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Learn more about the first Jewish Intentional Communities Conference on December 1-4, 2016, at http://www.hazon.org/jicc.
[/icon-box]How do your experiences, plans, and dreams fit into the world of Jewish Intentional Community? The world of Jewish Intentional Community encompasses independent havurot, long-term residential communities, kibbutzim and moshavim, short-term social justice houses, and much more. For the fourth year, representatives from diverse Jewish community structures worldwide will come together to celebrate community and learn from one another at the Jewish Intentional Communities Conference.
In a time when both secular community structures and Jewish life in the US are in flux, Jewish intentional communities provide a pathway for meaningful Jewish engagement. “Underneath the radar of organized Jewish life, new experiments in Jewish community and Jewish living are starting to flourish, all over the country,” said Nigel Savage, CEO of Hazon. “This conference is a unique opportunity for people to come together to learn from each other and to be inspired by each other.”
“When individuals immerse themselves in meaningful experiences with peers, the impact they feel is often very deep and long-lasting.” – Liz Fisher, Repair the World
[/pullquote]In Israel, children grow up in community-centric youth groups. These early experiences of community provide a pathway to joining the thriving intentional community movement in Israel as adults, including living in kibbutzim and moshavim. In the US, though there are both short-term communities for young people and stable, long-term communities, the two are rarely linked.
This year, the conference will highlight the contributions of short-term intentional communities – fellowships, gap-year programs, and residential activist immersions. “Leaders, educators, and residents in short-term communities will share insights from their years of experience in community building,” said Meredith Levick, Associate Director of Education at Hazon and the conference’s lead organizer. “We’ll explore how lessons learned from those sessions can build the bridge to the long-term Jewish intentional communities we envision in years to come.” At the conference, alumni and current residents of short-term communities will meet and learn with long-term community builders and residents, establishing a pipeline for the future of vibrant Jewish communal life.
Representatives from six short-term intentional community models (Moishe House, Avodah, Repair the World, Habonim Dror, Adamah, Pearlstone Center, Teva, and Yahel) will share best practices learned from years of community building. Featured speaks include Liz Fisher, Chief Operating Officer of Repair the World; Cheryl Cook, Executive Director of Avodah; Yasaf Warshai, National Mazkir of Habonim Dror, and David Cygielman, Moishe House Founder and Chief Executive Officer, among others.
“Since Avodah’s founding 18 years ago, we have been committed to developing Jewish intentional communities.” — Cheryl Cook, Avodah
[/pullquote]”When individuals immerse themselves in meaningful experiences with peers, the impact they feel is often very deep and long-lasting,” says Liz Fisher. “We especially see that providing space for reflection and ongoing learning are major factors in creating a strong sense of purpose and community. I am excited to share some of our models with others at the conference.”
“Since Avodah’s founding 18 years ago, we have been committed to developing Jewish intentional communities as a way to further strengthen our work in the field and the impact of our service programs,” added Cheryl Cook, Executive Director of Avodah.
Hazon, a national leader in the realm of Jewish sustainability, is hosting the conference as part of its larger Jewish Intentional Communities Initiative. This initiative provides support and mentorship to burgeoning Jewish intentional communities in the US, the UK, and Israel, and brings these geographically dispersed Jewish populations into conversation with one another.
“This gathering is a unique chance for us to learn best practices in the immersive communities that are helping to shape our Jewish community.” — David Cygielman, Moishe House
[/pullquote]To culminate the conference, participants will explore how lessons learned from temporary communities can lead to long-term “life experiences.” The tools and perspectives that emerge from these explorations will contribute to a participatory full-conference workshop to map the ecosystem of intentional community models – opening real possibilities of a diverse spectrum of Jewish intentional communities where we can put down roots and raise up families.
“This gathering is a unique chance for us to learn best practices in the immersive communities that are helping to shape our Jewish community,” said David Cygielman. “At Moishe House, Jewish young adults lead their own peer-led communities around the world. If we can learn from each other, we can advance our mission even further and assist many more leaders in the process.”
The Jewish Intentional Communities Conference will take place at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT from December 1-4, 2016. The conference is co-sponsored by Moishe House, Avodah, Repair the World, Habonim Dror, Adamah, Pearlstone Center, Teva, and Yahel. For more information and to register, visit hazon.org/jicc or contact [email protected].