Thursday, July 9, 2009

Next Dor Brainstorming: When it rains...

Thursday night, a group of Jewish young adults got together to discuss the future of Next Dor, the space that, when fully renovated, hopes to become the center of the Jewish young adult community, geographically and culturally.

There was discussion, debate, and some great points made around the areas of security, access, membership, and kashrut. Read on to find out more!

The turnout included professionals in the young adult community as well as lay leaders and those totally uninvolved. There were young professionals, artists, and grad-students, religious and cultural Jews alike.

As you might imagine, it make for some lively conversations. After introducing the project, those involved with Next Dor since its inception brought up some of the stickier topics and dove right in. While the meeting was more about getting ideas than making decisions, there were some directions that started to emerge.

Security: The conversation revolved around how to ensure that the space stays accessible for individuals as well as groups, while limiting the number of people who have full access to the space. A consensus was found that, given 2 residents of the space, and a large number of involved people, it would be better to force individuals to knock or be buzzed in, as opposed to giving out a large number of swipe cards or keys.

The Jewish Question: No Jewish organization can work with Jews until it defines who is a Jew. After a really great discussion in which Wonder-Woman, Maya Escobar, passionately exclaimed, "I'm done with this project if we decide that non-Jews aren't allowed in this space," a really progressive approach was decided upon: The space itself will be Jewish, and so long as the events taking place there are not non-Jewish religious events, Next Dor will err on the side of openness.

Kashrut: Interestingly enough, this was probably the most contentious of the discussion areas. Because Next Dor is committed to be a non-denomenational space, we want to be able to accommodate everyone. There are two ways the approach this, the first is to embrace the strictest Kashrut standards, ensuring than any no one would ever be unable to eat the food prepared at Next Dor.

The other approach is to acknowledge that most Jews in St. Louis keep a much milder form of kashrut and that pot-lucks would be all but impossible to hold at Next Dor if we required only kosher food in the house.

As a potential resident of Next Dor, I can say that living fully kosher would pose a challenge, but would not be insurmountable.

One possible solution is to design the kitchen to accommodate both a kosher and non-kosher set of plates, cookware, etc. We certainly welcome any suggestions.

But the meeting wasn't all tough discussions, we also got a great list of new people and skills to add to our talent pool.

We will be creating a GoogleSite where anyone can see our business proposal, the initial proposal that started it all, as well as some other goodies. If you want access to that, please email

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