What’s Your Jewish Story?

Everyone has a Jewish story. Some take twists and turns to far off lands, heroic tales of overcoming adversity and persecution, or even connections to the great Talmudists or sages. Some begin in the recent past with marriage, the birth of a child, participation in a life-cycle event, participating in the annual celebration of the High Holidays or eating matza on Passover. What is your Jewish story and how does it connect you to community?

These are the questions recently posed to the Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors, a diverse group of community leaders representing the many facets of our community from various geographies, congregations, service agencies and schools. The answers definitely surprised some and inspired others, offering insight as to why these volunteers would choose to take time away from family to give of themselves to the greater community. This is the essence of the why. 

The good news is that almost whatever the “why,” the Jewish Federation system is working to meet that need, issue or interest. The challenging news is that with a mission and network so broad, sometimes it may be hard to know exactly how your story—your why--fits in.

Where can you find answers, open the door to learn more, and connect with others?

Beyond the obvious—such as right here in the pages of Shalom New Haven, there are several portals to connect with Jewish life. In addition to Facebook pages, congregation websites and the Jewish Federation’s main website: jewishnewhaven.org, where you will find a handy video all about what Federation is, we are welcoming an incredible new platform, jclick. Jclick is the brainstorm of people who participated in the Jewish Federation’s leadership development program, Yesod. They saw the need for a broader platform of all things Jewish and worked together to create a gateway that offers connection with just a click of the computer mouse. The Jewish Federation is excited to partner with jclick and looks forward to even more enterprising collaborations in the future.

An additional feature of jclick is Jclick Ambassadors. Jclick volunteers are standing by to offer their help in connecting with community. Consider these volunteers as special community concierges. Along similar lines, Jewish Federation and JCC past president Joel Karp is also assembling a network of volunteer leaders charged with connecting and re-connecting with members of the community. Each initiative is designed with the individual at the forefront. Every member of the Greater New Haven Jewish community is important and with more people devoted to building community, all will benefit.

We are about to celebrate the holidays of Purim and Passover. Each holiday tells a story. They are simultaneously about individuals and our Jewish story (Esther & Mordechai; Moses & Miriam, etc.) as well as the greater Jewish people’s story. Along with my wishes for chaggim sameach, very happy holidays, I also ask you the question -- What is your Jewish story? And will you tell it to me?

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