Many young adults face very real challenges in participating in meaningful, affordable services around the the High Holidays, especially if they just moved to a new city or aren’t a member of a synagogue.
Some worry that young Jews are walking away from synagogues, but Birthright Israel NEXT sees a very different world. Based on a recent survey of New York-based Birthright Israel alumni, more than 80% of respondents said they were interested in some form of High Holiday programming.
In response to this need, Birthright Israel NEXT has launched a unique online resource guide featuring an interactive map of free and discounted High Holiday services and events around the country. More than 200 opportunities from 20 U.S. cities are represented. NEXT is the only organization collecting and distributing this information on a national scale.
“The High Holidays Resource Guide is only the beginning for NEXT,” said Morlie Levin, CEO of NEXT. “Our goal is to provide Birthright alumni with the resources needed to take ownership of their own Jewish lives year-round.”
To enable Birthright alumni to celebrate holidays year-round, NEXT is launching an Interactive Jewish Calendar, which features a concierge-style resource guide for each major Jewish holiday.
With Sukkot, for instance, NEXT is offering 150 grants for Birthright Israel alumni to build a Sukkah or host a Sukkot meal. The available grants filled up in two hours, and more than 150 people are already on a waiting list. Due to the overwhelming demand, NEXT is looking to double that allotment. Of the grantees, 38% signed up to build a Sukkah – suggesting a real demand for more opportunities to take ownership over all kinds of Jewish celebrations.
images courtesy Birthright Israel NEXT