A young man in the community who has planned Jewish programs for his peers, for young adults, has high energy and is genuinely interested in Jewish life walked into our Jewish Engagement Lab this week curious about what goes on there. As he entered the room, he was warm, enthusiastic, and made his way, introducing himself and mingling with regulars from the Lab and newcomers alike.
Each time the Jewish Engagement Lab meets, 3-5 new people attend. 12-15 project founders network, share challenges, get advice and counsel and share the same. The warmth, and high energy is infectious. As new friends are made, and in some cases old acquaintances are refreshed, new relationships are forged and the opportunity to support each other is appreciated that much more.
We begin every Lab with a 2 minute overview from each person about their project if they have one, and if not, what led them to join us that day. The meeting continues with a topic relating to marketing, or prototyping, recruiting or fundraising, for grassroots Jewish program development in San Diego’s Jewish Community. We educate project founders how to do outreach because over 85% of our Jews are not engaged in traditional Jewish organizational life. This means it takes creativity and knowledge to reach them.
We love to see newcomers to the Lab. Why? Because they come, curious, making time out of their day and contribute. More often then not they come in the door without a specific purpose and walk out with one either supporting an existing project or they begin to consider founding their own.
So what happened with the young man that particular day? He found something interesting to do. Among the project founders in attendance at the Lab that day was Aviva Angel who is founding an Intentional Community in San Diego.
And what happened next? He joined Aviva enthusiastically for her first meeting for community members to learn more about the Intentional Community she has planned. Who knows what will come next. But, we love the Jewish engagement story.
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