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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Judaism Your Way

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Judaism, Religion

Mission: JYW’s mission is to offer innovative opportunities to connect Jewishly for Jews and their loved ones

Results: Over the last 12 months we have touched the lives of more than 2000 people through our programs and lifecycle event services.  Our email list of those interested in hearing about our offerings has grown to more than 1600.

Target demographics: * those not affiliated with existing institutions, * those otherwise disengaged from active Jewish life, * interfaith couples and families, * LGBT individuals, couples, and families * “Jewish-plus” individuals and families, that is, those whose spirituality and identity encompasses more than Judaism, and * individuals and families of all financial means

Geographic areas served: Greater Denver/Boulder Metro Area

Programs: Provide life cycle events in jewish lives ranging from the celebration of birth to death and all holidays found on the jewish calendar; to provide the necessary spiritual counseling addressing jewish laws and customs and education regarding living a jewish life.

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I attended a JYW event that was very enjoyable and during which we all learned a lot about a lovely Jewish holiday that we had previously been unfamiliar. It was a lovely experience to get together with other Jews and celebrate Jewish culture in general. The JYW staff/organization clearly put a huge amount of effort into the event, and designed something that had activities and meaning for people of all ages. I think that JYW provides an invaluable service for unaffiliated Jews in Colorado and also offers a creative set of programs that affiliated Jews can benefit from as well.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

JYW has been an invaluable resource for our family. We are an interfaith family so finding a place where we are comfortable and can practice and learn about Judaism has been difficult. This organization filled the need on many levels. Rabbi Field taught a series of classes for elementary school children who were not affiliated but wanted some Jewish education. He met with the parents and designed a curriculum that worked. We are grateful. JYW acted as a resource for Interfaith Community of Denver in providing workshops and discussions for interfaith families. The services have been wonderful and inclusive - filling deep needs. I loved overhearing an older gentleman comment, "Now this is how a service should be!" I was asked to be a resource speaker at the JYW support group for interfaith families which was a great experience and obviously filled a need for new interfaith couples. The Stop N Shabbat programming has been innovative and interesting and Fun! They expose people to a wide variety of Jewish experiences and expressions. It has been so good to find a Jewish home for our family with such great resources and our roles have been as client, student, volunteer, etc. We are so grateful.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JYW has been an invaluable resource for our family. We are an interfaith family so finding a place where we are comfortable and can practice and learn about Judaism has been difficult. This organization filled the need on many levels. Rabbi Field taught a series of classes for elementary school children who were not affiliated but wanted some Jewish education. He met with the parents and designed a curriculum that worked. We are grateful. JYW acted as a resource for Interfaith Community of Denver in providing workshops and discussions for interfaith families. The services have been wonderful and inclusive - filling deep needs. I loved overhearing an older gentleman comment, "Now this is how a service should be!" I was asked to be a resource speaker at the JYW support group for interfaith families which was a great experience and obviously filled a need for new interfaith couples. The Stop N Shabbat programming has been innovative and interesting and Fun! They expose people to a wide variety of Jewish experiences and expressions. It has been so good to find a Jewish home for our family with such great resources and our roles have been as client, student, volunteer, etc. We are so grateful.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family is interfaith and we discovered Judaism Your Way several years ago when we were searching for a rabbi who would consent to marry us in a combined Jewish/Christian ceremony. We found in Judaism Your Way an organization and a staff that has been so supportive and inclusive of our family and our needs. We felt very excluded from the synagogues we had went to with family and friends; a community that was very vocally against any kind of interfaith marriages and family. Judaism Your Way opened their doors to us, and because of this we have found a new community of interfaith friends, religious experiences that our family feels comfortable with, and spiritual dialogue that we felt was missing in our life. My husband, who is Jewish, had been very unconnected from Judaism for years. He further distanced himself from Judaism when we received no warmth from other Jewish organizations and synagogues when we searched for a spiritual home as a family. Now, he embraces his Jewish identity more and is comfortable in continuing to explore his Jewish roots and spirituality. As a non Jew, I feel very welcomed. I have always felt comfortable in asking questions and seeking knowledge, even when I know it is very basic. We look forward to celebrating more life events with Judaism Your Way as our family grows: baby namings, child education, and family spiritual events. Judaism Your Way is a part of our spiritual family!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I atended High Holy Day Services at JYW and they were really wonderful. The whole idea of creating an environment and services that reaches out to jews of diverse backgrounds and degrees and types of engagements is great. So often organized Judaism feels exclusionary; this is inclusionary. So often organized Judaism seems rather dedicated to doing their thing but not really thinking about whether it engages or is meaningful to the people who (might) attend. JYW thinks deeply about that. When mixed couples attend usual Jewish services they seem to feel uncomfortable -- or so folks I know have said -- actually they often say they are made to feel uncomfortable -- yet people can't seem to understand why these folks don't want to attend services. Rabbi Brian is very creative and thoughtful, insightful and incisive, and the wonderful services were put on -- in a rented venue -- but two paid staff! Talk about great use of donors' money! So, they are doing a phenomenal job -- it's meaningful,personal, and very important. Six Stars

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in Denver 2008 for Rosh Hashana and was privileged to attend services conducted by Rabbi Brian Field. The services took place under a great tent on a glorious sunny fall day. There were at least four to five hundred people of all ages who became a community and worshiped together. Rabbi Field conducted a beautiful and meaningful service and I thank Judaism Your Way Jewish for making this available. What a wonderful opportunity for other cities across the country to replicate.

