UHC members can relate to the PBS program, “There Are Jews Here”

By B. Scott Skillman

During a recent sleepless night, I was surfing the PBS website and stumbled across an interesting program called America ReFramed.

The PBS program highlights a small congregation in Laredo, Texas.

The series is unique in its approach to highlighting different aspects of American communities.

In my observation of the show titles, I came across a program labeled, There Are Jews Here. This is Season 6, Episode 18 of the America ReFramed series.

There Are Jews Here follows the untold stories of four once-thriving American Jewish communities that are now barely holding on. As communities struggle with aging congregants and dwindling interest, families are moving to larger cities with more robust congregations.

A portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity in small-town America.

A portrait of people who are doing their part to keep the Jewish spirit alive, the film celebrates religious diversity in small-town America.

Beyond that description, I found the 90-minute show to provide an excellent representation of our own experience and many of the ideas we have tried or considered at UHC in order to encourage engagement.

It is a bit unclear whether the issues facing these congregations are limited to lack of Jews in the vicinity or the combination of fewer Jews and absence of action to encourage Jews to affiliate, as we have attempted in our community.

What is painfully clear is that the problem is real and nationwide, and no effective solutions are yet found.

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