Professor Gross Discusses Pandemic Effects on Synagogue Membership

Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Photo of the sanctuary at Princes Road Synagogue in England
Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool, England. Photo by Michael Beckwith.

JEWISH TELEGRAPHIC AGENCY/THE JERUSALEM POST -- “In-person gathering isn’t going away,” said Rachel Gross, a professor of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, “but certainly younger people understand real community is happening online.”

Gross sees virtual services building on initiatives like PJ Library, a program that distributes Jewish children’s books, or organizations that bring people together for Shabbat meals to encourage Jewish engagement outside of Jewish institutions.

“I don’t think that the synagogue membership model is going to disappear,” she said. “But I think the pandemic is probably exacerbating trends that allow people to have more obvious choices about the organizations they’re picking and choosing from.”