Synagogue websites

March 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm 5 comments

There is a website resource I often recommend to congregations looking to develop their own sites. It’s called Web Pages That Suck, As the name implies (not so subtly), it is a review of websites that don’t quite measure up to Vincent Flanders’ (and the world’s) idea of decent websites. Flanders includes some great tools to analyze ones own site.

In the spirit of avoiding lashon harah, and without getting too judgemental, you can guess why I recommend it to congregations. There are a lot of bad church websites. Proportionally, there are even more bad synagogue websites.

This post was spurred by a recent email to me from Monique Cuvelier of Talance. Talance is a web development company and Monique has taken on the daunting task of working to improve synagogue sites. Her email asked if I had any exemplory synagogue sites to recommend. My reply was that I didn’t even have any really good sites to recommend. Sure, there are some nice, slick looking synagogue sites out there, all of which are based on Web 1.0 – ‘here’s my information, come look at it.’ While much of the church world has embraced Web 2.0 philosophy (see my post on Cyberculture,, I’ve yet to see a synagogue use web technology as a way to elicit or solicit information from readers.

I’m encouraged to see that many rabbis are now blogging. That’s a start! Let’s all encourage Monique by reading her blog and taking her suggestions,!

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Entry filed under: Judaism, Synagogue Studies. Tags: , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jeff  |  March 21, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Interesting post. I took on revamping my synagogue’s website (and email marketing) a few months ago out of frustration and embarrassment of not only out the information architecture (it was impossible to find your way around the site), but the content was often very outdated. I wanted our site to be an integral part of our communication to and from its membership.

    When doing “competitive analysis, I struggled to find really good synagogue websites that I could use as an example. I had to rely on business sites for the most part for UI & navigation.

    We also leveraged open-source technologies and web services, which in my opinion were as equal if not better than commercial products.

    There is NO excuse for synagogues not to have better sites!

  • 2. rebaaron  |  March 21, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I absolutely agree – there is no excuse, other than synagogues haven’t recognized the value of the web as a communications tool – and I know I’m generalizing. If yours turns out to be a ‘good’ synagogue site please forward the address (I promise not to comment publically). As I wrote, Monique and I are always looking for benchmarks to show others.

  • 3. Beth nast  |  June 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I’d love to see a temple whose website incorporates a BLOG for members to ask questions and get answers.
    I may be working on updating our website here in Boston area temple.

    • 4. rebaaron  |  June 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm

      Me too! You have a great resource in Boston in Talance ( Monique knows oodles about synagogue websites and social networking.

  • 5. Monique - Talance  |  August 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Aaron. You’re no small chops with social media yourself.

    Here’s an update to your posting: After trying for a long time to find exemplary websites for synagogues and finding nothing, I decided to fix the problem. We’re launching a project for synagogues: Web 2.0 websites with a host of tools and widgets to choose from. Very affordable and built fast.

    We’re very psyched. Check it out.


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