New Educational Tools Deepen Engagement for Jewish Millennials

October 3, 2017

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As 10 young professionals gathered around a Shabbat dinner table in San Francisco, one man took a moment to address his companions, all of whom had signed up for a special meal focused on Turkish Jewry.

“My family is actually Turkish, and I’ve never had the opportunity to share that at a Shabbat gathering before,” he said. “It’s amazing to be around a table and share my story with folks who understand.”

It’s the kind of comment that’s music to Analucia Lopezrevoredo’s ears. The 29-year-old is a passionate JDC Entwine alumna and the Bay Area manager for OneTable, an Entwine partner that helps millennials host and attend unique Shabbat dinners.

Some of those gatherings, like the Turkey-focused one, employ JDC Entwine’s new Global Shabbat Toolkit, which helps facilitate a meaningful Shabbat dinner experience with icebreakers, creative translations of prayers and ritual moments, and conversation starters that foster serious discussions on identity, travel, and more.“To me, JDC is probably the single

“To me, JDC is probably the single
most significant organization that
connects me beyond being just Jewish.”

“I use the toolkit and serve a dish that represents a place or Jewish community I’ve come to know through Entwine. I tell them, ‘What we’re eating here today is likely being served at their table,’” she said. “That just kind of spirals into some really beautiful conversations about what it means to be a global Jewish citizen.”

Lopezrevoredo is one of the early adopters of the toolkit and two other exciting new Entwine initiatives—as a co-chair of a recent Entwine Insider Trip to Morocco, she helped lead Entwine’s unique new educational curriculum that asks participants to engage with the Talmudic value of “areivut” or guarantorship; and she attended re:entwine, a fall 2016 weekend retreat designed to deepen engagement and equip alumni with the skills needed to host their own local programs.

Lopezrevoredo, a Jew of Peruvian descent, said Entwine dovetails with her “passion for creating an awareness of Jewish peoplehood.”

“To me, JDC is probably the single most significant organization that connects me beyond being just Jewish,” she said. “And JDC Entwine is the young adult platform that allows people to see it firsthand. It allows you to stay connected and learn continuously.”

Entwine was able to develop the Global Shabbat Toolkit, Insider Trip curriculum, and re:entwine retreats thanks to the generosity of the Jim Joseph Foundation, which has invested heavily in the platform’s educational and training capacity.

For Sarah Eisenman, JDC Entwine’s Executive Director, the value of the new programs is clear: They’re a way to enhance the Entwine experience, to ensure it continues beyond what happens overseas, and to empower alumni to integrate these experiences into their own personal Jewish narratives.

“We are working to catalyze the current generation of young Jewish adults to see global Jewish awareness, connection, and responsibility as core to their identity,” Eisenman said. “Creating meaningful experiences with sophisticated educational content, providing training for our alumni leaders, and giving them the tools to create their own experiences is key to this mission.” It’s a message that’s beginning to resonate more and more.

Over 80 young Jews from across the U.S. and the U.K. attended the re:entwine gatherings, with one held on the East Coast and one on the West; two more sessions are scheduled for fall 2017. The new trip curriculum has already been implemented on 14 trips, impacting more than 250 young people. And more than 100 individuals have taken part in Shabbat celebrations using the toolkit to initiate organic discussions on global Jewish communities and responsibility.

Jeremy Nagel, a 29-year-old nurse in New York City and former Global Jewish Service Corps Fellow in Mumbai, India, said the JDC Entwine community is a welcome chance to reconnect with like-minded individuals.

In addition to participating in re:entwine, he recently hosted a Global Shabbat in partnership with the organizations REALITY (an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation) and OLAM that drew 70 young professionals and utilized the toolkit to facilitate conversations on transformational global service.

“It brought me back. I felt lost in my work and I forgot that I enjoy having meaningful Shabbat dinners and learning about Jewish communities,” he said. “JDC Entwine events are what keep me involved, reminding me that there’s more to my life than my job, my friends, and winding down after a long week at work.”

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