Friday, March 5, 2010

RSJ-Chicago blog - on role of partnerships

As a new house, RSJ-Chicago House made the initial decision to be careful and deliberate about who we choose to partner with, in order to allow us to build our own brand without being automatically affiliated with the perceptions that existing organizations already have. To this end, so far we have pursued mostly partnerships that allowed us to build up our demographic and give us access to segments of the community which we might not necessarily have access before, but whose membership aligns with our goals. For example, one of our big partners has been Russian Hillel. It's a natural choice, because Russian Hillel in Chicago is an organization that's patronized by a large amount of Russian-speaking-Jews, many of them already out of college. By cross-promoting and organizing events with Russian Hillel, we've gained access to their entrenched membership, while benefiting them by providing them with a venue downtown in which to host events, and a helping hand in organization. By contrast, to date, we've mostly shied away from organizations that would not get us much in a way of membership, but would help us organize events outside of our knowledge base that we would not be capable of organizing ourselves, such as reaching out to religious organizations to organize Jewish learning events. We are at a stage where this is changing now, however, as we've established our brand, and are now looking to diversify our programming. In February, we've partnered up with a Chabad Rabbi to organize a program to put on Tfillin, and in March we have a young Rabbi coming to our House to host a lecture.

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