Tag Archives: Young Adults

Discussing Sukkot at the New Moishe House of Orange County

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(Picture courtesy of Sarah Van Zanten)

Last week, I visited the new Moishe House of Orange County and spoke about the holiday of Sukkot with young adults.  Having spoken at the previous Moishe House of Orange County several times last year and several times the year before, it was my first time at the new location of the Moishe House, which, like the previous location, is also in Costa Mesa.

(Picture courtesy of Sarah Van Zanten)

On Tuesday, I spoke largely about the mitzvah is doing various activities within a sukkah during the holiday, what constitutes a sukkah, why we do it, and more.  I also spoke about the four arboreal species that we take, as well.

It was a great time and I look forward to returning to enrich the Jewish lives of young adults in Orange County at the Moishe House!



“Witches & Brews” in Orange County

Discussing witches in the Jewish Bible last night in Orange County
Discussing witches in the Jewish Bible last night in Orange County

Last night, I led a conversation for with young adults about witches in the Jewish Bible in Orange County as part of my newly-relaunched “Bible & Brewery” series for Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment.

With “Witches & Brews”, we met at Bootlegger’s Brewery, which has a nice outdoor patio with picnic tables, and discussed various prohibitions in the Torah about witches, followed by a couple of stories about Jewish kings in the rest of the Bible.

Curiosity about later events concerning witches in Judaism has yielded, to popular demand, a follow-up event on Monday night to discuss rabbinic approaches to witches.

Having spoken last month about the High Holidays (in the Torah) in Placentia, this is the second consecutive monthly “Bible and Brews” event, wherein I lead discussions on Biblical pieces with young adults (20s-30s) at different breweries in Orange County and Long Beach.

Discussion on High Holidays in Orange County with Young Adults

A dozen young adults joined in a discussion with me last night in Orange County
A dozen young adults joined in a discussion with me last night in Orange County

Last night, I led a discussion for young adults regarding Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the “High Holidays”, in the Torah.  Part of my “Bible & Brewery” series, visiting different breweries in the greater Orange County-Long Beach area, while exploring Biblical sections, this event took place at The Bruery in Placentia.

Young adult attendees came from Long Beach, Anaheim, and Costa Mesa to join in on this conversation, helping them get mentally ready for the upcoming holidays!

“Conversation & Cocktails” Takes Place in Orange County

Conversation last night had over a dozen young adults
Conversation last night had over a dozen young adults

Last night, I led a discussion with over a dozen young adults (20s-30s) in Costa Mesa to hear their ideas about what they are interested in doing for Jewish learning opportunities. Suggestions from participants included topics, locations, and events to do. It was a nice opportunity for them to have their voices heard as well as to meet other young Jews in the area.

Cocktails were enjoyed
Cocktails were enjoyed

The event, “Cocktails & Conversation” was the second such event of its kind; the first one took place in Long Beach in February, while this one took place in central Orange County. Cocktails were also offered, largely using the leftover spirits from the “Texts & Tasting” series over the past two years.

In addition to this event helping to provide fodder for re-booting my young adult efforts this fall, I am also seeking to re-brand them.

Re-Branding SoCal Jewish Young Adult Enrichment

A year-and-a-half ago when I was creating a new brand for reaching out to young Jews in their 20s-30s in the greater Orange County and Long Beach area, I realized that my focus was getting something out quickly. I needed an additional brand to Southern California Jewish Student Services (SoCalJSS), which focussed on university and high school students. This emerged from talking to young adults who had said distinctly that they were not students when I told them the organization for which I worked. So, I needed a new brand.
When I created Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment a year-and-a-half ago, my intention was to create a brand that communicated what it was, but essentially using it as a working title. Well, the working title has clearly been still in use and a transition needs to occur. Yes, the name says what it is, but it’s too much: it’s too unwieldy.

So, I’m on the search for a new name for my young adult initiative. Hopefully, by September, a new name and logo will be forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Young Adult Jewish Communal Professionals Conference?

