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November 1, 2009

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November 1, 2009

When our kids were in elementary school they spent a few years going to temple/religious school on Saturday mornings. Then, their sports took over and we found ourselves pulling our kids out of Saturday morning religious school all the time. We always felt so guilty doing that, but our kids really loved their sports. Our daughter Jacki is a figure skater, and our twin sons Jeremy & Ethan play competitive travel ice & roller hockey. We weren't involved with any of the temples functions because we live about 25 minutes away, and it always seemed to conflict with the kids sports. We also felt guilty going because we never went to many things, and didn't know anybody. The following year our children didn't attend any religious school, and we really weren't sure if they would ever have the chance to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. We met Rabbi Brian Field a few years back during the High Holiday services. We thought it was a fabulous laid back atmosphere, and such a wonderful service. As the High Holidays approached we went back to his service which Judaism Your Way (JYW) holds at no charge to all who would like to attend. This year I noticed the attendance increased double in size, and again it was wonderful. It was time to call JYW to see about the possibility of a Bar/Bat or B'nai Mitzvah for our children. Rabbi Field sat down with us and described the many choices we had for our children. He didn't tell us there was only one way or one choice, but there were many choices!! Also, he was flexible on days and times! Discussing this decision with our children they were very excited about the adventure. All three decided they wanted to have the Mitzvah together. We picked a time during the week to meet that worked for the Rabbi, and our children. Then, we started our journey for the next year and 3 months. We were on the way to a three-way B'nai Mitzvah! We set the date for a summer Mitzvah because it wouldn't conflict with sports. Rabbi Field was always wonderful. There was never any stress put on any of us. The most important thing is the kids loved him! Leaving their first session with Rabbi Field they jumped in the car and said it was "amazing"! They said the same thing at the last session!! There was never a struggle to go to their sessions. They enjoyed every moment of them. Jacki studied Hebrew with Cantor Birdie all year. Her Torah portion at the Mitzvah was absolutely beautiful. The boys picked separate projects to research. All three studied at their own pace, and chose their own direction. Their B'nai Mitzvah took place on July 25th, 2009. It was amazing!! Rabbi Field put together the most incredible service EVER!! Each kid had their own moment, and it was so special. Three kids all doing different things in one Mitzvah, and it went so smooth! Rabbi Field has a wonderful way of taking a large group of people, and making them feel so comfortable. He allows for people to be part of the service instead of watching the service. We are soooo happy and proud to continue to be a part of JYW. We always feel welcomed, and wanted. The most amazing part of all of this is that our kids are proud to be Jewish. They were also taught how to be good people. Better people. How to make this world a better place. To be honest people. Most of all Rabbi Field taught them acts of loving kindness. I can't thank them enough for everything they have done for our family. This year all three kids had to write papers about an experience in their life. They all wrote about their Mitzvah, and that it was the best day of their lives. Mandi & Larry Solat

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The Great!

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

Our B'nai Mitzvah for our 3 children. Amazing!

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

being about to attend holiday services and functions, and always feeling welcomed

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

amazing...terrific...always fabulous

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

educate more families in Colorado who are not having Mitzvah's for their children because of expense/time/availability etc...that is a good question for JYW to answer!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 1, 2009

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November 1, 2009

My husband and I were visiting the three synagogues in The Jewish Ghetto in Venice recently and the guide explained to us how the bimah was situated in the middle of the room and the Torah therefore, was read from that position. My husband caught my eye and mouthed,"Just like Rabbi Field did on Rosh Hashanah." I nodded, "Yes." Rabbi Field brought the Torah to us and we gathered around it like the sages of old. What an warm and emotional time we had. Singing and reading and sharing surrounding the scroll. That experience is symbolic of Judaism Your Way. Rabbi Field and the programs bring Judaism to the people. To paraphrase his opening remarks on the High Holidays. "Welcome to you no matter where you are in your Jewish path. We welcome you no matter who and what you are. Welcome to those who are not Jewish, but whose beloved is. WELCOME!!! What an incredible thought! No guilt Judaism. Everyone is invited to be participate and to share this Jewish experience. No longer a member of a congregation, I faced a real dilemma when my son wanted to have a naming ceremony for his daughter whose mother was not Jewish. I sought out a orthodox friend of mine and asked, "Do you know any rabbi that might hold a naming ceremony?" Fortunately I was told to contact JYW. I spoke to Rabbi Field who then spoke to my son and his wife and a ceremony was created that was inclusive and comfortable to all and my grandaughter was named after her great grandmother amidst a gathering of her family and friends. Her brother, three years later was also given his Jewish name. My second son and his intended had been attending an interfaith couples discussion group led by Rabbi Field and when they decided to marry, it was under the chupa. JYW creates Judaism in a modern meaningful manner. Celebrations of holidays are in creative and unique venues and the participants are engaged in the activity and celebrating the Jewish experience happily. I am unable to articulate the depth of my gratitude for Judaism Your Way. It plays a vital in our community and we are so very fortunate to have the program in the Denver Area.

