New Model to Usher in Innovative New Phase for Jewish Life in DC.
Washington, September 5, 2014: Gather the Jews (GTJ) announces today the hiring of Rachel Gildiner as its new Director. Under Rachel’s leadership and funding from a transformative grant from a funding collaborative that includes The Morningstar Foundation, Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the The Jewish Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, GTJ will revolutionize the future of Jewish young adult life in the Washington, D.C. area.
This new phase for GTJ will be centered in an engagement model, recognizing the individual and communal story of our young adult population. GTJ will pivot to a focus on 1:1 relationship building, the cultivation of an engagement fellowship program, and a renewed emphasis on innovative Jewish learning, revolutionizing the way in which the Jewish community embraces and empowers its young adult population. Through meaningful dialogue and a strengthened communal model, every Jewish young adult in the DC region will feel that she or he has a key personalized resource to activate the next chapter of his or her Jewish journey.
Steven A. Rakitt of The Jewish Federation said “The UJEF is thrilled to welcome Rachel into this role. This is a cutting edge model in the Jewish community, and we believe that Rachel is well-positioned to work with the many aspects of our local community.”
Rachel Gildiner comes to GTJ with over seven years of experience in relationship-building and facilitating engagement trainings for young adults and Jewish communities across the country. Through her years at Hillel International as the Director of Learning and Assistant Director of Student Engagement, and her own Jewish experiences, Gildiner says “I understand first-hand the need for authentic relationship building as a key platform to engage the complex and multifaceted young adult community. I look forward to advancing DCs efforts toward creating inclusive and vibrant Jewish opportunities for each and every Jewish young adult in the city and surrounding areas.”
The grant, given over the course of the next three years, will enable the additional hiring of the GTJ Educator. Together with Rachel, the new team will work in tandem to launch this new model and serve as a key resource to the wider DC Jewish community.
Susie and Michael Gelman, directors of The Morningstar Foundation, said, “We are excited at the prospect of giving young adults in our community the ability to make Jewish life more meaningful and accessible. We believe that this is a great opportunity for Jewish organizations in our area to enhance the range of offerings for young adults.”
GTJ remains committed to supporting the wider fabric of young adult life in DC. GatherTheJews.com and our weekly newsletter will continue to remain a hub of information online, GTJ Happy Hours will remain a real-time meeting place for the community, and GTJ professionals will work closely with the talented array of Jewish professionals already committed to communal programming in the DC community.
Simone Friedman Rones of Emanuel J Friedman Philanthropies said, “We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Gather the Jews in partnership with GW Hillel, The Morningstar Foundation, and UJEF. We believe that collaboration is the key to effective grant making, and we think that this GTJ initiative has the potential to be a model for collaboration in Jewish communities across the United States.”
About GW Hillel & GTJ:
GTJ found a new home under the auspices of GW Hillel in April 2013. This transition has enabled GW Hillel to expand its demographic reach while maintaining its mission of supporting emerging Jewish adults write the next chapter of their Jewish journeys. GW Hillel continues to recognize that one’s Jewish growth does not end after four years in college; GTJ is a natural extension of GW Hillel’s desire to provide identity building and growth to the next generation of Jews.
Director – Gather the Jews
Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth
Executive Director – GW Hillel
Adina Dubin Barkinskiy
The Morningstar Foundation