My chavrusa, David Bibi, publishes a weekly Torah newsletter that he distributes by email to nearly 20,000 people. I highly recommend it to all. You can sign up at email@example.com.
This week, David reports on his trip to the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals Convention in Baltimore:
One disturbing fact that I heard at the convention was that there are four million Jews in need of outreach assistance. With only 100 or so full time outreach professionals – that means 40,000 people for each to find time to help. It’s simply impossible.
An alternative solution is the one espoused by Haham Ovadiah Yosef suggesting that each person take upon himself one friend a year. And perhaps each family could take on one family. A woman can introduce a friend to lighting candles, she can take her to the Mikveh, she can bake Chalot with her, she can bring her to a class or she can learn one on one. A man can take a friend to shul, have a daily phone shiur with him, send a daily e-mail and discuss it, bring a friend to a shiur, help him to be comfortable in an atmosphere that might seem foreign, show him the joy and happiness that is enveloped by the Shabbat.
A key theme in this weeks Perasha is action. Yitro hears and he comes. The Jewish people will do and will hear. We have so many excuses to avoid action. Why should I get involved? Let me mind my own business. Maybe next time I see them. Maybe someone else? But that is the Yeser Harah, that is the Satan. He is the master of excuses and the master of postponement. Greatness lies in the ability to act, in the ability to do and the ability to take that first step. So commit right now, get each of your family members to commit as you sit to dinner on Friday night to do just one act this week to bring someone closer to the religion of their fathers, to make some act to restore a link to it’s chain.
More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews. White Shabbos is planning a musical tour called "Take Back Shabbos". Let's take it back, and let's keep it. Tell your friends.