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The Beginning of Something Bigger and Global

An inside take on one participant's experience at the Global CO:LAB, find out how this fits in with her Jewish journey and what it means for the Jewish future

Patricia was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and has lived and traveled around the world. Curious, perseverant and enthusiastic, she has studied and worked in the fields of psychology, philanthropy, Jewish life, culinary arts, and more recently wine business. Patricia is a wine lover & epicurean. After qualifying as a certified sommelier in NYC in 2016, she continues her education in Bordeaux, France with a master in wine & spirits management. Despite her passion for wine, it remains in 2nd place behind Bianca, her dog.


Q& A with Patricia Alazraki

Q. What was your key takeaway from the weekend?

A. I left the weekend with mixed feelings of happiness, relief, restlessness, and empowerment. It felt right to be there, at that moment, it was where I needed and should to be. It gave me comfort and relief to connect with other young professionals from the US and Europe that have similar questions and willingness to work towards a global Jewish community. The takeaway I got from the weekend is that this is just the beginning of building something way bigger and global.


Q. What lead you to apply to the Global CO:LAB?

A. Curiosity. I knew nothing about Junction, but I was linked to Entwine and JDC as a member of ROI Community. As soon as I saw there was an Entwine trip to Barcelona, I had the curiosity to look at their itinerary and see what their trip was all about (as by then I was too late for Entwine’s application) and then I ran into the word “Junction”. Again, curiosity led me to copy paste “Junction” in Google to find more about it, and that’s how I learned about Global CO:LAB. On the back of my mind, I’m convinced that what led me to keep on doing clicks was a deep need to connect with young Jewish people with whom I could share common interests, spend a Shabbat together, exchange thoughts and concerns about what it means for us to live a meaningful Jewish life, and feel part of a community.

Q. What surprised you about the weekend?

A. How fast a group of creative people with a common goal and values can connect, brainstorm, and start crafting a network and foundations for a global vision of a Jewish community. My needs and questions weren’t as different as those from members who came from Eastern Europe or the Eastern United States. It also surprised me how as we started to share contact information we had less than a degree of separation. At least I shared 10 common Facebook friends with some of my peers. It makes me think we are really already part of a global Jewish community.


Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?

A. My Jewish involvement started at home and in school, as I come from a conservative Jewish family from Uruguay and I had the luck to attend a full-time Jewish school (though by then I did not see how fortunate I was). I attended Maccabi Hatzair since I was a kid, becoming later on a Madricha and a Jewish educator for young kids. I also had the chance to do Taglit Birthright early on, but it wasn’t until my brother got me involved in an International Hillel Engagement Institute in Washington University in St Louis that I learned about this great college organization. Upon my return from that summit, I started working as Student Life Director for my local Hillel. Later, I got the opportunity to join ROI’s Community in their annual summit in Jerusalem, and as I moved back to the states I kept connected and engaged with ROIers who lived in NYC attending the activities.

Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?

A. It’s been 8 months that I moved to Bordeaux to continue my professional studies in wine and spirits, and unfortunately, over the past months, my Jewish involvement has been very poor. Until the Global CO:LAB my Jewish involvement was only through my Monday night Hebrew classes (a jewel I found again here and one of the highlights of my week). This weekend ignited a sparkle of further curiosity and the empowerment to take action and do things. Since my return from the Global CO:LAB I connected with a group of local Jewish university students to mentor/get involved in the re-launch of the UEJF in Bordeaux (Jewish Union of College Students) and we’re crafting the comeback of this organization in the city. I also got in touch with other ROIers from Paris who along with Junction are organizing a Hanukkah gathering in Paris which I plan to attend in December.

Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?

A. Everything. From food to language, to values and peoplehood, no matter where you are, if you find a Jewish community, you’re soon home again. I see the Jewish future as a global one, less culture and geographic barriers but a big international and welcoming community caring and looking after each other.

Q. What should people know about Global Jewish Responsibility?

A. That responsibility does not mean moving oceans or being involved in big projects. Sometimes is just about being open about the fact that you’re Jewish with a neighbor or colleague and sharing what Jewish Life and Jewish values are for you.

Q. What’s next for you?

A. Aside from wine… Working with other students to launch the UEJF Bordeaux filial. Continue with my Hebrew studies and nourishing my daily Jewish life. Stay connected to Junction’s events. Get involved with other Jewish communities in France, like Paris. Engage other young Jewish professionals from my city into these projects.