Ten years ago I had my first baby.
I called it TC Jewfolk.
I was younger then. Just 26. And the Twin Cities Jewish community was different. The social media landscape was different.
I remember a middle-aged male Jewish professional telling me, right around the time that I was forming TC Jewfolk, that young people would never join the JCC, because they didn’t join things, and so people shouldn’t bother to try to reach them. Especially on that newfangled thing called “Facebook.”
He’s no longer employed at that Jewish institution.
And plenty of young Jewish people have proved him wrong.
And young-ish Jew-ish people too.
We’re on Facebook, and Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and podcasts, using online spaces to connect, engage, and inspire ourselves and each other, trying to become more Jewish, trying to better understand what it means to be a Jew in today’s society, and trying to find other Jews to do Jewish with (or just to grab a beer, or whatever).
We’re joining. Jewish groups like the JCC, NCJW, Hillel, NextGen, JCA, Minnesota Mammalehs and JLink. We’re joining non-religious specific groups BECAUSE we’re Jewish – because Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is what being Jewish is about, whether those groups are political parties, or anti-gun violence coalitions, or immigration reform activist groups. We’re joining. We’re marching. We’re speaking our minds.
This generation of Jews is not quiet.
And neither is my not-so-little baby, this TC Jewfolk.
While I gave birth to TC Jewfolk, it was never about me. Like any child, it had some of me, and who I was, and my history, my loves, likes, dislikes, baggage, etc. But more importantly, it had its own independent spirit. Its own neshama. Its Jewish soul.
And so as this Jewish community has changed, so has TC Jewfolk.
From a Facebook group to a blog, to the primary Jewish news outlet in Minnesota to a Jewish engagement platform with 4,700+ Facebook fans, 1,200+ Instagram followers, and 2100+ Twitter followers, to the organizer and moderator of Jewish micro-communities IRL (in real life) like Minnesota Mammalehs, a Facebook and IRL community of over 1,700 moms and moms-to-be in the Jewish community, and JLink, the Twin Cities’ Jewish professional and business leaders group with over 800 active Facebook members and regular events, and a social media and marketing consulting agency called FolkMedia Consulting for Jewish non-profits in Minnesota and across the country.
And as you, our engaged audience changes and grows, TC Jewfolk will and should, it must, grow with you. With new content, new ideas, new platforms, new methods of engagement online and IRL.
As most nonprofits (and as most of us young folks too) TC Jewfolk will stress about money, because we try to pay our incredibly dedicated staff who run TC Jewfolk and Minnesota Mammalehs and JLink and FolkMedia Consulting and all of our engagement efforts what we can, and their programming and the running of the platforms costs money, but your dollars, your support will help this organization to stay nimble, and to ensure that we keep growing as you grow, as this community grows.
Raising a child can be pretty nerve-racking at times. As a mom of two “real” kids, I know that now. But I think there’s no greater joy in the world than creating something and then watching it crawl, and walk, and then one day, fly.
TC Jewfolk is far greater, stronger, and having way more reach and impact on our community than I could have imagined when I launched it in August 2009. And like most pre-teens, it is barely scratching the surface of its potential. I look forward to being a part of its next decade, and to working closely with all of you, as readers, followers, writers, donors, and supporters, to take this nonprofit, this engagement platform, and these real-life and online projects that have grown from TC Jewfolk on this journey.
Thank you to those of you who have been part of our first decade. We hope each of you want to be part of our future by making a generous birthday gift to us and also sharing with us what does being a Jew in the Twin Cities mean to you/look like in your life? If TC Jewfolk has played a part in that, we want to know! May we all go from strength to strength.