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How Aviv’s Dynamic Community is Redefining Jewish Life for 20s & 30s

The heart of Aviv (20s & 30s) is to speak the Torah of our moment: What does it mean to be a young adult in New York—trying to figure out what your life should look like career-, family-, and community-wise—and how do we get there? We use these questions to build community, working to forge connections with like-minded individuals and foster a welcoming environment where spirituality intertwines with contemporary life. In the fall of 2023, we expanded our programs, exploring new ways to bring people together and finding innovative ways to guide young adults to incorporate Judaism more deeply into their daily lives. And as we spend more time together, our connections extend beyond the walls of BJ.

The Aviv High Holy Days services were a natural extension of what BJ does best. With our special Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and meals, we curated an elevated experience that addressed the hopes and challenges of Aviv folks. From the efforts of the Aviv Engagement Team (who served as greeters and ushers) to the thought-provoking sermons on and kavanot (intentions) by our spiritual leaders, to the explosive and joyful dance party wrapping up morning services, the High Holy Days deeply resonated with our community. Over 400 people joined us throughout our holiday experiences, and they gave their energy, voices, and passion for building their Jewish life as a young adult. Our goal was to cater to various levels of observance, encouraging introspection, dialogue, and an accessible—and fun!—atmosphere, and we’re honored that we were able surpass our expectations.

One community member, Arielle Lipsky, said, “I want to express my deep gratitude for making this Yom Kippur the most meaningful one I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “I not only felt connected, but I felt heard, seen, and appreciated.”

As the year continued, we’ve continued the momentum from the High Holy Days with a monthly Kabbalat Shabbat Service and dinner. For our first time trying the brand-new service with dinner, we sold out a week in advance with 120 people! It became clear to us that our community is desperately seeking to pray and sing with us, and our Shabbat experience has only grown since January. Complete with a davening team of musicians and lay singers, Jewish music from the newest songwriters, and a high-energy service, our Shabbat services and dinners are truly magical evenings. Our community is growing, and we’re excited to see the passion around prayer, music, and spirituality…core elements of what BJ is.

In addition to these Shabbatot, we’ve seen a Broadway show together (with an incredible talk-back with Jewish, young cast members), dialogue and wrestled with how to navigate these challenging times for Jews, and partnered with organizations like Base Upper West Side, Minyan Marom, Israel Policy Forum, Reshet Ramah, and Moishe House UWS.  As we look ahead to what’s coming next, we are focused on expanding our offerings to continue building a strong, connected, vibrant 20s + 30s community at BJ. As we broke bread together at a recent Shabbat dinner, with a buzz of joy, connection and energy emanating through the room, I realized: Aviv is the Torah of our moment. We are living our new song. 

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