Moishe House continually enjoys the benefit of partnering with the best people and organizations in the community. In January alone, we partnered with more than 50 organizations ranging from Sharsheret for "Pink Shabbats," Shabbat dinners that also provide education about breast cancer, to Hazon in creating eco-Tu B'shevat Seders to hosting boardmembers from the Jewish Federation of San Diego for brunch. As you may have read last month, the newest addition to our team, Sarah Lesser, Director of Repair the World Programming, was brought on board through a partnership with our friends at Repair the World to enhance our tikkun olam programming. There is no doubt that working with others will make us all stronger. Of all the organizations we have worked with, Birthright NEXT has a mission that is the most similar to ours.
Over the past three and a half years there have been many conversations and ideas between our organizations but, for one reason or another, none of them ever came to fruition. Over the past eight months this has completely changed. Last summer, Moishe House and Birthright NEXT looked at a mutual area of importance, providing the resources young adults need to be able to create home-based Shabbat experiences, and saw it as fertile ground for collaboration. Essentially, we were working to do the same thing but not working together on it in any capacity. What a no-brainer! Let’s try to work together on it to enhance everyone’s experience, deepen the impact and demonstrate how two like-minded organizations can support each other. By the fourth quarter of last year, just five months after beginning the conversation, Moishe Houses throughout the United States hosted 82 NEXT Shabbats with a total attendance of 2,402. Even more exciting, through our combined networks, 641 of the participants over those short three months were coming to a NEXT Shabbat at Moishe House for the first time. Not only did the reach and amount of support for Moishe House residents grow tremendously, we were also able to be a vehicle for Birthright NEXT to enhance their impact through our low-cost and efficient model. Truly a win-win situation.
The good news for all of us is that it does not stop there. As Birthright NEXT continually evolves its model, there became a need in Philadelphia to provide programming through NEXT. With Moishe House and Tribe12 already on the ground serving thousands of young adults, Birthright NEXT has worked with both of us to build our programs rather than creating repetitive programming. This may sound logical, but almost never actually happens in this kind of efficient fashion.
I am hopeful that our relationship with Birthright NEXT continues to grow and new partnerships develop. Not only is it important to have partnerships, it is also important to recognize what makes a good partnership work, including giving credit where credit is due. I hope this article is a good demonstration of this type of credit and shows the great progress NEXT has made not only in building itself, but also in impacting the entire Jewish community.