From university students exploring their Jewish identities, to young adults with a desire to connect to Israel, to new professionals developing their networks, we are here to help them engage Jewishly. With innovative programs like Axis, we offer Millennials a platform to get involved and grow their leadership skills.
While Vancouver is the fastest growing Jewish community in North America, it is still easy for people to feel isolated, including young adults who are new to the region. Jewish Federation’s young adult program, Axis, invited newcomers to Vancouver to join them on a city walking tour to uncover the history of Vancouver’s early Jewish immigrants. Nineteen young adults joined the tour led by Michael Schwartz from the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia. Along the way, they learned about the city’s Jewish history and made lasting friendships.
Co-hosted with JNF Future, “All that Glitters is Gelt” was the party of the year! This flagship event brought together over 200 young adults for a night of holiday celebration, music and dance. Organized by young adult volunteer leaders, and supported by Beth Israel Synagogue, Temple Sholom, Or Shalom, Har El, and Hillel, this event was a perfect example of community coming together. Axis prides itself on being inclusive and welcomed guests from all streams of Judaism, and all abilities, backgrounds and sexual orientations. New at the Hanukkah party this year was a VIP space reserved for The Jewish Queer Trans group (JQT) where LGBTQ young adults could meet and mingle at this party-within-a-party.
A record number of 23 local Jewish high school students from our community marched from Auschwitz to Birkenau with thousands of their peers on March of the Living in 2018. The two-week trip to Poland and Israel gives participants firsthand exposure to their Jewish history and prepares them to become lifelong advocates of the Jewish community. Perhaps most importantly, this experience makes the next generation of witnesses to the events and impact of the Holocaust. Participating on March of the Living is a meaningful experience, but the cost is high. Jewish Federation offsets a portion of the cost for each local participant, and offers scholarships to families who need additional help. Jewish Federation also provides support through staff resources, program leader training and participant education.
In our 2020 Strategic Priorities, Jewish Federation identified the need to harness the potential of the more than 200 young adults we send on high school, gap-year, and peer group trips to Israel. Our Israel Programs Follow-Up Coordinator engages them immediately upon their return, when they are highly motivated to become more involved in the Jewish community. In collaboration with our partners, we provide young adults with different options for engagement in the Jewish community in accordance with their needs, wishes, and stage in life, and work with them to develop the programming they want to see.
A program of our partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa provides a diverse portfolio of study abroad, internship, service learning, and Jewish studies programs that help 18-to-30-year-olds grow as individuals, as professionals, and as leaders — while enabling them to develop a robust global professional network. Masa Israel Journey gives Jews life-changing experiences in Israel, connecting them to five- to 12- month programs that match their interests, offering scholarships, providing expertise, and supporting them throughout the entire process. Each year there are 20-30 participants from our community who participate in different Masa programs.
Jewish Federation has helped thousands of Jewish students and young adults have life-changing experiences in Israel through programs like Birthright-Israel, March of the Living, Masa Israel Journey, and other gap-year and youth travel programs. This Mega Event brought over 300 alumni from all Israel experience programs together to celebrate Birthright Israel’s 18th anniversary at a dance party featuring 2018 Eurovision winner, Netta, in her first-ever performance in Vancouver.