NEW YORK, NY -- December 3, 2012 --NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation is expanding its role as igniter of systemic change in the Jewish young adult engagement field with two new regional Convenings in the Midwest and West Coast. As part of the NEXTwork, its newly-created national network of “engagers,” NEXT will host more than 50 professionals in San Francisco on December 10, and Cincinnati on December 16.
After significant strategic planning and a scan of the young engagement landscape, NEXT moved to address what it identified as an unfulfilled need: investment in professionals on the frontlines of direct outreach with Birthright Israel alumni and their peers. NEXT has already convened more than 100 engagers in three gatherings in cities across the country to develop this new community of practice. NEXT’s role as a community-wide, pluralistic and national organization makes it uniquely positioned to bring together engagers from across emerging and mainstream organizations, of all denominations.
“We see engagers as our community’s most valuable tool. They can excite, inspire and involve the Birthright Israel generation in Jewish life, and it is our mission to elevate this field, which is too often under-resourced,” said Morlie Levin, CEO of NEXT. “Based on expertise gleaned from our continued work with alumni, we are developing an initiative that helps NEXTwork members, a diverse group ranging from entrepreneurial projects to traditional institutions, better understand and meet the varied needs of young adults.”
NEXT recognizes that engagers often lack professional development and ongoing peer-networking opportunities, which can lead to high burn-out and turnover rates. As a critical link between the Birthright Israel generation and Jewish life, NEXT is working to ensure engagement professionals are properly networked and have access to essential resources. In addition to these in-person workshops to develop practical skills, NEXTwork members receive personal consultation, insights based on NEXT’s prior programmatic experience, and city-specific data analysis on Birthright Israel alumni.
Upcoming NEXTwork Convenings
The December 10 “Bay Area and Pacific Northwest NEXTwork Convening” will bring together professionals from the Bay Area and Seattle to explore the role of storytelling in their work. Break-out sessions and working groups led by NEXT staff will address how engagers can effectively draw on personal, historical and community narratives to reach key audiences: young adults, stakeholders and the media.
The December 16 Cincinnati Convening, “Adopting a Mindset of Abundance,” will bring together professionals from across the Midwest to focus on how to overcome perceived lack of resources in order to better engage young adults and build vibrant Jewish communities. In addition to communal professionals from Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Louisville, attendees will include Moishe House residents who plan events for their peers. A pre-convening social experience providing participants a chance to meet each other before getting down to business offers additional networking opportunities.
For more information or to apply to join the NEXTwork, please contact Managing Director Liz Fisher at Liz.Fisher@birthrightisraelnext.org.
NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation connects Birthright trip alumni and their peers with meaningful Jewish living and learning opportunities nationally, locally and in Israel. We also work to create a Jewish community that is ready to receive alumni, who possess diverse needs, interests and inclinations. By investing in and convening those who work with young Jewish adults, as well as offering resources and thought-leadership, we catalyze growth and stimulate opportunities for engagement. www.birthrightisraelnext.org