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Junction

Micro Grant Interview: Pesach party for young adults in Bratislava

"Our nation has always been very diverse. In the past, this diversity only elicited conflicts and antipathy among various fractions of the Jewish people. I feel very excited that there are strong voices today calling for responsible embracement of this diversity." - Lenka

For Junction micro-grants we ask applicants to apply considerably in advance so that we have at least a month to review the application before the event, but in certain cases when something really exciting hits our inbox we find a way to push something through and make it happen. Such was the case when Lenka’s email reached us.

Thirteen years ago Lenka found out she was Jewish and since then she’s been longing to learn as much as she can about her Jewish heritage and she’s received a lot of help. She participated in a study program at Lauder Midrasha in Berlin, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and eventually, received her BA degree from Lauder Business School in Vienna. For each of these studies she received full scholarships from people she never met. Without these scholarships, she would never be able to attend any of these programs.

So she feels very grateful and her work for the Jewish Community is her way of saying “Thank you”. Lenka’s passion moved us when she said she wanted to host an event in Bratislava, Slovakia combining rap music and Pesach and we’re happy we could make it work!

Q. What was your key takeaway from the Program?

A. It is not difficult to make an event happen. The real art is how to balance responding to conventional expectations and bringing new ideas. Innovative approaches need to be applied sensitively. And if you succeed to bring a “fresh wind” into your community, you just committed yourself to continue.

Q. What lead you to apply for a microgrant?

A. Inviting a rapper and connecting it thematically with Pesach was quite an unconventional idea. We assumed that people would not “risk” attending the event if the price was too high. At the same time, a successful rapper is not cheap to pay for. We are glad that thanks to Junction microgrant we did not have to limit the event to the accustomed “Divrei Torah and drinks” style.

Q. What surprised you about the planning process?

A. I was surprised how the non-Jewish musician was really enthusiastic about performing in a Jewish community. 🙂

Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?

A. I only found out that I am Jewish when I started my university. That was 13 years ago. Around the same time, I heard about the possibility to go on Taglit. I went and I was amazed. I wanted to know more, so I participated in several study programs. Gradually I began to incorporate Judaism into my lifestyle, constantly deepening my knowledge through self-study.

Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?

A. Raising up my children the way that makes them happy they are Jewish – and everything around it. Besides that I am a coordinator and a teacher at the Sunday school Program of the Jewish Community of Bratislava. Occasionally, I help the Community with event planning&execution.

Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?

A. Our nation has always been very diverse. In the past, this diversity only elicited conflicts and antipathy among various fractions of the Jewish people. I feel very excited that there are strong voices today calling for responsible embracement of this diversity. Among the Jews, there will always be thousands of opinions on everything – as it is the case in a normal family. We need to always remember that we are achim in the first place.

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

A. Though small in numbers, it is a community of intelligent, devoted and caring people. I am proud to be a member of the Slovakian Jewish Community.

Q. What’s next for you?

A. I will continue leading the Sunday school program and prepare some extra events from time to time. Right now, we are working on preparing the celebrations for Yom HaAtzmaut. And my dream is to make a music album with modern songs in the Slovak language relating each of the Jewish festivals to the contemporary life. The first track has already been recorded.

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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