The Great!

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

a variety of way, holidays, marriages and programs.

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

it is nonprofit. One gives til it feels good! No guilt.

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

helpful, supportive, encouraging, engaging,knowledgeable, hardworking and devoted.

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

have more programs, reach more people, and not worry about financially supporting the cause.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

We are an interfaith couple and found Judaism Your Way when we were searching for a Rabbi who would perform our ceremony. In Judaism Your Way we found what we were looking for and so much more. In addition to helping us craft a ceremony which included elements from both of our traditions, JYW offered interfaith discussion groups where we found informative and stimulating discussions on the joys and challenges we are facing. We also started attending some of the wonderful holiday services Judaism Your Way offers. When we were experiencing personal difficulties, we found a sympathetic ear. In short, Judaism Your Way has helped us connect in a much deeper and meaningful way with each other and our faiths than we otherwise would have. While it is not a replacement for the fellowship we have within our local synagogue, it provides important additional elements we were not receiving elsewhere. We so enjoy our experiences with Judaism Your Way that we think nothing of the 120 mile roundtrip journey we undertake to attend.

The Great!

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

the growth of our marriage and the connections we feel with our faiths.

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

the diversity and inclusiveness of its ministry.

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

continue to expand and adapt to meet the needs of the community which are not being met by traditional organizations.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

JYW is a vibrant community where all Jews and their families can find refuge and connect in wonderful new ways. I am a Zen priest, and often encounter Jewish men and women who are attracted to Zen meditation. I am always looking for ways to deepen the experience of meditative mind and bring the resulting benefits of wisdom and compassion into the lives of all who are interested. JYW has provided a place where I can deepen my own understanding and appreciation of Judaism in ways that enable me to serve more fully. Rabbi Field has been a friend and an inspiration to us all.

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

wonderful dedicated individuals with a great deal of talent and dedication to a wonderful cause. They deeply care.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

JYW is a wonderful place were learning is easy and fun by dipping into a Spiritual type pot luck were everyone is giving and receiving in the form of Jewish enlightenment. Rabbi Field,in his class groups hands out litatue in the form of written passages and we all take turns reading, sharing what needs to be discussed. Anyone who attends will be taken with the way this man leads his Flock…You will believe if you attend.

The Great!

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

Jewish enlightenmet

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

and the way Rabbi field makes anyone feel comfortable and welcome even non afilates..

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

just as helpful and caring as Rabbi Field.

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

Change the world..

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 31, 2009

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October 31, 2009

I do a lot of songleading and playing music in the Denver Jewish community -- part-time at a Reconstructionist congregation and a Reform Temple and for a number of other shuls, programs and organizations. I've worked with Rabbi Brian for several years at many JYW events, and from the outset I've always been impressed with Brian's ability to draw people in and help them open themselves to the creative possibilities of Jewish life. Brian models a Judaism that is inclusionary, nonjudgmental, affirming and sweet. Backed by his capable and hardworking staff, he exhibits true menschiness and guides an organization that Colorado is lucky to have.

The Great!

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

finding a kindred soul and mentor in Rabbi Brian.

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

meeting people for whom JYW has been an open door into a more welcoming Judaism than they'd experienced before.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

My most recent experience with JYW was at the High Holy Days services. While I hesitated about going to the campus at DU, rather than the beautiful Hudson Gardens where the service were held last year, I realized it wasn't the surroundings that made it special, it was the way Rabbi Field (and staff) presented the experience. My husband and I are very grateful for JYW as it gives a place to join others in celebrating Judaism. We are both at a time in our lives that we don't need what a traditional synagogue offers. Our appreciation goes out to JYW for being there. We look forward to attending the Bat Mitzvah of our dear friend's daughter next year...but will be participating in other services prior to that with Rabbi Field.

