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October 12, 2009

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October 12, 2009

I've taken my twins to several of the events they host for small children. We always enjoy it very much -- whether it's the Purim story or playing games in the sukkah, we've always gotten a lot out of our experience. The kids aren't enrolled in pre-school yet, so going to these kinds of activities gives them great exposure to Jewish holidays and culture in a group setting with other small children and families. The great thing about it is the range of ages...small babies to five year olds attend with their parents, and community is created.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the time I've spent with my young children in exposing them to Jewish customs and way to celebrate Jewish holidays.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very supportive. Rabbi Bridget is always very helpful and encouraging ways to get involved and create Jewish identity and community.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 10, 2009

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October 10, 2009

My experience with Jewish Gateways was exceptional. With me, they truly met their objective to help people like me enter and find my way into the Jewish community. I first encountered this organization by attending their Shabat dinners that also followed by discussions and later was invited in a group to discuss our experiences in finding our Jewish community. The question always raised at these group meetings were "How can we as a group help you in finding your Jewish community? " Group members like myself found different communities at different synagogues based on our own personality fits. Nobody was directed to any group in any way. We were only required to find what worked for us. Currently I am attending Jewish education classes and working with a Rabbi to convert.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

benefiting from its goal of helping individuals find a Jewish Community.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have a larger venue to host events.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I made lasting friendships with other group members.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated to supporting individuals like myself in learning more about communities.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Meet a need not being met. It would reconnect or make first time connections between individuals and their faith. The attitudes toward social service also lead me to believe that it would have a strong community service component promoting social justice.

Ways to make it better...

they had more resources to staff and host more events.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

insufficient funds to continue.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This organization derived from an individual's idea (Rabbi Bridget) and made a reality with no actual resources. The idea of helping people connect to their Jewish faith in a safe and comfortable environment is in my opinion revolutionary.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 10, 2009

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October 10, 2009

I love Jewish Gateways and Rabbi Bridget Wynne. I first went to one of their Sedar dinners shortly after my husband died. I felt a keen need to explore the possibility of having a more spiritual life and learned about Jewish Gateways from the Web. The posting said that it was a 'no experience needed', user-friendly way to try on Judaism for size. The Sedar dinner was so much that and more. Rabbi Wynne gave a very thought-provoking talk and elicited discussion. She made me - and everyone else - feel comfortable and inspired to share their ideas. While I came from a Jewish family, I, like so many Jews, was not raised in the Jewish tradition and felt shy about going to services and such. Jewish Gateways was a perfect entry point for me. I recently participated in a Jewish Journeys group through Jewish Gateways. Jewish Gateways has been such a supportive and knowledge-rich launching pad for me to incorporate Jewish spirituality in my life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

being able to incorporate Judaism more into my life and having a very knowledgeable and compassionate Rabbi at my fingertips. I've also met some very nice people along the way.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

continue doing what it's doing but being able to reach out to even more people. The Sedar dinners focus on very wonderful and imaginative topics. With more money and the imagination that already exists within the organization, the sky's the limit.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 9, 2009

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October 9, 2009

This was my husband and I first time at a Jewish event since we moved to the bay area. Rabbi Bridget made us feel welcome and all questions we had about Rosh Hashana were answered in a caring way.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting others who did not already belong to a congregation. A lot of first timers so we didnt feel out of place.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly hospitable.

Ways to make it better...

There was a larger space to hold the dinner.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 9, 2009

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October 9, 2009

I met with Rabbi Bridget Wynne, the head of Jewish Gateways, when I was trying to sort out how to become more involved with Jewish life in our community. She sat and talked with me for a few hours about a whole range of inter-related issues-- my interfaith marriage, my own religious uncertainty, the characteristics of the various local temples, Jewish education for my children, etc-- She brought up several points I had not previously considered and was just very supportive and encouraging. Afterward, she arranged for me to meet with likeminded folks in similar life situations who were members of the congregations which most appealed to me. I just greatly appreciated the nonjudgmental, welcoming, and knowledgeable support provided by Jewish Gateways. I didn't even know what I needed-- but Rabbi Bridget did.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely helpful and supportive.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

Currently, I am in the process of converting to Judaism, but before this decision I was confused and uneasy about the different branches of Judaism, the traditions, the services, and where to get help. Jewish Gateways allowed me to explore Judaism in a low anxiety, in fact, warm way. For example, participating in a Rosh Hashana meal and celebration with Jewish Gateways made me feel welcomed. Two particular ways that Rabbi Wynne made me and others feel safe was asking if we had any questions at any time during any event, and being proactive about following up with me via email or phone and getting me the help I needed straight away. Several times she offered to call rabbis for me and arrange meetings so that I did not have to worry about what to say or how to say it. Overall, I felt welcomed into the Jewish community. I do believe if it were not for Jewish Gateways, I might not have had the courage nor knowledge to stick to take extra steps, attend a synogogue, speak with other rabbis, and partake in community events. Jewish Gateways also made me realize there are many types of Jews from various backgrounds and ethnicities. In other words, Jewish Gateways is a major factor in my decision to convert because I accessed the people and events I needed in order to experience Judaism authentically.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The welcomed, openminded approach that the members offered to all people from all backgrounds; Jewish or not. I felt it truly was a gateway to Judaism.

Ways to make it better...

It is hard to find a way to make this organization better from my point of view. Perhaps they should charge or fund raise more to have better funding so that they can offer varied levels of Jewish education and events.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 7, 2009

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October 7, 2009

We began attending Jewish Gateways events in March and feel our family has benefited greatly. The events for children are fun, educational and bring people together. The children love the puppet shows and music and then there is always a story read about the upcoming Jewish holiday or basic tenet of Judaism. Our son who is 3 1/2 looks forward to going to the "Jewish House". We have also attended adult centered events that have presented the opportunity to meet other families. We have even made good friends there with whom we socialize with outside of the organization. The events are well planned and carried out. The volunteers are kind and wonderful with children, and their parents. Rabbi Bridget is warm, thoughtful and available without being pushy or insistent. She is open minded and helpful. We are lucky to have found Jewish Gateways and plan to continue our participation in the program.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

learning about Judaism and having a place to explore questions or voice issues.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the freedom to attend or not, to not feel chastized for my own beliefs even if they do not follow strict Judaic laws.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

wonderful people who seem to enjoy what they do and want to help or just be present.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand its services and reach more families/people who want to explore their religious curiosities. They can also provide more events for children so they can learn about religion in a fun, inviting atmosphere.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 7, 2009

more

October 7, 2009

I was raised as an assimilated Jew in Vienna Austria during the early 1920s and hated the idea that I was Jewish. Hitler threw us out and I still denied being a Jew. Rabbi Brigit helped me not only to accept my heritage but to see the many great things the jewish traditiona has to offer me. Gateways is a warm place to meet a community of Jews and at times also non-jews who want to know more about Judaism. Lotte Stein

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way that they are open to everybody and also to different viewpoints

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Very open and kind to everybody. No expectations,no special requirements, I was very much accepted as myself, struggling with my Jewishness.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very kind

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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