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

I've been attending the High Holy days with Judaism Your Way for several years. They are very inclusive, generous and kind. I love their musically-oriented services. They are a terrific organization!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been attending the High Holy Days services for the last 4-5 years, and Judaism Your Way bring a real Jewish presents into my life. I appreciate all that they do to make everyone feel like they are where they are supposed to be. From the Rabbi to the staff, everyone makes and effort to be inclusive. That's very comforting.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a family with one parent from a Reform background and one from a Conservative and Rabbi Field's services are the only ones that feel right to both of us. We have been attending stop-in-shabbat and high holiday services since we first moved to Denver a few years ago; not only is Rabbi Field sincere, kind, and knowledgeable, but he continues to evolve as a Rabbi, which is wonderful to see. Another thing we like: are a non-traditional family (two moms), and have always felt completely comfortable at JYW services- JYW is a proud and out loud supporter of the gay community (e.g. presence at Pride). JYW has an odd name, but it is a wonderful service and I'm grateful that it exists.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I "found" Judaism Your Way and its High Holiday services after becoming dissolutioned with my traditional synagogue which I had attended my entire life. My two children are in interfaith marriages and this inclusive gathering that is full of respect and welcomes the diversity among us, answered the needs of my family. It plays a vital role in the lives of Jews and non-Jews as they relate to Judaism each, in a very personal manner.

2

Client Served

Rating: 4

They are open and non-judgemental.The rabbi lead a service for my gay jewish group.My partner felt accepted at the Yom Kippur service. Another non jewish friend like the seder dinner.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Awesome to have a place to take my kids that is welcoming, warm and available. My daughter is excited about Judaism becuse of the services run for free by Judaism Your Way.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

JYW's mission is "to meet you where you are" on the path to Jewish spirituality. I have found a place that truly exceeds what they have set out to do. My partner Paul and I have just recently been married by Rabbi Field. I have never witnessed such love for 2 people joining their souls together. We have attended services and work-shops led by Rabbi Field and as we are inter-faith, Paul always feels welcomed and appreciated. I wish I could go on and on, but this organization is truly an asset to our lives and our spiritual journey. Kevin - Wheat Ridge, CO

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Rabbi Field and Judaism Your Way were recommended to my fiance and I when we moved to Denver. As an interfaith couple wanting to start a jewish family, we wanted to have a Jewish Wedding. Luckily, we found Rabbi Field to officiate. Rabbi Field provided pre-marital counseling and helped us create a wedding ceremony that was wonderful for us. Just as important our guests were moved by the ceremony and everyone felt included. Rabbi Field and Judaism Your Way provide inclusive, progressive, and essential services to an expanding constituency, and do so with care and compassion.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband found Judaism Your Way through an internet search when we were looking for someone to marry an interfaith couple in Breckenridge, CO. Our experience was incredible and far exceeded our expectations! Rabbi Field did a fabulous job of incorporating both of our backgrounds into the ceremony, and of using they ideas we came up with as well. Numerous guests commented on how wonderful the ceremony was. I would recommend this organization to any interfaith couple!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Made our interfaith wedding wonderful and appropriate for both families. It was special for everyone. Fabulous! We would recommend this to anyone who wants to involve Judaism and it wonderful traditions in their wedding.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

my wife jamie and i were lucky to part of the first interfaith couples group offered by judaism your way. we can say that when we started we had expectations and questions. when we finished the meetings we were spiritually in a place, that with out the assistance of rabbi brian, we do not think that we would have achieved. we still find ourselves challenged at times and when we are, rabbi brian and his organization come to our mind as a place for further assistance. for that my wife and i are forever grateful.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Judaism Your Way provides a unique service for the community. Rabbi Field creates an atmosphere where Jews and non-Jews feel comfortable exploring the vast richness of the Jewish traditions, history, and beliefs. The organization provides free holiday services, Shabbat evenings, and other festival events in an effort to welcome everyone. My wife and I are a mixed-faith couple. Rabbi Field and Judaism Your Way specialize in mixed-faith family issues and welcoming back "marginalized Jews." Judaism Your Way provides a non-judgmental and open atmosphere for us to develop Jewish traditions that work for our family. Rabbi Field's willingness to work with us over many months and his individualized attention to the specific questions, conflicts, and concerns that arise from "Jewish ambivalence" gave me the confidence to reconnect with Judaism.