So what's the hook that will encourage out-of-state Jews to pack up and jump eruvim? DAT Minyan's secret weapon, the pitch that they hope will seal the Denver deal? The Mile High City's quality of life: "Not as obsessed with work, 300 days of sunshine a year, the Rocky Mountains," Alter says.

For the past two years, Alter, Friedman and others have made the trek to Manhattan to tout Denver at a job and relocation fair sponsored by the Orthodox Union, a Jewish outreach and social services organization. This year, they set up a booth alongside 21 other small Orthodox communities, including New Orleans, Allentown and Des Moines.

They hope to do essentially the same thing with graduates of Yeshiva University, a prestigious New York City college. Alter and others have also made recruiting trips to Los Angeles, where they advertise their visits in local Jewish publications and then set up individual meetings with families or young couples looking for more affordable alternatives to L.A.'s pricey neighborhoods.

Scott Friedman wants to increase the size of Denver's Orthodox Jewish community.
Scott Friedman wants to increase the size of Denver's Orthodox Jewish community.

They'd like to offer those families financial incentives — such as relocation bonuses or discounts on day school tuition, which can cost up to $10,000 per child — but Friedman says they haven't yet figured out how or how much.

DAT Minyan is also flirting with the idea of sending Alter on weekend trips to Chicago, Miami and maybe even Dallas or Kansas City, to be a sort of guest speaker at different synagogues – the perfect opportunity to give members there an earful about sunny, friendly Denver.

And there's no need to convince the entire congregation — not by a long shot. DAT Minyan's goals are modest. Friedman and Alter figure that if they can attract ten new families a year, they'll be on track to reach the critical mass they need. And once Denver doubles its numbers, they say, it'll take almost no work to quadruple them.

"Once you have a critical mass," Friedman says, "the floodgates open."

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"It was not that long ago that 'marketing' felt like a dirty word in the synagogue world."

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