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An Update on i*Express

As we make our way in i*Express, our current transformation project, we’ve enjoyed sitting with religious school parents, from preK to 7th grade. And, we’ve found it so inspiring to explore their hopes and dreams for their children and themselves. We’ve all come to this conversation with a sense of responsibility “to make conscious and deliberate choices rooted in our values and authenticity.” (from an i*Express study text written by Rabbi & Mrs. Nevarez).

Our team--which consists of our Director of Jewish Learning & Engagement Tani Prell Epstein, three volunteers-Devorah Heyman, Erin Copland, and Myriam Kasper, and me, together with our coach Joy Wasserman--has been busy at work processing the information we gathered in our Hopes & Dreams visits.

We adjusted our priority goal, our North Star, to the following aim: To strengthen Jewish identity through Jewish learning, living, and community-building. And, we also captured recurring themes from our three conversations. One theme reflects the desire for kids and adults to feel more a part of the Emanuel community through intentional, inclusive, and connected ways. We hope to work towards the greater fulfillment of this dream going forward with creative experimentation. Details will follow.

We also discussed other dreams, which I’d like to list here:

● A more applied Judaism via service learning opportunities for all ages that take place outside of the synagogue

● An alternative option to on-site learning on Tuesday evenings

● More Jewish experiences as family both inside and outside of our classrooms

● Continued development of positive Jewish identity and mentschlikeit (defined here as "kindness")

● And ongoing opportunities to have Jewish experiences, and develop the confidence that results from the competence shaped by these efforts.

I am proud of our change team and our progress thus far. It has been good to interact with our fellow congregants and learn about their hopes and dreams. The fact that we can serve each other as co-architects of our transformative work bodes well for a bright future ahead. If you are interested in helping with other change processes, please check in. There are others that require your presence and effort. I look forward to welcoming you.

Stay warm and safe! Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!

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