As part of their visit to Los Angeles last week, the outgoing class of Joshua Venture Fellows, all leaders of innovative Jewish organizations that are less than five years old, spent a few hours one evening talking to a group of L.A. Jews.
Nessah Young Professionals' Aug. 26 annual gala drew more than 600 local Iranian Jewish young professionals and college students to the Area nightclub in West Hollywood, where they danced the night away to live music while also raising money on behalf of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
For the young Jews of Detroit now living in Hollywood, Bob Aronson might as well be a movie star. The gentle-voiced CEO of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit has the money, power and prestige to throw a respectable Hollywood party. More importantly, he knows the magic ingredient required to attract young, aspiring industry types to the much-stigmatized Jewish mixer: Make it free.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Perhaps a
cliché, but it may well be the mantra of local Jewish institutions struggling
to attract new blood, as organizations and synagogues revamp their young
professional divisions in an effort to distance themselves from past
programming that has failed to meet expectations.