Is the L.A. Federation Becoming Hip?


Can millions of dollars power a new kind of community?

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angles – historically unhip and not so youthful – is setting its sights on investing millions of dollars in centers of innovation … in hopes of generating hubs for a new kind of Jewish activity across the region, one that will appeal to Gens X, Y and Next. To that end, Federation is also negotiating a partnership with the midcity spiritual community IKAR, and in the late summer or fall plans to invite synagogues and cultural institutions throughout the region to seed other programs. Federation leaders envision a network of as many as a dozen Federation-linked hubs that would blanket Los Angeles with vibrant Jewish innovation. Federation has hired Rabbi Alyson Solomon as vice president of special projects to oversee the initiative.

The goal is to help revivify Jewish life for a generation of Jews many had already written off as too independent, too multifaceted, too current to care much about being involved with Jewish institutions.

“One assumption that we made about this generation was that they were do-it-yourselfers, and they didn’t want to be in the community, they wanted to do things on their own, on their iPads, in their living rooms,” Jay Sanderson, president and CEO of The Federation said in a recent interview. “But the truth is, we’re seeing a resurgence of a desire to be in the Jewish community, and an interest in things in and around Jewish space.”

… While the details change every day, the goal is taking shape.