clear that foremost in her heart and mind is faith and tradition. When you look at the themes and concepts she explores with her congregation, she may address them in the language of today, and relate them to modern touch-points and imagery, but she knows that it is the traditions that must endure.
And even though she has taken leaps forward with new media, the traditions and values that she brings out in her sermons, are the same beautiful, meaningful expressions of faith that they have been for thousands of years. She just shifts them on to new platforms, and uses new tools to make them real for a generation that still craves connection with community and spirituality that is Judaism.