Passover has come and gone, but the effects of Jewlicious Festival linger for many participants and presenters. The JF Facebook profile has a message board full of “thank yous” and “awesomes,” and many of the participants have added new West Coast friends and post “miss yous” on their walls. (Yes, I realize that if you’re not on Facebook, that paragraph might have meant nothing. But trust me, it’s good.)
You’ve undoubtedly seen some of our press immediately after the event, which was wonderful. And while we’ve also waxed near-rhapsodic in this space about how great the festival was, I think it’s more interesting to see the blog posts that may spring up as a result of the festival in the coming months. It’s a chance for us all to join the conversation about how young Jews are living their Jewish lives and whether the institutional Jewish community is supporting or resentful of those efforts.
OyBay, itself an organic outgrowth of its founder’s experiences at last year’s Jewlicious conference, is a tremendous example of how the conference had an impact. Based on his Jewlicious experiences, Tomer “Oyster” Altman took the initiative to create an online community and events publication for young Bay Area Jews; as a result and with the help of Sonoma Hillel, he was able to gather a busload of participants to drive the five hours from Northern California to Long Beach. In fact, the partnership with Sonoma Hillel was born when Tomer ran into his friend David, the Sonoma Hillel director, in the airport after his Jewlicious birthright israel trip. Check out the OyBay account of the trip (written by ChallahbackGirl and Oyster himself) here.
Another post that interested me was JKap’s post about the conference–his excitement that there was such inspiring young Jewish energy available and his frustration that the organized Jewish community seems unable to find and tap into it. Pre-Pesach, he posted a plea that the young Jews make contact with the federations who miss them. Will the young Jews “make the first move,” or wait until the federations create the programming that will attract them? I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned to see–but the Jewlicious Festival can be proud of having had an impact on jump-starting the conversation.