Russian Jewish Community Member
Fellow: Alex is a Russian-born American Jewish man in his mid-30s. He emigrated from the former Soviet Union when he was a small child and was raised in a Russian-speaking home with his parents and extended family in Brighton Beach. Like many of Alex’s friends, he struggles navigating his Jewish identity and the dynamics of his interfaith relationship.
Project: Recognizing that Alex and a majority of his friends do not feel a part of the American-Jewish community and do not often feel comfortable engaging in institutional and organizational Jewish life, Alex would like to create online and in-person opportunities for dialogue about the experience of Russian Jews at the margins of American-Jewish life. He intends to create an online discussion platform and robust social media campaign to garner more involvement in organized American-Jewish life on the ground, thereby creating a more strengthened and integrated Jewish community.
Recent College Graduate
Fellow: Rebecca is a deeply-committed Jewish woman of color from an interfaith family. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she double-majored in sociology and community health. She wrote a thesis on community engagement of millennial Jews of color and meeting their needs in multiracial and interfaith relationships.
Project: Building on her work, Rebecca would like to create a project to provide community and identity building opportunities for Jews of color in NYC and Washington, DC. Through a series of social mixers such as evening events, discussion series, daylong hikes, etc., Rebecca hopes to create an active and robust network among Jews of color and the greater North American Jewish community to integrate multiple and intersecting identities and relationships. She already created a Facebook group for Jews of color with several hundred members, many of whom expressed great interest in gathering together for programming.
Congregational Lay Leader
Fellow: Benjamin is a congregational leader and Tribe board member. Tribe is a joint initiative of two Reform congregations to broaden their reach to millennials and young professionals in the greater NYC area, many of whom are navigating the dating landscape and questioning their needs in interfaith relationships.
Project: Building on the success of Tribe NYC, Benjamin would like to deepen his impact and program development skills, which are currently geared towards millennial engagement. Through innovative programming like One Table, he hopes to create additional ongoing engagement with young professionals that is responsive to the needs of millennials and their diverse romantic relationships.
Fellow: David is a Jewish man in his 60s whose youngest daughter is marrying a Hindu man. David loves his son-in-law to be, but isn’t familiar with Hinduism and his other children have all married Jews. He is concerned that some of the traditions he hopes to pass on to his grandchildren will be lost and would like to have a place he can address some of his worries.
Project: With the encouragement of his daughter and her fiancée, David plans to begin a support network for parents of adult children in interfaith relationships. He will host bi-weekly meetings and would like to open up holiday celebrations for several religious traditions in order to learn as a group. He hopes that these events will lead to deepening knowledge and understanding between family members of intermarried couples.
Fellow: Lori is a 35-year old Catholic woman and has been married to her wife Hannah, who is Jewish, for five years. They have two young children and though they talked about their different religious traditions before they married, they are realizing that the practical pieces of practicing more than one religion and religious education with children are more complicated than they thought.
Project: Hannah and Lori apply together to begin a series of clergy-led information sessions designed to give interfaith families with children specific information, guidance, and support as they navigate making religious decisions as a family. They hope to reach at least 30 families through these sessions, and plan to continue meeting as a group to discuss resources and challenges after the eight clergy-led sessions.