New Havurah Initiative

I received a phone call from Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). “Rob, we are piloting a new program and Harold suggested that I give you a call.”

“Amazing, sign us up,” I replied.

“Don’t you want to know about the program first?”

“If Harold wants to work with us, we’re in. I don’t care what the program is.”

Harold Grinspoon is the brilliant nonagenarian philanthropist behind such innovatively game-changing programs as PJ Library and Life & Legacy. He is so incredibly unique in how he sees challenges and creates (and funds) solutions that revolutionize the Jewish world, that I would not dare miss an opportunity to bring a new idea of his to our community, especially if he is the one who asked to work with us. So, I introduce Northeastern New York to the new HGF Havurah Initiative. On its website, HGF defines a havurah as “an ongoing, intimate, peer-led group that shares and explores a Jewish focus.” HGF wants to help us create and foster ten new havurot this coming year, with a minimum of seven people per havurah and meeting at least nine times during the year, with a goal of creating and fostering close relationships grounded with a Jewish focus. In HGF style, HGF will pay a stipend to each havurah “connector” as well as a stipend to cover program expenses and materials for each havurah.

On January 3, we will open a competitive application process on our website and explain the program and expectations in more detail. For now, please take a look at the page on HGF’s website and start thinking about participating. (Note that this page is theirs and not ours, so some of the details might be a little different, and you should not hit the “apply here” button on their page. The page also lists dozens of havurot formed in their community for reference.) Please call me with ideas or for more information.

Applications will be due by January 31. We will choose our favorite ten based on our goal of creating sustainable Jewish connections.

Thank you again Harold for thinking of us.

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