Sarah is currently studying in a teacher training program in Be'er Sheva, Israel. She is passionate about education and trying to enhance the culture of communal Jewish learning in the periphery of Israel as a means of enriching people's spiritual, intellectual and communal life.
Sarah's idea to bring her local community together in exploring and celebrating the Jewish concept of time was chosen to receive a #MakeItHappen micro grant! #MakeItHappen asked young Jews from around the world to submit ideas for what they would do to create a meaningful experience in their Jewish communities. With the support of several community partners, more than 150 ideas were selected to receive a $1k or $5k micro grant to help them go from dream to reality!
Describe your #MakeItHappen project idea and how it came to life.
Our project was designed in order to help bring young Jewish culture to the community of Be'er Sheva. Jewish life in the periphery of Israel is mainly comprised of older and more conservative synagogues. Many youngsters in Be'er Sheva want to be part of a young and social circle of Jewish culture, but don't have a community with which to do that. We wanted to create a forum of dynamic Jewish culture so we designed an evening of study and music. The main theme of the evening was the concept of Jewish time.
What was your favorite moment from your #MakeItHappen event?
Our favorite moment was during Persian-Jewish musician Moreen Nehedar's performance, when the audience started singing along with her. Even a grandmother who came to see the performance got up and started singing along. She later explained that this was the song her mother used to sing her to sleep with, and that through that song she could connect to her own personal feeling of time; that song managed to bridge the gap.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in putting your idea into action and how did you overcome this?
Our biggest challenge was publicity. We had a a small budget, so we couldn't get to ALL of the Be'er Sheva community, but we manged to push the word out through the internet and printed advertisements in schools and public spaces.
If you could plan a follow up event, what would it look like and why?
It would be another study and cultural session, since we saw that people were really eager for a framework to study in a less formal and less conservative environment. Ideally, we would do a study session along with an improvisation performance around the time of Pesach discussing the idea of freedom.
What does your future hold?
I established and now run a pluralistic, community-based Beit Midrash in Be'er Sheva, the first of its kind. I feel very strongly about creating a young, thriving and active Jewish culture in the periphery of Israel. I am also studying to be a geography and Jewish studies teacher for the high school level. I plan to continue being active in both the formal and informal education system.
If you could have invited anyone from history to your event, who would it have been and why?
I would have invited Moses so that we could hear his thoughts about how we understand the tradition he helped pass down to us.
If you could invent a new Jewish holiday, what would it celebrate and when would it occur?
I would invent a holiday celebrating the fact that we are all "different but equal", it would take place on the Sabbath throughout Jewish communities around the world.
Read more about Sarah's #MakeItHappen project here.
The Schusterman Family Foundation is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.