This year, Congregation Rodef Sholom has been engaged in an innovative project called Nita. Rabbi Noa Kushner wants us to know all about it.
What is Nita?
Nita (Hebrew for “we will plant, we will grow”) aims to reach out to the unaffiliated Jewish community, focusing on generations x and y through high quality Jewish experience. Our aim is to produce invested and empowered Jews, ones who will use Jewish life to design and teach what being Jewish means for this and the next generation, in order to better the world. Nita is an incubator for new ideas in Jewish spiritual and communal life, and a project to develop and experiment with those ideas. The dynamic relationship of Rodef Sholom and Nita will serve in the continued transformation of Rodef Sholom, and demonstrate the congregation’s relevance and meaning to those in generations x and y who want to connect.
Perhaps we say this simplest on our Nita website: “Nita is a doorway for people who want to do something Jewish in an unintimidating way. We get together to ask, practice, and really, just try stuff out.”
What does Nita do?
Most of Nita’s events focus on an experience of Shabbat. For next year, we plan to continue hosting havdallah house parties in people’s homes, and going on Marin hikes on Shabbat afternoons.
On 2nd Fridays (through June this year and then starting again in October) we host a Shabbat service and a moveable feast, often at the Mill Valley Community Center.
On on 3rd Saturdays (starting in October), we will begin a Shabbat morning storahtelling experience (storytelling + Torah reading + theater), location TBA.
Finally, Nita is a resource for people who are looking for someone to answer their Jewish questions or provide the tools necessary for them to do Jewish by themselves or with friends. In this vein, we help create many one on one conversations, house parties, and informal group learning opportunities.
Who is Nita for?
Nita is primarily created for people in generations x and y who are not connected to a Jewish institution. If you think you know of someone who you think might like Nita, please feel free to direct them to our website, facebook page or twitter account. If they are interested, Rabbi Noa has many low key coffees with people who are thinking of connecting to doing something Jewish. She can be easily reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rodef Sholom members are welcome to participate in Nita’s activities as guests.
How will this project change Rabbi Noa’s role at Rodef Sholom?
Rabbi Noa will continue to teach Gesher 7th on Shabbat mornings and teach on Tuesdays for Rodef Sholom. However, her new role will be primarily focused on Nita and its development. Part of this work will be bringing the ideas and energy from Nita to Rodef Sholom, so watch for her in this capacity as well!
How did Nita get started?
In spring 2009, Rodef Sholom applied and received a one-year grant from Synagogue 3000 in order to create opportunities for unconnected Jews through the creation of Nita. Rodef Sholom was one of only five places that received this grant and is a part of the Next Dor Network.
Who is paying for this?
We are funded through grants and gifts of all sizes from organizations and people committed to Jewish innovation. We are extremely proud to have the support of Synagogue 3000 and The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. Several Rodef Sholom congregants and non-congregants have also committed to Nita through their leadership gifts. Finally, we ask that participants of Nita make contributions towards our operating budget.
Why did Rodef Sholom create this project?
Congregation Rodef Sholom is an innovative and cutting edge institution, one that consistently explores new opportunities to serve the community as well as to explore those possibilities for its’ own growth. Synagogue 3000 gave Rodef Sholom an opportunity to achieve both these goals with its Next Dor grant. The grant has allowed Congregation Rodef Sholom to fulfill its’ goals of reaching out to the unaffiliated Jewish community, focusing on generations x, y, and millenials. Since its inception this fall, Nita has reached over 300 people, people who would not otherwise have found a connection to Jewish life.
By working to understand this demographic, and by developing our relationships with the individuals within it, Rodef Sholom has significant opportunities to grow and transform. Not only will Rodef Sholom ultimately grow in relation to the amount and diversity of its’ members, it will grow by means of the new ideas and approaches that these people will invariably bring to our larger, ever evolving community. In short, Nita will be a key ingredient in the transformation of our congregation into its next vibrant incarnation.