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

Very welcoming.

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

Open a mikva, have a building of its own, provide more services, share its message.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 30, 2009

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October 30, 2009

As a black woman and a lesbian, it can be challenging to find Jewish spaces where I am welcomed with unquestioning warmth. I have always found this warmth with Judaism Your Way. I feel able to participate fully where I am at as a Jewish identified individual. That is the beauty of both the organization't title and the vision behind that title. I believe that Judaism Your Way opens the door for all Jews as well as people interested in Judaism to explore their pasts, presents, futures and possibilities of observance and expression in a safe and supportive way. Because it is Judaism your way and not "their way" or "the way," it removes the stresses of not fitting in. In my eyes, Judaism Your Way provides a unique service and a powerful contribution to the Denver community.

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

that is welcoming and creative in its event planning and services. They offer both traditional services and unique events that bring the community together.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 29, 2009

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October 29, 2009

This is a venue which to ,both my husband and I, is a way to get in touch with our spirituality in a more meaningfull way. Our most recent experience at the High Holy days with the rabbi and those who helped act out the Torah portion, we thought, was an excellent way to bring Torah into a more relavant light---so one could actually relate to it (great for the young people). The use of music (both solo and group singing) pulls us together in our prayer. And, I for one, find the music soulfood!

The Great!

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

various events, including a concert, Succoth at the Rabbis home, services at Hudson Gardens (absotlutely beautiful setting for the High Holiday services)

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 warmth and friendliness of all who attend

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

friendly and helpful.

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

certainly advertise and let their existence be known....also, perhaps, hold Jewish music concerts (with Jewish dancing being taught)

Ways to make it better...

there were a few more ocassions to participate and attend. Unfortunately some of this , is due to the fact that we are not in Denver during the winter months.

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

letting the Denver metro community be aware of their existence.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 29, 2009

more

October 29, 2009

What great fortune to have Judaism Your Way in Denver! This is a very unique organization, one that we'd be lucky to find in a more cosmopolitan city. My husband and I came to know of JYW through their High Holiday services, which unlike most temples, are open to all. This attitude of being so warm, welcoming, curious and open to questions of Jewish identity and Jewish development is what makes this organization unique and STELLAR! I cannot overemphasize this! JYW is a safe and ENERGIZING place to ask questions and to dialogue about many things. Rabbi Brian is truly open to discovery. He's highly educated, funny, intellectual, down to earth, and REAL. He doesn't proport to have "the answers" and is not interested in being "the expert." More like a learned scholar who is always learning more, and open to exploring with his clients, he faciliates an experience where it is safe to ask questions and continue to dialogue. Rabbi Brian performed the naming ceremony for our girl-boy twins, creating a meaningful, interfaith way to honor the start of their earthly journeys while including our family and closest friends Jewish, Christian and Buddhist, in the ceremony. The result was an experience that was original, heartfelt, expansive in its scope, and inclusive of the interfaith audience it served. Our friends and family LOVED IT! Experiences like this make JYW stand out as a place in which I WANT to educate my children, and continue to learn myself. JYW is a multi-generational learning and growth experience. Adults and children can learn about their Jewish heritage, explore their identities as Jews, and continue to ponder their spiritual choices. Questions are welcome, and each person's interpretation of what it is to be Jewish is met with interest, education, and an investment in that person's understanding of what makes life meaningful for her or him. I cannot recommend JYW highly enough! I'm just so glad that it's here, in my hometown.

The Great!

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

naming ceremony for my girl-boy twins; education for interfaith couples; High Holiday services that are inclusive of the public, interfaith couples and their children; shabbat services.

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...

Rabbi Brian: his intellect, warmth, humor, openness and down-to-earth, real and approachable style.

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

Lolly, the director, also warm, open, easy to talk to and open to making JYW an true resource to the community.

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

Develop a school and have an extensive library, specializing in Jewish scholarship. I'd love to send my children there!

Ways to make it better...

If only I had known about JYW sooner! I wish that I had known Rabbi Brian at the time of my wedding. We would have LOVED for him to perform our ceremony!

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

Awareness. This is an innovative approach to Jewish spirituality and development. More people need to know about JYW.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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