PresenTense Cleveland Fellow Initiates Traditional-Egalitarian Minyan

August 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Jenny Kaufman, PresenTense Fellowship 2010 | Leave a comment
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Jenny Kaufman, Founder of Cleveland Young Professionals' MinyanJenny Kaufman brings the young zest for Judaism to Cleveland area

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – July 13, 2010 – The medieval Jewish sages strongly emphasized the relationship between community and meaningful religious experience. For Jenny Kaufman,  a Cleveland Fellow participating in PresenTense as part of the PresenTense Jewish Federation of Cleveland Fellowship Program, Cleveland’s young community lacks both. Kaufman is bridging the social-religious divide with the Cleveland Young Professionals’ Minyan (CYPminyan), an independent traditional-egalitarian minyan for 20- and 30-somethings in the Cleveland area. Spirit and passion imbue the volunteer-led minyan to bring the young zest for Judaism back into Cleveland.

After experiencing the vibrant Los Angeles Jewish community while pursuing a degree there, Kaufman returned to Cleveland unable to find a community that really spoke to her passions. Memories of home-cooked Shabbat dinners, passionate singing, and afternoon talks in the park seemed distant.

Far from alone in today’s modern Jewish world, Jenny says, “I like activities that connect me to Judaism, but it’s hard when people are apathetic or unsure of what’s going on.”

Part of what fuels the distance of young Jewish adults today, Kaufman believes, is the pervasive idea that Judaism must be “your parent’s Judaism” and “sitting through long, tedious services.” Au contraire, she says, “Judaism can be fun.”

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