by Rabbi Tzvi Graetz
Last year, some of our kehillot were looking for Simchat Torah flags and voiced their frustration that they could only find flags that were relevant to the orthodox Jewish world. We needed a flag that spoke to modern, pluralistic yet traditional Jews.
One look at the flag and people all over the world would know who we are and what we believe in:
Flags of the world – Jewish peoplehood. Prominence of the Israeli Flag and Hebrew writing – Zionism and the centrality of the State of Israel. Women wearing tallit and holding a Torah – Egalitarianism. Different Ethnicities and a Sephardi Torah – Diversity. Kids in youth group shirts – the importance of inventing in the next generation. Physically challenged young woman in a wheel chair – Inclusivity. Historical Figures – Ties to Tradition. A circle of dancers that includes grandparents, parents and children - l’dor v’dor – from generation to generation.
The first place we posted the picture of the flag and how to order was on Facebook. The post included a link to order forms on our website which helped to bring new visitors to our site with the hope that they would have a further look around. The post was immediately shared over 20 times with the post translated into Spanish and Portuguese. A direct email campaign was sent out as well as posting it on various listserves. We will continue to send out reminders via different social media and marketing avenues to increase awareness.
We couldn’t believe the amount of orders we received. We quickly realized that we were going to have to order more flags. In only a week, we had sold almost 10,000 flags on 3 continents! The flag project was supported by the WZO, Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami in order to keep the prices affordable. It won’t be making us a profit any time soon but it is certainly worth the investment.
The flag, along with our message and our logos would be seen by congregants in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia and Latin America. It is easily now going to be one of the best ways we have to raise the visibility of our organization. The lesson of the flag has taught us that you need to think outside the box about how best to spread your message and reach out to your communities, your donors and your future donors. The answer may just be waving right in front of your face.
Rabbi Tzvi Graetz is Executive Director, Masorti Olami/MERCAZ Olami.