A session at TribeFest on spirituality led to a lot of comments from young adults, that was the genesis of this post
A session at TribeFest on spirituality led to a lot of comments from young adults, that was the genesis of this post

One of my takeaways from having attended TribeFest last month is that many young adult Jewish communal professionals are really looking for something [that is not yet being offered to them] (when speaking about young adults, for the context of the organized Jewish community these days are 20s-30s (for some, it also includes early 40s)).  

Yes, they want to serve the Jewish community in a full-time capacity – perhaps they dedicate their lifework/career to working at it – and, many times, are not getting financially remunerated to what they should be for their talents and efforts.  In many cases (most?all?), they are also looking to grow and to stretch with their Jewish identities, as well as to wrestle with it.  Yet, how many opportunities are given to them to do so?  I think many young adult Jewish communal professionals (henceforth, YAJCPs) were attracted to TribeFest for a variety of reasons – perhaps for professional development, for professional networking, for a great time, sure – but also to struggle and to think and to be inspired in their own Jewish identities.  This became evident at one particular session in which several of the participants – who also happened to be YAJCPs – voiced their struggles and desires to be Jewishly enriched, while also working as a part of the organized Jewish community.

Lest one think that YAJCPs’ quest in their Jewish identity is a selfish reaason to come and to spend time on, one of the special aspects of TribeFest is the energy and inspiration to refuel one’s Jewish life.  This then feeds into one’s professional life and into the communities they are serving.  clearly, a worthwhile communal investment that should be returned manifold.

It would be great if such a thing were to come to reality.  However, such a national (or North American) event would most likely need to gradually build up and develop interest.  If such a conference were to be held, it would need to start small.  Maybe it could be a regional gathering, which expands each year.  Alternatively, it could be something that has multiple regional gatherings that build up to (and perhaps even continue into) a national/continental conference.

I don’t know either who/which organization would want to convene it (JFNA?) or, more importantly, who would want to fund it.  Who knows?  Maybe it could be a grassroots thing and get crowd-funding, perhaps through Jewcer.

Also, it will have to develop not only interest, but also buy-in from the YAJCP’s supervisors, since the money would come from their organizations (unless it is crowd-funded).

Of course, one question that inevitably pops up with such a huge endeavor as this is why expend the resources – be they mental, emotional, chronological, intellectual, financial, social, etc. – when there are other burning issues for the Jews, especially when it comes to money for young adults?  Maybe even having that money going into using these YAJCPs to tap into their peer networks, perhaps even those who are not that involved with the organized Jewish community.  But the most important reason is that YAJCPs are not only the future of the Jewish community, but they’re also very much involved in the present.  Furthermore, by energizing them and helping them become better Jews and Jewish communal professionals, they will be better at their current and future jobs, and the Jewish community will stand to benefit.  Moreover, the types of conversations and ideas that emerge will be incredibly fruitful, as the types of people who come will contribute to a great atmosphere.

Here are some further elements, ideas, etc.:

Who: 20s-30s working in Jewish organizations
When: Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday conference

Where: Big enough city that is easily reachable by all
What: Some Potential Topics:

  • dealing with older people {managing up. dealing with donors, etc.}
  • dating as a YAJCP
  • raising kids as a YAJCP
  • developing one’s jewish identity as a YAJCP
  • problems…
  • working as young people in a culture that is not thinking in current ways
  • getting our peers involved in the organized jewish community

Speaking at Moishe House of Orange County Last Night

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Speaking last night at the “Rabbi Battle” at the Moishe House of Orange County

Last night, I took part in a “Rabbi Battle” at Moishe House of Orange County.  In truth, it was less of a “battle” than a panel, of sorts (perhaps, a mini-panel, you might say), with the residents hurling a variety of questions at us that they had previously gathered from others, as well as their own.  Questions hit upon topics such as the afterlife, tattoos, intermarriage, and abortion.DSCN6910 - Copy

Having previously engaged in such a “Rabbi Battle”,  this was a familiar format.  While the nomenclature might suggest a fight, in reality, the rabbis involved are really simply representing their denominational outlooks on the matters and there really isn’t much of a competition these days (thus, the term, post-denominational nowadays).

I hope those attended got something out of it and, as this was my first event at Moishe House, OC, this year (I spoke there several times last year), I look forward to returning 🙂