29 October 2021
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where we go from here as a community, and I know I’m not alone. We’ve all seen how the pandemic accelerated earlier shifts in Jewish life. It also underscored that to foster a vibrant Jewish future we must co-create an accessible, engaging, and meaningful Jewish community today.
With that in mind, Federation and our partners at the Shalom Hartman Institute organized a series of conversations with 200 community stakeholders to ask and answer: what will a vibrant Jewish community look like post-pandemic? Together, we identified several themes to help lead our community forward.
These ideas will drive much of Federation’s work in the coming months and years.
- Everyone Wants to Belong: People want to be part of and help build a community that is responsive to who they are. They want to feel connected and part of an organization or group, the Jewish people the Greater Washington Jewish community, and the global Jewish people. This must be considered and addressed within the context of our increasing diversity as a community.
- Building Thick Ties: Our future success will be shaped by the depth of our relationships and connections with others. We have an opportunity before us to strengthen the ties that bind us to each other and a collective future.
- Empowering Ownership of Jewish Journeys: Individuals and families want the opportunity to learn and develop their personal capacity to shape their own Jewish paths. Access to the riches of Judaism provides the tools to own our Jewish journeys and make our own particular Jewish choices.
- Organizations Make a Difference: People depend on organizations that reflect and respond to their needs. We must support the organizations that see our community members through their Jewish journeys and life’s transitions.
- Leadership Matters: When we bolster the capacity of organizational leadership across the region—ensuring they are well-equipped and inspired to move our community forward—all of our community members benefit.
On their own, these concepts are important. When coupled with our understanding of how community members pursue Jewish life in different ways at different life stages, they become even more crucial.
Whether someone is transitioning from teen to adult, from parenthood to an empty nest, or from active senior to community elder, their identities and relationships change. We must be ready and able to support every community member through these transitions, and to keep them engaged, cared for, and connected all the while. At Federation, our focus will be to work with you and all of our local and national partners to strengthen our community by focusing on these key themes over the course of our lives.
As we build a vibrant Jewish future together, I welcome your thoughts and ideas on any or all of the themes above.