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Dispatches from the network and updates from the Foundation.

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Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars Program


Caught off guard, and not sure that as a 24-year-old graduate student I was in a position to opine authoritatively about the Jewish future, I tossed out the first coherent thought I could generate: “I think the Jewish community of the future will be smaller and also more intensely Jewish.”

It can be comforting to hear that what we feel is timeless, a universal and inevitable aspect of the human experience. Sometimes, a quiet moment with a line of ancient poetry or prayer can be just the salve.

Our tradition requires us to honor loss, to share loss, to memorialize loss, to let suffering speak and to build rituals around loss. And, at the right moment, to find hope despite loss, and even to find hope in loss.

We need to get more honest about what we are going through to normalize sitting with brokenness.

Staying committed as allies to reflection and “an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating,” will hopefully lead us to taking more smart risks and experimentation over the coming year, and the years ahead.

I belong to many Jewish communities, so it is hard to generalize about the positive changes I have seen in racial representation over this past year. Nevertheless, I see progress that has been made.

Even within our own communities, we can flatten and simplify other people’s experiences and narratives without considering the complexity and diversity among us.

Professional growth can be uncomfortable because in order to grow as a working person in the world, you sometimes need to replace old inner-defining stories with new ones that expand who you can be.

Being a great mentee starts with the premise that with enough reflection and remaining true to ourselves, which is far more easily said than done, we each will be able to locate ourselves in this world.

It’s hard to believe that it has now been over a year since we had to temporarily close the doors to the Jewish Studio Project’s colorful, light-filled community studio in West Berkeley and, like everyone else, transition our entire organization to virtual.