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Becoming Your Best

40 Days to Becoming Your Best: Salons to Grow Relationships and Meaning

40DaysLogoOn the High Holy Days of 5776 (2015) my synagogue community launched a 40-Day campaign of learning and conversation around my book, Increasing Wholeness (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2015). The mega-churches, such as Saddleback, have used the format of small group learning as their engine of growth and community making. I was unsure if my busy constituents would buy-in to prioritizing such study time. They did and with great results, exceeding my expectations in both the number of people who agreed to host a salon of five one-hour conversations and the reports of the several hundred participants of their satisfaction in sharing meaningful conversations and learning with friends.

   Please let me know if you would like to receive the materials that accompanied the book – a host guide, a reader’s guide, and 40 days of quotes. What I share with you is a model that you might use with other books or materials. I now see small group campaigns as an essential vehicle for building and growing our communities.

Suggested Materials:

High Holy Day Sermons:

Additional Materials:


“The cutting-edge of synagogue life is unfolding at Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, California where Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz has launched the amazing “40 Days to Your Best Life” campaign to build relationships among the congregants. Taking a page out of the Saddleback Church small groups playbook, Rabbi Spitz recruited more than 80 hosts to invite friends and family for five meetings during the 40 days to explore his new book, Increasing Wholeness (Jewish Lights Publishing). With each small group averaging 4-6 participants, more than 300 people gathered in each other’s homes to study and reflect on their lives. This grand experiment in Relational Judaism demonstrates what is possible when a talented rabbi inspires and motivates his congregation to innovate new ways of being in relationship – with him, with each other, and with Judaism itself as a path to meaning and purpose, belonging and blessing.”

Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University
Author, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community(Jewish Lights Publishing)

“The wonder of Jewish wisdom meets the vitality of contemporary life, as Rabbi Elie Spitz leads an entire congregational community of learners exploring their life dreams through intimate salon groups. As his congregants gathered to sift through his soulful new book, Increasing Wholeness(Jewish Lights Publishing) they were able to find new depths to their own emotional reservoirs, new heights for their aspirations and hopes, and new friendships to share the journey. They were inspired by the renewed spirit they uncovered, and I was inspired to see what a brilliant rabbi and a talented community could do together when they dreamed big and bold.”

בברכת שלום
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL
Roslyn and Abner Goldstine Dean’s Chair, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University

“If you would have told me I would pull out by ear buds while walking to thank
G-d for my health and that of my family’s, for the beautiful neighborhood I live in, the trees, the replanted bushes to save water in our community, I would have said, never going to happen! This is where I found myself this morning, a Friday morning before Shabbat,walking and reciting the Shema in my head! I surprised myself, but it was a wonderful surprise. Thank you for your masterful teachings. I’ve enjoyed the learning, the exercises and getting to know the congregants in our group.”

Helaine Yeskel, CBI Congregant

“Our small group has been uplifting, educational and informative. Since reading the book and attending the small group I have started reciting Modeh Ani prayer every morning before I arise; I did not do that prior to reading your book. Debbi learned it’s ok to give a blessing to anyone, she previously thought only a clergy person could do that. She loves your blessing, “May you feel at ease. May you live with strength. May you live feeling deeply loved and grateful.” All of this enables both of us to feel more connected with G-d.”

Harris Goodman, CBI Congregant