Thursday, March 11, 2010

Collaborating in Chicago

As a recent return to Moishe House Chicago after 4 months in Guatemala, I may not know the whole scoop, but here goes... I'll fill in what I've seen in action, and also try to recount all the good stuff I missed. Even from out of the country, I knew that ChiMo has become friendly with some local organizations and made beautiful programs together. One big partner is the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs with whom we've both organized events and attend their scheduled events for things of interest. They've connected us with several Jewish/Muslim dialogue events, and also, most recently, with a Freedom and Justice Seder that brought together south side Chicago Ethiopian Jews, North side Ashkenazi, local union and political representatives, community organizations, baptists, muslims, and a wide range of other folks to celebrate together and build shared values through a seder. Generally they support a broad range of campaigns and community organizing in Chi so they are good to check for ways to engage both with Judaism and social change together in one program.

Another good example of a partnered program is our recent Tubishvat seder done in partnership with AVODAH and AVODAH alumni and the Chicago Conservation Corps. In this program we provided some content and other components came from AVODAH alum, and then all three groups spread the word and brought participants. The combination enabled us to have a wide range of expertise for the different stations of our environmentally oriented workshop and to reach out to young jews who are affiliated with these organizations but uninvolved in Moishe. One of the alum is also a member of the Chicago Conservation Corps, so through a small grant, we were able to provide program attendees with start up materials for a worm composting bin.

In the future we look forward to continuing to partner, of course! In a few weeks we'll be doing a Global Hunger Shabbat using materials from AJWS and AVODAH to increase consciousness around hunger issues in our community. Further on we'd like to organize a women's history bike tour of chicago using a route and potentially a guide from the Jane Hull House Museum and spreading the word about the ride through various Chicago biking groups. Finally, we're constantly looking to outside organizations for inspiration, ideas, new venues, intriguing events, and anything else we can join in or borrow.
-- Wendy Mironov

No comments: