By ERIN BEN-MOCHE from jewishjournal.com
Co-Founding Director of Career Up Now Dr. Bradley Caro Cook presenting at the Hakel conference. Photo courtesy of Steinreich Communications.
Hakhel, the Jewish Intentional Communities Incubator, concluded its annual conference at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat in Center Falls Village, Connecticut, bringing together leaders of 80 of its global Jewish communities from 25 countries across six continents.Eight community groups from California participated at the conference, including Career Up Now (Los Angeles), Or Gavoah (Encino), RuJuLa (Chatsworth), Urban Kibbutz SD (San Diego), Beth Jacob Irvine Community (Irvine), The Organic Yeshiva of Sacramento (Sacramento), Urban Kibbutz SF and Batlanim (from San Francisco).
The community leaders who attended the conference are focusing not only on creating inclusive and welcoming communal spaces for themselves and their peers but also on social projects that make the broader Jewish community stronger, according to the organization.“I signed up for the Hazon’s Hakhel Fellowship because I am currently building the Career Up Now community in Los Angeles which is asking the question how do we build a multi-generational community at the intersection of Jewish wisdom and career advancement,” co-Founding Director of Career Up Now Bradley Caro Cook said. “I was struck by how many different types of communities there were. And through my conversations with other community leaders, I discovered we all had a common thread—a deep love and passion for Judaism and a desire to be connected with one another.
”Founded in 2014, Hakhel is the first and largest global incubator for Jewish intentional communities. According to its website, its mission is to “spark and support new expressions of Jewish life in the Diaspora by nurturing the growth of intentional communities with mentorship, seed funding and network building.”
“The world is transitioning from hierarchical and centralist structures to networks and shared economies and Hakhel is at the forefront of implementing this spirit of innovation in Jewish life,” Hakhel General Director Aharon Ariel Lavi said in a statement. “The conference provided the tools to help our leaders continue to grow their communities.”Hakhel operates in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, which works to strengthen Jewish life in the Diaspora and connection to Israel.
Community leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, South Korea, Johannesburg, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Hungry, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Spain, Amsterdam, Italy, Switzerland, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Chile and New Zealand attended the conference.