Denver, Colorado – Kevah – a Bay Area-based organization that empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities– is coming to Colorado. Kevah has received a three-year, $150,000 grant from Rose Community Foundation to help support their launch of a network of 30 Jewish learning groups in the Denver and Boulder area. Rose Community Foundation will be joining the Jim Joseph Foundation and other local and national donors in supporting Kevah’s operations in Colorado.
Kevah, selected three years in a row by The Slingshot Fund as one North America’s top innovative Jewish organizations, offers an innovative approach to adult Jewish education. Instead of specific classes offered at a set time and place, individuals get to bring to life a learning group of their own design. With Kevah’s support, each group host brings together 12-18 people from her own social network and chooses a topic, time, and location. Kevah provides an outstanding educator and ongoing administrative support to help each group thrive.
Kevah’s Founder and Executive Director Sara Bamberger, a 6th generation Coloradan, has long wanted to bring the DIY model of Jewish learning circles to the place where she grew up.
“Rose Community Foundation was an early champion of Kevah’s grassroots approach to organizing and supporting ongoing Jewish learning experiences for adults. This grant will allow us to strengthen and expand our work to Denver and Boulder,” said Bamberger.
“Kevah’s approach provides an accessible entry-point for learners at all levels to engage with Jewish texts and ideas surrounded by like-minded peers. The Foundation sees this model to be especially promising for engaging young adults in meaningful and relevant Jewish learning,” said Lisa Farber Miller, Jewish Life Senior Program Officer for Rose Community Foundation. “Kevah’s ability to recruit outstanding educators, coupled with its DIY approach to Jewish learning will really resonate with people in Colorado.”
Rose Community Foundation’s grant will partially fund Kevah’s start-up costs in Colorado.
So far, there are three Kevah Groups up and running, including one in the Highlands, one in Hilltop and one in Lowry. According to Andrea Salzberg, one of the organizers of the Highlands Wine, Women, and Mindfulness Kevah Group, “I have enjoyed connecting with friends and our teacher, Dr. David Sanders. The meditations and teachings opened a fresh avenue of Jewish learning into my parenting, my relationships and my work life. The logistical support Kevah offered and the connection with David Sanders made this wonderful additional to our West Side Jewish life a reality.”
Kevah has two goals for this year. First, it will be partnering with 3-5 organizations (day schools, synagogues, JCC’s, etc.) that are interested in becoming the hub of an innovative adult learning program. For each successful group, the partner organization receives $500 from Kevah. “Our goal is to incentivize collaborations with as many local synagogues and organizations as we can, who want to have more adult engagement and would benefit from Kevah’s support,” says Dr. Julie Lieber, the Colorado Director as well as Kevah’s Director of Education.
Kevah’s second goal is to continue to build Kevah Groups that are not affiliated with any specific institution, but rather are built around the host/organizer’s own interests and social network and involves participants who may be on the margins of institutional Jewish life. According to Dr. Lieber, “Kevah supports all sorts of interesting Kevah Groups in our national network: a group for entrepreneurs, a group for couples interested in studying parenting through the lens of Jewish texts, a group for lawyers studying Talmud, a group for empty nesters, a group for professional Jews interested in learning about Jewish approaches to God, and many groups for young adults who like Kevah’s customized, DIY approach. The beauty of the model is that Kevah provides the educator and administrative support, but each group has a personality and flavor all to itself.”
Kevah works to empower individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities. Founded around a Berkeley kitchen table in 2008, when four friends created a pluralistic network of Torah study groups that appealed to their own DIY ethos. From the two original groups in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kevah has expanded to a network of more than 60 groups nationwide. Kevah coaches group hosts through the launch process, provides existing groups ongoing support, recruits and matches educators, and offers outstanding Jewish educators training and curricular resources.
Kevah’s commitment to educational excellence, accessibility of sources and principled pluralism enables Jewish adults to take ownership of their Jewish and spiritual lives. Learn more at http://www.kevah.org or contact Dr. Julie Lieber at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about starting your own Colorado Kevah group.