Awhile back, I was introduced to a really great online resource for Jews by choice aptly named JewsByChoice.org. It was certainly a great website and I imagine a good resource for those who encountered it. For one reason or another the project was put on hold, now it’s back and better than ever.
Incorporating aspects of community blogs and social networking, JewsByChoice.org is an incredibly useful and dynamic website which provides a space for an online community dedicated to Jews by choice to network and share experiences, in addition to providing a vibrant potential for online learning and the sharing of knowledge and information. Regular visitors and contributors to the site come from a very large spectrum of Jewish observance and familiarity.
The website intends to target a trans-denominational audience, and while it is also intended for those in our community who are Jews by choice, it also has an active, and can only assume passive, readership from those of us who are Jews by birth.
In its own words…
JewsByChoice.org is a Trans-denominational grassroots, peer run, blog and online resource, providing Jews by choice (as well as other interested parties) with opportunities for exploring, discussing and engaging with Jewish Identity, Tradition, Culture and Religious Observance.
Our core mission activities include:
Technology: Harnessing the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies in order to provide Jews by choice with improved online opportunities for: social networking, community building and learning; as a means of facilitating greater Jewish literacy and engagement.
Discussion: Providing a forum for dialogue and discussion where Jews by choice from across the denominational spectrum can (respectfully) discuss and exchange ideas with one another on a variety of Jewish topics.
Engagement: Creating opportunities for Jews by choice to deepen their understanding, connection and commitment to Jewish religion, culture and community.
Advocacy: Empowering Jews by choice to better identify and address issues which act as barriers to their engagement and integration into Jewish life and Community.
In my opinion, the most productive way to encourage inclusiveness and acceptance on a genuine and integral level for all denominations and flavors of Jewish lifestyle, belief, practice, observance and thought involves striving to understand the perspectives and experiences of individual people who walk in all of these different forms of Jewish identity. The type of online community which JewsByChoice.org is creating provides the opportunity for people to connect as individuals and share information and knowledge by utilizing technology and relying upon the motivation of any person who chooses to join the community for their contribution.
I highly recommend jumping over to the site, registering with them and surfing around, start a blog, join some groups and share your thoughts. It’s really a fabulous resource that I hope continues to be utilized and continues to grow.