PAWTUCKET – One year ago, the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Congregation Beth Sholom, Temple Emanu-El, and Temple Beth-El launched (401)j, Rhode Island’s Jewish young professional collaborative.
Originating as an online community, (401)j created cluster groups such as D’var in the Bar, Rosh Hodesh, Mah-jongg, Singles Group and Pastrami on RI to engage more young Jewish community members, forming lifelong friendships and a stronger investment in the local Jewish community.
On Dec. 18, (401)j celebrated one year of success at the Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket with Foolproof beer, and latkes provided by The Chubby Chickpea.
Nearly 100 Jewish young professionals attended the event. The evening included remarks by host committee member, Pete Zubof, a Navy Seal, who said “(401)j is a community based organization for Jews from across the faith spectrum, from the most religious to those who simply identify with their Jewish roots.
(401)j needs your support – no, I’m not asking you for money – the kind of support we need is your enthusiasm and ideas. (401)j functions on the intellectual support of its members.”
Ceceley Chambers, another host committee member, gave a poignant D’var Torah about using the light of Hanukkah to overcome the darkness that has consumed our Jewish community locally and abroad. This was a perfect segue into a performance by (401)j cluster group Pastrami on RI, who debuted their new song, “Burn,” by Ellie Goulding.
Attendees were happy to see such a wonderful turnout. Rachel Mersky Woda said, “Great venue, great food, great people … another example of how our community is a unique and special place with so much to offer.” Pastrami on RI member Seth Finkle agreed, “It was such a warm and inviting environment. Our group felt so honored to perform and debut a new song there.”
Jewish Alliance Planning Associate Simon Lichter said, “Vodka Latke was proof that (401)j is resonating with the R.I. Jewish community.”
With its second annual Vodka Latke a success, (401)j is sure to more than resonate with Rhode Island young Jews in the future. Upcoming events include the first (401)j Shabbaton weekend retreat scheduled for June 12, 2015.
HILLARY SCHULMAN is a development associate in philanthropy at the Jewish Alliance.