On Sunday at 5:00 PM, approximately 290 local Jews gathered together at the North Hall of Eastern Market to sample beer, wine, cheese, and 16 different Jewish organizations. Pictures, courtesy of GTJ’s Aaron Wolff, can be found on Facebook.
Joe Brophy is an Avodah participant in Washington, DC.
You could feel Jewnity pulsing before you even heard the music.
This past Sunday afternoon, Eastern Market’s main hall was briefly transformed into a bustling shuk for Jewish organizations, a bazaar where those interested in Jewish connections could discover more about a diverse spread of Jewish organizations. It was all there — from volunteering with the elderly to Israel activism, West Virginia service retreats to JCC young adult events. The second annual event brought Jews from all sides of the spectrum together with organizations looking to serve them, and made connections that will extend well beyond additional e-mail addresses on a listserv.
“It’s been a success!” exclaimed Sarah A. of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, one of the event’s organizers, who continued by stating that the event definitely “met our goal in terms of attendance!” She explained that the new venue’s larger space allowed Jewnity to provide a diversity and depth in Jewish community that many had not previously experienced. Attendees were met with ten drink and food tickets, a raffle ticket, and a tote bag to use as they sampled beer, wine, and cheeses, and munched on free bags of PopChips.
The 16 amazing Jewish organizations, schmoozing, drinks and snacks, and GTJ’s Stephen Richer’s legendary dance moves (editor’s note: “legendary” can be a pejorative) were all definite highlights for many attendees. Though for one person in particular that I spoke with, Jewnity was a perfect next step in discovering the DC Jewish scene:
Steven G. is a civil engineer and moved just three days ago to the DC area from southern Virginia. After going on Birthright last year, he knew that he wanted to further explore the Jewish community — and what better place than in an active community like DC? Jewnity made it “a lot easier to get connected” and made him want to “get more involved.”
And Steven was definitely not the only one that felt that Jewnity provided him with the tools to become more engaged. The relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere helped young Jewish adults new to the area (as well as those that have been around a while) find a common ground with whichever Jewish organization spoke to their passions.
Overall, the second annual Jewnity was a great success. The crowded and energetic room allowed people to ”mingle and get to know each other,” explained David G. (Sixth and I), another one of the organizers. Another David once wrote something similar – “Hineh mah tov u’mah nayim” – “How good and beautiful it is, when brothers dwell together.” I don’t think that anyone in the room would have disagreed.
The 16 sponsoring organizations:
- AJC Washington/ACCESS DC
- B’nai B’rith International
- DCJCC – EntryPointDC
- Embassy of Israel
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
- Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
- The Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA)
- Jews United for Justice
- J Street DC Metro
- NOVA Tribe Series
- Sixth & I
- Washington Hebrew’s 2239
- Young Professionals @ Adas Israel