Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Update from the Next Dor Front Lines

Last night, a group of community leaders including Rabbis, representatives of Jewish Federation, Nishmah, Hillel, Gesher City, the Jewish Community Center, and notable others gathered in a multi-purpose room at the new JCC to talk about Next Dor.

While it might have felt at times like stump the chump, even the most pointed questions were asked from a level of interest.

Representatives of YPD asked if Next Dor would produce its own programming (we'll try to avoid that), and whether it would push existing organizations to increase their own offerings (we'll encourage but not push it).

There were questions from other leaders about how we plan to attract new people to Next Dor, as well as if we are going to target people from St. Louis who may be elsewhere in an attempt to bring them back.

I mostly found myself facing these questions alone, as the vast majority of our committee was unable to attend. As someone not from St. Louis, some of the questions were things I hadn't thought about, but that fit well into our vision.

Another question asked about the need for something like Next Dor. The train of thought went something like this, "we have research showing that Jewish 20's and 30's want to be met where they are, which is why we do events at bars. You want to create a central space in which people come together, which seems to run counter to this.."

It's a interesting point but there are models (places like 6th and I in DC, the 92nd Street Y in NYC, etc.) that have been proven to attract people.

When the question of models for this type of organization came up, a representative of Gesher City asked about the other Next Dor, a program of Sacramento's Federation. While its demographic target and approach are similar, it doesn't revolve around a central gathering place.

While we hope that a lot of questions were answered, we know even more were raised.

If you want to be involved in the next round of discussions, or know someone who might be, feel free to email thestloujew@gmail.com and we'll be sure to make sure your voice is heard.

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