Kara Mintzberg, left, and Dana Troster at the Community Hackathon. (photo from Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver)
On a sunny Sunday, June 25, 40 Jewish young adults gave up a day at the beach and devoted themselves to building a better community. And three teams within this group saw their ideas chosen to be developed and piloted.
Led by Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver’s young adult program Axis, the goal of the Community Hackathon is a more connected community whose members design the programs and services they wish to see. This is the second phase of the project, which began in January, when a core group of Jewish young adults convened for a pre-Hackathon workshop focused on improving the Jewish experience for young adults and young parents.
“Jewish Federation has demonstrated that they are committed to engaging the next generation of Jewish leaders,” said Bryan Hack, chair of the Axis steering committee. “We’ve seen that in how they’ve included young adult engagement as a key element of their 2020 Strategic Priorities and in creating opportunities like the Community Hackathon, that are platforms for the involvement and leadership of young Jewish adults.”
Jewish Federation is one of only three organizations in North America to host a Community Hackathon. They received a grant from the PresenTense Group and the Covenant Foundation to facilitate the program and to fund the ideas generated through it.
The Community Hackathon was a full-day event at the Museum of Vancouver. Participants used design thinking to generate and prototype project ideas to tackle this challenge: “How to identify what people find meaningful in Jewish connection and then respond with appropriate experiences, infrastructure and communication.” Using this question as a framework, participants worked collaboratively in smaller teams to come up with tangible and sustainable solutions. They were led through the process by a facilitator from UpStart, an organization committed to being an engine for Jewish innovation.
Three of the teams will see their ideas piloted, using seed grants of $2,500 US each plus training and mentorship from UpStart and local coaches over the months to follow. The selected proposals were:
Shabbat Share (Adina Goldberg, Elliot Cheng, Jonathan Polak, Rebecca Denham, Bryan Hack and others), with the idea to create crowdsourced Shabbat dinners;
Shmooz (Rebecca Shaw, Gabby Switzer, Ali De Levie, Courtney Cohen, Kathleen Muir and Tamir Barzelai), which proposes the creation of a personalized interface that represents current events in the community, along with opportunities and a directory in a consolidated format with map and calendar capabilities; and
Treehouse Mentorship (Simone Landa, Lia Hershkovitz, Shayna Goldberg, Genna Cohen, Noah Kass and Dave Elezam), which will connect established Jewish mentors and community leaders with young professionals and newcomers to Vancouver to build a stronger community.
For more about Axis and to become involved, visit axisvancouver.com.