‘High’ Holidays, Indeed: Chabad Takes to the Skies
Hallandale and Hollywood, Fla.—and anyone on their beaches—just soaked in their last official summer sun. In addition to whiffs of salty air, residents and visitors were able to take in the breezy notes of Sukkot as an airplane bearing a holiday message flew above them on Sunday, Sept. 22, the first day of autumn.
A banner-toting plane is certainly a fast way to reach a large number of people, according to Rabbi Leibel Kudan, associate director for the area’s Chabad Ocean Drive. He represents just one of many Chabad centers making their presences known in new and innovative ways during the busy holiday season.
The idea came about a year ago when community member Judah Holland, who lives along the beach, suggested that Chabad give the air space a try.
Planes go by all the time, he says, so why not send a particular message? “Seeing a plane go by talking about the Jewish holidays … it’s something that would get anyone’s attention.”
They flew a banner before Rosh Hashanah this year as well, letting people know they could find Chabad—and High Holiday services—at the local Crown Plaza Hotel.
People on the beach stopped what they were doing to take pictures, Holland relates, as the plane circled overhead. Those pictures made the rounds on Facebook and other social media outlets. As a result, Holland says Chabad had to set up extra seats for services: “It was a full house, and you saw a lot of new faces.”
He has lived in the area for seven years, but this is the first time he knows of an airplane advertising open doors for synagogue services: “I think it’s a great thing.”
Kudan adds that the feat helps raise awareness of the holidays, and lets people know that they are welcome and invited.
“We want to create a splash,” he says. “Our goal is to let people know that Chabad is out here, and that Chabad is also out of the box.”
A Way to Reach More People
Chabad of Georgia’s Rabbi Isser New is also taking to the skies, albeit in a different way. They rented billboard space on one of the biggest highways in Atlanta—Interstate 85. Some 60,000 cars pass the signs along the route on a daily basis, says New, and so they decided to give it a try.
“We were looking for a creative way to reach people and to reach many more people than we could have just through regular methods,” he says. They first tried the method on Chanukah, using a billboard to wish people a “Happy Chanukah from Chabad.”
This time, people saw “Don’t Blow It! Join Chabad This Year,” alongside a man blowing a shofar. There was also a message to text the word “shofar” to 90210, where people were then directed to a website that showed all Chabad locations in the state.
To accomplish this, Chabad partnered with a service called iZigg, a text marketing company; one of its partners is a member of the Chabad community and helped them set up the process.
The billboard stood throughout August. The brand recognition it promoted is part of long-term marketing efforts, says New.
And the texts did indeed come rolling in. Though he doesn’t have metrics on how many people showed up to Chabad as a result, he is certain that the message boosted synagogue attendance. Of the dozen official centers in Georgia, 10 are in Atlanta, where the billboard was located.
“I think it brings about a sense of Jewish pride for the community,” he says. “I think it gives people a sense of pride about Judaism, and that’s a very strong benefit as well.”
See the original and full article, here: www.Chabad.org/2334552
Chabad-Lubavitch is a world-wide Jewish movement with a two century old religious philosophical system. Considered to be the most dynamic force in Jewish life today, the organization consists of over 3,500 institutions worldwide directed by over 4,000 full-time emissaries and a workforce that numbers in the tens of thousands.
Dedicated to the spiritual and material welfare of the Jewish people and motivated by respect and affection for each individual, the movement has set into motion an astounding array of innovative programs, services and institutions to serve the needs of Jews everywhere. More information on Chabad is available at www.Chabad.org.
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