Welcome and Be Welcomed IRL (In Real Life)
Shalom all —
Thank you all for responding to our Wexner Hospitality app survey! We had 137 respondents, both North American and Israeli. We are listening. Our Wexner Summit working group has been hard at work this summer exploring options for powering our vision to build an online platform for North American and Israeli Wexner alumni (and others) to connect IRL (“in real life”) when we are traveling in each other’s home countries. Utilizing our own brand of “Jewish geography,” one of our team members, Michelle Fisher, WGF Alum (Class 10), connected us with Eliza Slavet, founder and developer of an exciting new website, GRAPEJUICE.buzz whose goal is to connect Jews for Shabbat and other festive occasions (even a simple mid-week coffee-date!).
Through conversations with Eliza, we learned that she founded GRAPEJUICE to address challenges that she experienced herself as a wandering Jew: in each place she has lived, she has tried to find Jewish community, especially for the High Holidays. She realized that there were many others who were also seeking an extended Jewish family with whom to celebrate. Throughout history, we have wandered and welcomed each other, building community wherever we go. Like JDate, Uber and AirBnb, GRAPEJUICE helps us find what we need, when and where we want it — a Shabbat dinner, a Passover seder, a Yom Kippur break-fast and, most importantly, people with whom to celebrate. Let all who are hungry come and eat — this app empowers us in the Wexner network to welcome and be welcomed wherever we are geographically, demographically, spiritually or Jewishly. We can also tell our wandering 20-something children to use it and, who knows, maybe they will meet their “ben or bat Wexner” at their next holiday meal. We’re reviving hachnasat orchim and facilitating tikkun olam, one small act of hospitality at a time.
How do we make this work for Wexner Alumni?
As Wexner Alumni, we want to connect with each other and our extended Jewish family, whether in the US, Canada, Israel or elsewhere. During the month of Elul and the Chagim, let’s use GRAPEJUICE.buzz to find each other when we are traveling (or at home). In the beginning, we need both hosts and guests (just as Uber needs drivers and riders). In the coming months, our working group members will host events in the US and in Israel. Wexner Alumni — both North American and Israeli, both Jewish and Arab — we welcome you to join us in this exciting movement.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Sign up at http://grapejuice.buzz
- Complete your profile, including your city or zip code. You’ll see a section that allows you to name your “communities” — be sure to list The Wexner Foundation, 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 1700, New York, NY 10165, USA so we can find each other!
- Create an event, call it “WEXNER Shabbat” (or “Break-the-fast” or “Dinner in the Sukkah” or “coffee on Tuesday” whatever you wish!)
- You can select Kosher, Vegetarian, Potluck and/or Allergies and explain the details in the description section.
Be sure to select “OPEN” (as opposed to PRIVATE or PUBLIC) so our community can find each other. GRAPEJUICE does not reveal your address unless you approve the guest. In the unlikely event that someone whom you don’t yet know RSVPs, you can communicate via the internal messaging system before deciding whether you have room for one more guest.
Invite your friends and Wexner community members: ask them to sign up at http://grapejuice.buzz and RSVP through the site.
- Alternatively, if you aren’t up for hosting a gathering yourself, ask a friend to host and you can be the guest. Browse the site to find events or people wherever you go.
In order to make this work, we have to “Just do it!” Please share this project with all of your own Wexner Alumni community members!
Most importantly, enjoy the process and share your feedback with us. We need to hear from you about what worked, what was challenging, what you hope to see in the future and what you wish it could be. Technical questions can be sent to the Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can reach out to me at email@example.com or Eliza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Elul begins and we start the process of teshuva (repentance), we can look back at how our vision began, turn it around in our heads and look forward to building it into a reality. Over time, we will be “stronger together.”
To ask any questions or find out more information from this group,
please use our database to find the group members’ email addresses.
Laura Cutler, WHP Alum (Washington DC 03)
Michelle Fisher, WGF Alum (Class 10)
Eliot Goldstein, WGF Alum (Class 18)
Andrea Haas, WIF Alum (Class 21)
Lisa Lisser, WHP Alum (MetroWest, NJ 08)
Ayala Parag, WIF Alum (Class 5)
Orli Rinat, WHP Alum (Palo Alto 03)