Luciana Pattin is a YESOD Kaplan Fellow, Coordinator of International programmes and Fundraising for the Jewish School of Madrid, a Morah of Talmud Torah in Bet El, the Masorti Community of Madrid, and co-leads services as a Chazanit.
As an Argentinian living in Spain Luciana clearly found a place for herself within the Jewish community, but she also wanted to create a vibrant life around her that reflected the things that she wanted and needed. She realized that if she was craving a certain type of Jewish setting that she probably wasn’t alone and that was where the Havdalah Family Project came into being!
The project is a new format aimed at young adults with small children, interfaith families and also people who do not relate to any institutional community or religious context. Many of them experience their first Havdalah ever! Her poignant interview and the fun video provided give you a glimpse into an exciting program in Madrid!
Q. What was your key takeaway from the Program?
A. How everyone was so grateful for the experience and the events… I have confirmed the relevance and high added value of creating opportunities like this one for people and families. Through this initiative I found, another entertaining, exciting and significant way of living Judaism. I’ve seen real examples of how we can learn together with (and from) our kids and other families (from diverse background and cultural origins).
Q. What lead you to apply for a micro grant?
A. I wanted to present to the community an option to participate in an open event, with a high quality and complete activity where cost wouldn’t be a barrier to participation. I wanted the event to cover all the dimensions: spiritual (meaning, tradition, Shabbat), social (relation, communication, diversity), physical (food and beverage), and intellectual (learn from self and others). To achieve that, I certainly thought the investment would be needed (materials, handouts, decoration, food, music…). Junction offered the opportunity of an independent initiative, not attached to any “formal” community and that allowed anyone to feel closer to the program and that this was for them. I had the autonomy and freedom of choice, from the strategic to the most operative issue. Junction’s logo also offers a high standard and European visibility (not just a local initiative).
Q. What surprised you about the planning process?
A. I was surprised by how families (and mainly volunteers) welcomed the project. Many wanted to contribute, to know how they could help, to know what’s next.
I felt a great sense of responsibility during this project. I am very grateful to the Jewish Community of Madrid for opening their doors to host the events. The proposal itself was quite disruptive in comparison to what the local community is used to having.
Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?
A. I’ve been continuously involved in the Jewish community since I started working as a Madricha in “Club Náutico Hacoaj” at the age of 16. This was back in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, I was the coordinator of Social Programmes in Hillel Foundation, and also the founder of the theatre company for Jewish youngsters. Here in Spain, I was a member of the Board of the Jewish Masorti Community of Valencia, where I simultaneously developed my passion for Chazanut and collaborated with the community as a lay leader. In general, I have developed various cultural and social volunteering programmes in organizations and institutions.
Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?
A. These past few years participating in various Congresses and events in Europe have opened my eyes and heart to brilliant projects and ideas coming from the most diverse backgrounds. So many young Jews are willing to develop new projects, to foster change and transform their communities… I think we are all pursuing a higher end in mind: a Judaism joyfully open to diversity. Our Tradition and Culture is vast and rich, we have much to learn and we need to find new ways to approach, experience, strengthen, share and transmit it.
Q. What should people know about the Madrid Jewish Community?
A. Our Jewish Community is very strong, with a vigorous Sephardic identity which I admire. We are witnesses (and actors) of winds of change created by the diverse inflow of immigrants who are choosing Madrid as their new home: I do think that the current challenge is to learn how to make the most and the best of this multi-cultural context, finding the balance between tradition and innovation. The community is raising awareness of their opportunities and what they can offer to Europe and the world.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I want to re-boost my project: “Havdalah Family Project”, reaching other communities in Spain and Europe. I want to keep developing initiatives of this caliber, through live, joyful and experiential Judaism. I’d love to continue preparing myself as a Jewish leader and educator.
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!