Jconnect is Seattle's most vibrant community for Jewish young adults. We are the ones throwing ridiculous parties, davenning with spirit, teaching the most interesting texts, pursuing justice with a Jewish ethic, and making Seattle an incredible place to live if you’re a 21-32 year old Jew. Each year, hundreds of Hillel alumni reach out to Jconnect staff to join the thriving community.
As a wide-eyed freshman at the University of Michigan, Ari Schorr decided he wanted to re-engage with Judaism. Welcoming staff, great social opportunities, and a leadership role on their large phonathon fundraiser during his time at Michigan gave Ari the Jewish boost he had been searching for. When it was time for him to return to Seattle, WA, it should come as no surprise that he turned to Jconnect Seattle.
“I had heard about Jconnect from a few of the staff members at Michigan and definitely had heard Josh [Furman’s] name before…however, what really got me involved was a referral from a friend who was going to check out the Jews in Shoes event. He said there might be cute girls so how could I resist! I had a great time, met a cute girl as promised, and starting making friends within the Jconnect community.”
It wasn’t long before Ari was looking to use the skills he learned from the Michigan Hillel’s phonathon. “I realized I could take a leadership role by leveraging the fundraising skills that I built as part of my time with the phonathon at Michigan Hillel.” So, in the spring of 2013, Ari worked with Galit Ezekiel, Director of Operations and Development, to put in place Jconnect’s first ever phonathon. “With the Jconnect phonathon, it was a first experience with a phonathon and cold calling for most of those involved aside from me and there were very few processes to dictate how everything should be run. This provided me a lot of freedom to make decisions about how we should conduct the phonathon and Galit provided lots of great support and ideas from her experiences with UW Hillel development.”
After numerous planning meetings and training sessions, local Jconnectors gathered in the University of Washington Hillel’s building to embark upon this landmark fundraising opportunity. “It was amazing to hear the groggers buzzing away during the first Jconnect phonathon calling shift as first time callers got their first donations and were greeted with screams of joy from their fellow callers!”
Upon reflection about his phonathon experiences with the University of Michigan Hillel and Jconnect Seattle, Ari could not contain his pride and commitment to a Jewish community no matter where in the country he may be: “To say I like one experience more than the other is challenging because each brought its own difficulties but, more often and more importantly, pride with what I was able to accomplish as leader of a phonathon team. Giving back to the programs and community I care most about is really what makes both experiences so invaluable to me.”
Ari is local, from Mercer Island, WA, turned University of Michigan graduate who has returned to the Seattle area to start his career in Product Marketing for Microsoft. He got involved with Jconnect almost immediately after returning to the Seattle area in summer 2012 because of a desire to continue his exceptional Hillel experience at Michigan, where he spent all four years participating in or leading the Phone-a-thon fundraising campaign and new student programing.
Are you new to the Seattle area, or do you know someone who is relocating to Seattle? Jconnect Seattle is excited to welcome you to our amazing city and vibrant community for Jewish young adults. Find us online at JconnectSeattle.org, on Facebook, or contact Elise Peizner, firstname.lastname@example.org, directly to get involved!