Jlive Expands Jewish Community Connections | Community

As of this summer, Jlive has had 20,000 individual registrants— people signing up for an event or program.Until a few years ago, if you were interested in a local Jewish holiday celebration for families or an adult class about Jewish history, you might rely on mailings from a synagogue, the Jewish Community Center (The J-Detroit) or a time-consuming online or phone search. But, for the past several years, Jlive, an extensive online platform, has helped thousands of Jewish Detroiters connect with local Jewish organizations and register for their programs and events.Created in 2021, Jlive’s goal was to help community members “do more Jewish”  — increase their participation in Jewish life — and statistical data indicates the platform is achieving this goal.As of this summer, Jlive has had 20,000 individual registrants — people signing up for an event or program. Approximately 75 local Jewish organizations, including synagogues and temples, arts and cultural organizations, and educational institutions, have created at least one event on Jlive to publicize their programs.As a single, comprehensive resource, Jlive facilitates individual participation in Jewish programs, which, in turn, strengthens Jewish organizations and bolsters overall community connections and engagement.

Scott Kaufman

According to Scott Kaufman, co-managing partner of Jlive and former CEO of the Jewish Federation of Detroit, more than 250 new people create a Jlive Detroit account, which saves their information for registrations and future notifications, each month. Six thousand individuals have user accounts. This growth has been achieved even without a full-scale marketing campaign, he notes. “The platform was designed to be easy to use. The quality of the visuals is very high. People like the design — it’s very sophisticated,” says Kaufman. Organizations and individuals are not charged to participate.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaufman says there was “hyper-participation with Zoom events” with a drop afterward. In 2022, 639 events were posted; the number varies somewhat depending upon the season. Individual users can search events and ongoing programming organized by four featured categories: Jewish Holiday Events, Young Adults, Family Events and Adult Learning and Experiences. Users can also search by individual Jewish organization. 

Zach Weisman

“Jlive is on track to host 1,000 events in Detroit with 25,000 registrants in 2023. The number of Detroit events hosted and registrants is growing at 150 percent per year,” says Zach Weisman, Jlive’s head of product who has been with the organization since its inception.Kaufman is pleased that Jlive is fostering more collaboration among Jewish organizations so programming can reach more people in an appealing, efficient way. Online templates help organizations create their program/event publicity, including registration information, on Jlive. This reduces staff time previously spent preparing postcards and invitations and also reduces printing and mailing costs.“In 2023, Jlive hosted a non-Federation Detroit event that transacted nearly $40,000 on the platform in the form of ticket sales and sponsorships,” Weisman says.One of the organizational users of Jlive is the Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC). According to Sam Dubin, assistant director/director of media relations for JCRC/AJC, “We have found Jlive to be efficient in organizing attendees in a streamlined and simple way. Externally, the functionality of Jlive continues to improve, most notably in the way the system automates event reminders and emails attendees their tickets.”Kaufman expects that in the future, Jlive will host seminars for participating organizations to help them understand the aggregated demographic data that Jlive can provide.This year, Jlive added an online job board that includes 50-100 job openings for Metro Detroit and Windsor Jewish organizations, as well as some remote jobs with national Jewish agencies. Further enhancements are being planned. By the end of the year, Weisman expects users will have access to a Jlive app through their phones.Jlive began about two years ago as a joint venture of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Montreal CJA — the Jewish federation in Montreal. The annual budget of about $1 million has been provided by philanthropy, according to Kaufman. This includes support from both federations and family foundations. Costs are mainly for contractors who provide coding, customer service and other operational functions.The original plan was to market and operate the Jlive platform for other Jewish federations, and that process has begun. Cincinnati’s Federation and its JCC will be the first to adapt Jlive to its community for an expected annual fee of $50,000. Kaufman says Ann Arbor and Seattle are close to implementation of Jlive and discussions have been held with other communities. Eventually, Kaufman anticipates, Jlive will become a stand-alone organization.For more information, visit Jlive.app.  


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