9 thoughts on “YAO!

  1. But this time they’re on facebook. Facebook! That means they’re cool & get social networking that those 35-year-old young adults are using.
    On the actual grant announcement, it’s interesting that the past version specifically targeted communities that weren’t affiliated with the movement & required them to partner with an affiliated synagogue. Whether or not it inspired any new organizations to make such a connection (Pico Egal has been based in a Conservative synagogue for a very long time), it was still in the mindset that you need to be affiliated to be Conservative.
    The new version can be awarded solely to an affiliated synagogue or to an independent group that is deemed to contain “Conservative content” without having to partner with anyone. If this is a trend in the movement towards supporting good programs regardless of affiliation, it might be a sign that they’re actually thinking in a broader manner & should attract more interesting proposals. This looks like no-strings-attached money. I suspect the end result will be that most grants go to affiliated synagogues, but it’s still a good change in mindset.
    Now they just need to figure out work with people under the age of 35 without offending them. Perhaps finding someone who graduated college after 1985 to have a professional role in the effort might be a good place to start. Then again, where would someone under the age of 40 pick up sufficient experience for such a complex job? (I don’t know anything about the actual contact person & she might be great, but being willing to lead something called “Young Adult Outreach” isn’t a good sign)

  2. Lisa Alter Krule, who’s running it, was the regional director of CHUSY (the USY region centered in Chicago) and later the executive director of the USCJ region encompassing the same area. She’s great. But judging by what I’ve seen throughout this reorganization effort, I suspect she wasn’t necessarily given a whole lot of choices as to what her role would be if she wanted to remain in the employ of United Synagogue.

  3. I wish her the best and hope she’s given the resources to be an asset to the Jewish community in her new position regardless of her job title.

  4. Before this grant announcement, “Conservative Jewish Content” would be defined as something taking place at Conservative affiliated organizations. Given that Conservative services greatly vary on instrumentation, egalitarianism, and leadership style, probably the only real service consistency is being primarily in Hebrew. More broadly, I could see them continuing to draw a line on matrilineal descent, kashrut, & some level of Shabbat observance. Beyond that, they’ll probably be making it up as they go along. If unaffiliated groups take them up and apply for a grant, it will be interesting to see how they draw the new boundaries.

  5. Keep the discussion going! Dan – please suggest some names, other than YAO – I’d love to hear them! My title is my title, but I am open to new ideas, suggestions, etc. Vague is purposeful and let’s see what can be done… who knows?

  6. @Lisa,
    I’ll think about it and perhaps make a separate post here after the holidays. I think part of the naming problem is the vagueness of the mission. Jews in the 22-35 age range interact with every aspect of Jewish life including: prayer, participation in multi-age communities, child raising, personal education, educating their children, personal health issues, and death or illness of loved ones.
    Whatever you call it, if the only mission specification is an age range, there really isn’t a mission. Do you want to focus on connecting already engaged Jews to the Conservative movement or on increasing participation by less engaged Jews? Will “YAO” target families with young children? Is the focus on singles? Is the goal to bring more people into USCJ affiliated synagogues or to support “Conservative Jewish Content” whether or not the supported organizations give back to the movement?

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