In Europe, A Trend Outside Jewish Walls

October 18, 2012

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Diego Ornique writes about a new popular new form of Jewish activity in Europe, situated beyond the confines of Jewish buildings, in public or alternative venues such as parks, museums and coffeehouses, the JCC without Walls phenomenon. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has been sponsoring these open community - wide events in Hungary and other European communities based on two assumptions.


First, Jews who feel disconnected from Jewish institutions can be attracted to alternative events, conducted outside organizational frameworks, which speak to their broader cultural interests.


Second, attractive and innovative venues, both private and public, in combination with the introduction of new technologies, can help revitalize Jewish programs.


The JCC without Walls events take on different forms in different locations. A rollicking Jewish street festival – with Jewish cultural and educational fare, Jewish books and ritual objects for sale, and music – bringing out unprecedented Jewish crowds in Budapest. In Krakow, Jewish buildings, synagogues and the JCC opened one night to offer text study with local Jewish intellectuals, arts activities and performances to the city’s Jews. A caravan of Jewish performers and artists traveling from city to city in the Balkans to celebrate Chanukah with café lectures, musical acts and Jewish study.


Today, JCC without Walls programs are complementing traditional and meaningful outlets like JCC activities or synagogue engagement to enrich Jewish life in Europe. This is a telling trend and an important reminder that we need to continue to meet Jews wherever they are and invite them to experience the full scope of our community.


Read the entire article on eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Dec. 03, 2012