One of our Federation’s top priorities is working closely with partner organizations to facilitate collaboration and growth of the Jewish community. That’s why we recently teamed up with the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) to launch the Big Tent Judaism Professional Cohorts program. With funding provided via one of our local Incentive Regional Allocation grants, The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance empowered Valley Jewish institutions by offering JOI-facilitated training focused on collaboration, networking and program creation.
On February 20th, over 20 rabbis and Jewish communal professionals representing various organizations convened at our Federation’s Valley Alliance office with the goal of strengthening Jewish engagement efforts throughout our community. Participants learned how to maximize their outreach strategies through collaboration, which will ultimately benefit the entire community while simultaneously raising the profile of participating institutions. The Big Tent Judaism concept turns the traditional Jewish programming paradigm on its head. Its concept of “Personal Space Judaism” more subtly exposes the beauty of Jewish life to people of all levels of affiliation, literally where they are, rather than designing programs that may only attract those already seeking Jewish content and connection. For example, programs could take place at the mall, on the soccer field, or at the local coffee shop.
West Valley Rabbinic Task Force Chair Rabbi Jon Hanish of Temple Kol Tikvah said, “The JOI Big Tent Judaism program helped clarify and expand my perspective on outreach. I believe that every synagogue is a center of Jewish life and that all we need to do is to get people to cross our threshold and they will find value in what we have to offer. The big question is — how do we get Jews to cross our thresholds? JOI has removed the impediment to entry by teaching that Jews are everywhere and that it is our job to find them instead of waiting for them to come to us.” Carla Adivi, Director of Education at Valley Outreach Synagogue adds, “This carefully crafted and delivered training provided us with the knowledge and tools to unabashedly take Judaism to the streets without pretense.”
I am so proud of our Federation’s initiative to bring together all facets of the community. Working as a team, we are strengthening the fabric of our community by weaving together individual organizations and connecting every precious thread to Jewish life.
Rochelle Cohen is Chair of The Jewish Federation’s Valley Alliance. To learn more about the Federation’s Jewish outreach and engagement initiatives in the Valley, contact Itamar Harari, Valley Alliance Strategic Initiatives Director at IHarari@JewishLA.org or (818) 668-2336.