Happy birthday, mom

Today is the birthday that you didn’t make it to.

It’s hard to imagine, still, that your body gave out before you were done with it. Your soul. Your being. Your presence. They never gave up. They continue to wrap us with joy and laughter and learning.

Today is March 17, 2015. You would have been 63.

In the seven months since your body left us, we’ve continued to grow. We now know grief. We now know love and bonding and what strength really means. We’re starting to know what it’s like to not have you laughing in the next room. Or this room. We’re starting to let the gaping void heal. The wet wound is drying.

Nothing is getting easier and it’s best for the people around us to ignore our pain. None of us want them to see it because it’s not their burden. Our emotions range from freedom to happiness to soul-crushing desperation. But there’s acceptance. Acceptance keeps us moving forward and our daily lives are just as simple as they ever were. Family comes first. Then work. Then play.

The kids have grown to the point where you might not recognize them. I’m overwhelmed with pride at each corner. Each turn is better than the next. There’s thoughtfulness and tenderness and a wit that is amazingly disarming. These kids are everything that you would have ever wanted them to be. They’re my kids. They are kids that you would have raised. They are who they are because of you.

I’m proud of you, mom. You built an amazing community, incredible family, and a life worth living. You fill me with hope, daily. You remind me about the important things and allow me to step back from the ones that can wait. You’ve taught me to cherish my moments and the people around me. You’ve taught me to live and to enjoy this life. You’ve done well. Your best was the best. I can only hope to be like you one day.

Happy birthday, mom.

May this day be filled with overflowing martinis, damn-good Chinese food, rowdy dancing, abundant laughter, and a few tears. May this day be filled with your eternal light. May this day be filled with your presence and all of the joy that it brings us.

Today is a celebration. Today is the day that you were born. Today, we celebrate your life.

Happy birthday, mom.

The Jewish Non-Profit Guide to Social Media Marketing

Cross posted from the JPS blog

socialmediabandwagonWhat a world and oy vey! There is so much digital swirl swooshing around your head every nano-second and you don’t have a clue how to even begin Social Media Marketing for your teeny tiny Jewish non-profit.

Well. We’re here to help.

In the past few months, JPS has moved to the next level with this stuff. Our blog is booming- we have over 1,000 fans on Facebook and over 1,200 followers on Twitter. These media have become three of the top ten referrers of web traffic to our regular website, and our hits have nearly doubled. We’re branding ourselves in a digital world, and I have to say, it’s pretty exciting for a 120 year old Jewish non-profit!

It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but with a little bit of time you will be writing your own how-to tutorials!

Why Social Media Marketing?

Let’s face it: Most people live their lives online nowadays. They are there to connect, be social, find information, make purchases, and even order dinner. People are integrating their personal lives more and more with their internet lives by communicating only through Facebook and Twitter and saving on cell phone minutes. So why not join them?

The truth is that people don’t go online to be marketed to. People go online to achieve something.

So here is rule number one. Don’t market. Again. I’ll repeat rule number one. Don’t market.

online_business_networking_groupsThis is about meeting people where they are. This is about adding value to the internet and providing a resource for people on their own terms. It is not about the hard sell. You’ll just turn people away.

Great! I get it! Now how do I do it?

There are a bagillion web tools that people use daily. Yes, a new one pops up every time you get used to the last one. Yes, it’s hard to keep up with them all. But wait! You’re not alone. As a marketer, you are ahead of the curve. Your eyes are open wider than the general public’s. Their world is moving just as fast as yours, so take a deep breath. You can do this.

Here are some best practices for some of the big guns in the world of Web 2.0.


• Create both a Fan Page and a Cause for your non-profit. (A Fan Page must be connected to a personal profile, so be sure that you have one set up before you dive in. You’ll be glad you did.)

• Join groups of similar interest to your organization.

• Use your page to update fans about things relating to your world, but not necessarily your own work. For example, we post links to Jewish history sites for added value.

• Pull your blog posts into “Notes.” (More on blogging later.) Facebook offers some nifty ways to integrate your media and walks you through all of it.

• Be current. People judge pages based on how often you update. You can always set your Twitter feed to pull in automatically and update your status for you. (Yup. More on Twitter later.)

• Be colorful. The web is becoming increasingly about aesthetics. You want the quality of your logo to be good. Upload images as frequently as possible. Better yet, add videos to your page.


• Twitter is about conversation. So. Have some.

• You can speak directly to people by using the @ symbol and their username. So you should absolutely tell @jewishpub that you read this post and like it.

• Use hash tags (#) to talk about a specific subject or event. When I attended the AAUP conference I would tweet:


• Don’t be afraid to hold Twitter-only contests. This is about getting people involved. For example, every Wednesday at 1:30 we give a free book away to anyone who can answer a trivia question based on something from our blog or website.


• You can use a free blogging program like WordPress or Blogger to set up your blog in just a few clicks. (I’m partial to WordPress since you can install it on your own hosting and keep your own URL.)

• This is where you really get to add value to what you do. Since you work so hard for the greater good, you might as well talk about the greater good!

• Be yourself. People need to know that a person is writing and not an organization. If you’re smart enough to know the difference, so are your readers.

• It’s O.K. to plug your own work on your own blog, but the blog shouldn’t JUST be about that. If you work for a Jewish immigration organization, your topics could span from conditions in a certain country to the naturalization process.

• Pretty, pretty, pretty. Pictures, videos, links, colors, and fonts. You don’t have to make people love the look of your site; just don’t turn them away. Remember that simplicity is also good. Google won out over Yahoo! because Google was simple and Yahoo! was hectic.

• Promote the pants off of your blog (In three weeks, our blog has become the number one referrer of web traffic to our main website).

Ok! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and have a Blog! Now what!?

NetworkingRemember that these things must work together in order to be able to work at all. You can tweet about your Blog post and send updates to your Facebook fans. You can set your Twitter account to update your Status on Facebook. You can link to all of your “spaces” right from your Blog. (Hey. It’s called a WEB for a reason, right?)

You have to keep up with it. The hardest part in all of this is staff time. I know that we all work hard, and none of us has a free moment in our busy Jewish non-profit world, but it must be done. Have a staffer tweet three times a day and write two blog posts a week. It will take less time than you think after the ball is rolling. Promise.

Once this is all set up and moving, you will start to see the results in just a few months. People will trust you more since you have met them on their level. You will become an expert in your field, because your sites will come up when Googled. People will begin to interact, and you will start to feel like you have made great strides in managing this digital swirl that is swooshing around your heads.