How to Market Judaism

Issamar Ginzberg is a business strategy and marketing consultant, and a motivational speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Monetized Intellect Consulting, a business and marketing firm based in the New York City and Jerusalem areas. He also founded ESEI (English Speaking Entrepreneurs Israel), an organization that assists English-speaking businessmen in adjusting to the Israeli business market. He is a rabbi, a mohel and a descendant of the Nadvorna rabbinical dynasty. In 2011, he completed a two year scholarship at the Ohr LaGolah Advanced Rabbinical Training and Ordination program at Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem, Israel. You can learn more about Rabbi Ginzberg at his website:

Recently, Rabbi Ginzberg led a workshop on using a marketing mindset and strategies to enhance Kiruv activities at The Jerusalem Kollel. thanks Rabbi Moshe Atlas and Rabbi Jon Joffit for summarizing the central points of Rabbi Ginzberg’s useful workshop:


Is marketing something businesses need to do?


Is marketing something an individual should be doing as hishtadlus to increase their chances of landing the right job?


But where else does marketing strategy apply?

There are many answers to that question, but here’s one answer you may not have thought of.

Marketing is important in the world of kiruv. Outreach organizations, with combined budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, use marketing techniques to best increase their bang for the resources they can commit.

Consider organizations like Ohr Lagolah, Ner LeElef, Aish HaTorah, Chabad, or Torah Umesorah. When they send someone out to the proverbial boondocks to do kiruv work on behalf of all of us, how can they best make sure that manpower (and rebbetzin power) is used with the highest possible focus to accomplish the most they can with limited resources and only 24 hours in a day?

Through marketing. Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg recently gave a Friday morning class to The Jerusalem Kollel at the world headquarters of Ner LeElef on this topic. would like to thank Rabbi Moshe Atlas and Rabbi Jon Jaffit for taking notes during the class and allowing us to use them in making the following points for those working in kiruv:

Succesful Interactions & Managing Expectations

It is important that people walk away feeling positive about their encounter with you. The way that they feel is largely the result of their expectations. If they expected better and had to put-up with worse, they will be disappointed. If they expected less, they will be positively surprised and feel much more positive about the meeting. Practically, whenever possible, you should downplay what can be expected at events and classes – of course without turning people off altogether. This will ensure positive feedback.

Introduce Yourself

If you can get people to feel as if they know you, before they have to commit to formally meeting with you or attending your events, people will feel less inhibited to “make the jump.” For many people, it is awkward meeting new people and enrolling in new organizations. Your first step is to get everybody involved long before they step through the door. Practically, whenever you have the opportunity to communicate with others, as in write-ups, emails, Facebook, and weekly newspaper columns, etc., use the opportunity to introduce yourself and your organization to them. Share stories and communicate openly. People will begin to know you before they’ve even met you.

Appealing Effectively

1. Never leave your appeal to the end of your presentation. Once the content is over, people mentally switch off. Always embed your appeal in the middle of your presentation. You can casually slip it in several times.
Practically, when running a trip or an introductory class, do not present the options for the future towards the end. Rather, mention the possibilities throughout the duration of the trip or class.

2. When appealing, you need to help people feel comfortable accepting your offer. They certainly don’t want
to stand out as a lone idiot because they alone decided to take you up. Communicate that this is a natural
progression and a choice which many people make. Practically, always say “for those who are interested” instead of “if you are interested.” Alternatively, say “when you are interested.”

Subtle Communication

The greatest way to combat your audience’s reservations is by addressing them in passing. You can subtly insert important messages along the way to make a subconscious impact. An entertaining story which innocently
addresses their concerns is a brilliant method of communication. For example, a funny story about someone who joined your follow-up program could let everyone know that there is a follow-up program, that normal people partake, and that fun is had by all.

Citibank Survey

We need to find out who is Jewish and who is interested. We don’t want to waste our time with people who are not interested. We need to find out what specifically interests people. We need to probe without offending people.

Citibank opens stands on all major campuses and distributes free T-shirts and the like. By the way, you fill out the application and they slip their credit card into your wallet. We can employ a similar setup.

Practically, arrange an open event which is likely to be universally appealing. Distribute food and provide entertainment. Give out your surveys at the door. Make them comprehensive and general, and slip in the big questions somewhere in the middle. Throw in: “What is your religion?” Throw in a few questions about background: “What is your father’s religion?” “What is your mother’s religion?” This is a way to get a count of the Jewish students without having to comb the campus to ask each student: “Are you Jewish? Are you Jewish?” Through a survey, you can develop a list of the students you want to focus on for kiruv.

Identify Concerns

Of course, if people are not interested in the product you have to offer, there is little hope of attracting them. However, many people are interested but are held back by their reservations. Always identify the three big concerns people will have which may prevent them from enrolling in your program. For example:

1. Who else will be there? Will I be joined by like-minded people?

2. I am afraid that I will be put on the spot and asked to commit to something or do something that I really don’t want to do.

3. I don’t want to be stuck in a boring three-hour speech. Use your advertising to address these concerns. Use photographs, language, and testimonials to address each one of the concerns. You may want to emphasize live-music at your parties. You may want to emphasize the buffet. Add the testimonials of “regular” people who enjoyed your previous events.

The Best Testimonials

1. You know best what you need to communicate about your organization, especially when it comes to addressing the three big concerns. Enlist the help of those who are excited by your programming and ask them if they would be willing to sign on your script.

2. Include testimonials which would be meaningful to all sects of your target audience since your target audience needs to be able to identify with the characters in the testimonials. Have testimonials from both younger and older individuals, professionals and students, males and females, etc.


In the second and final installment of this guest post, Rabbi Ginzberg will share with us eight more powerful insights that will help you move your organization in a positive direction!



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