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Micro Grant Interview: Kehillat Nashira, the Borehamwood Partnership Minyan

"My generation and those even younger want to find meaning in their Judaism and are prepared to look for it beyond the conventional structures." - Miriam Lorie

Sometimes the UK can really feel like an island unto itself, that’s why this year we’re happy to be supporting more micro-grant projects in the UK and encouraging higher UK participant attendance at partner programs. One such project we’re supporting is Kehillat Nashira, the Borehamwood Partnership Minyan, after a recent Shabbaton we asked co-founder, Miriam Lorie, how it went!

Miriam recently returned from a Fellowship at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She is now Programme Director at Lead, developing leaders for the Jewish community. Miriam has worked for Cambridge University’s Inter-faith Programme, & read Theology at Cambridge.

She was named as one of the Jewish Chronicle’s “Sixteen under 30’s to watch in 2016” for this role. She has taught at Limmud UK for nearly ten consecutive years, is trained to prepare brides and grooms for Jewish marriage, and loves teaching Jewish texts to children and adults. She is a graduate of the Susi Bradfield Fellowship & the Adam Science Leadership Programme. You can visit her blog at miriammuses.com.

Q. What was your key takeaway from the Program?

A. That there is so much passion in my local area for innovative, spiritual, intellectually engaged Judaism. Every part of our Shabbaton was enthusiastically taken up – the services, the community meal in a restaurant, and the scholar in residence’s sessions.

Q. What lead you to apply for a microgrant?

A. Putting on an ambitious Shabbaton in an area where people could not afford expensive tickets meant that we needed to seek support to make the programme happen.

Q. What surprised you about the planning process?

A. Some of the big things to arrange (like our scholar in residence) were extremely straightforward, mainly because we had existing relationships in place. What took the most amount of time was building new relationships, particularly where there was something unprecedented to organize (this was one of the first times a local kosher restaurant had agreed to open on Shabbat for an event). So in event planning, relationships are key!

Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?

A. Co-chair of the Borehamwood Partnership Minyan, Kehillat Nashira. Batmitzvah and pre-wedding teacher.

Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?

A. Even more teaching and a moving to be a Trustee of Kehillat Nashira rather than a co-chair.

Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?

A. My generation and those even younger want to find meaning in their Judaism and are prepared to look for it beyond the conventional structures.

Q. What should people know about the Borehamwood Jewish Community?

A. It’s the fastest growing non-Chareidi community in the UK. Hugely popular with young Jewish couples and families, many of the Jews in our area do not affiliate with a synagogue community. Our grassroots minyan is tapping into a real need!

Q. What’s next for you?

A. As a Trustee of the minyan rather than a co-chair, I hope to have time to focus on strategic developments for the community.

Photo: Shabbaton scholar in residence Nechama Goldman Barash

Junction micro grants are awarded to innovative, engaging young adult community projects and can range from $1000 to $5000.

If you have a new program idea such as a celebration of a Jewish holiday or a Jewish social event and want to make it happen, find out more here!

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