Shalom’s 2021 began like most other years, with a flurry of activity ensuring that our Sydney Jewish community had an array of interesting, thought provoking, and impactful events to attend to. But what made this year different, was the strategic thinking behind every offering made available. In late 2020, Shalom launched its new long-term strategy which aims to provide opportunities for 20-40 year olds to create Jewish relevance in their secular lives, to connect our next generation to all aspects of our community, and to cultivate opportunities in order to develop our future communal leaders.
Each of Shalom’s programs are now curated and delivered through the lens of innovation, impact and sustainability. Each offering will appeal to those aged 20-40, connecting them not only intergenerationally across the community, but also impactfully creating relevance and connection with Jewish wisdom and their interests.
Adamama creates an engaged niche community that wants to live and breath ecology, environmentalism, and sustainable farm-to-table practices – all through a deep Jewish lens. PJ Library not only delivers books to families each month (30% of whom have indicated it is their only element of Jewish engagement they do as a family), but also has developed a highly curated offering to service families who crave more connection to the community, or need assistance in accessing the many services our community offers.
The Sydney Jewish Writers Festival has expanded to include more topics and mediums beyond the traditional book – venturing into screenwriting, television and cinema, as well as topics that can’t always be spoken about at the Shabbat table. Issues like growing up queer, politics, nationalism and antisemitism, or HIV. The Sydney Jewish Writers Festival was also our first program to jump online in response to Covid-19, and will continue to offer a mix of online and in person programming to make sure that the very best talent can be brought to Australia at a fraction of the cost.
At the same time, Shalom recognises that to maintain a high level of innovation and impact, programs need to grow to a level where they can either be sustainable on their own right or discontinued. This year Zikaron BaSalon and the Jewish Comedy Showcase have moved out of Shalom’s programming suite, and are being operated by different people within the community. Zikaron BaSalon was successfully run in 12 homes and attended by over 250 people in April, and is being run by Danny Hochberg. The Jewish Comedy Showcase is being run by comedian Robyn Reynolds and in 2021 featured a sell out crowd!
Shalom’s Limmud, which has been a flagship program since 1999 has grown and amassed a deeply committed group of volunteers who have decided that the time is right to take Limmud on its next step in its journey within the Jewish community. Limmud will become its own organisation over the next year, receiving support from Shalom until it is able to stand alone.
Rabbi Alon Meltzer, Director of Programs at Shalom, explained that “Limmud is an example of a successful program that has been nurtured and incubated from infancy to maturity, and now has the ability to continue to impact in this next chapter, our hope is that all of our successful programs will follow in Limmud’s stead, allowing us to continue to bring the next innovative and exciting programs to create a more vibrant and relevant Sydney Jewish community”.
For all Shalom news, events and programs, head to www.shalom.edu.au