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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

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's the best way possible to make interesting new friends with an interest in Judaism. It's a REAL asset to our community.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization provides a wonderful, spiritual, and meaningful experience every time I have attended. The High Holiday services, the stargazing and menorah-gazing at Chanukah, the folk dancing at the Shabbats at the park, the Challah baking--- all are not offered anywhere else.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I was visiting my daughter in Denver last September. She does not belong to a temple but had heard of Judaism Your Way. My husband, daughter and her family and I went to Judaism Your Way for the High Holidays and were made to feel very welcome. At that time my grand daughter decided to join a new girls group that Rabbi Brian spoke of and has attended and loved the first meeting. She is also now doing her Bat Mitzvah with Rabbi Brian and my daughter is getting involved also. I look forward to my next visit to Denver and also to Judaism Your Way.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am an active member of two synagogues in the Denver area and support both with my volunteer time and financially. I've been lucky enough to have attended several JYW events every year for the past four years and each time, I find it a deeply nourishing, Jewishly grounded experience. JYW is one of my Jewish homes. I have come to depend on JYWs perspective, I learn things there that I don't experience elsewhere, and I continue to remain just as active in my other Jewish commitments. I consider myself Jewishly well-educated and very comfortable and relaxed in my Jewish identity. I wish I could say I'm personally more comfortable with intermarriage, but I struggle with this reality.  I can really understand the Jewish leaders who throw up their hands in despair about intermarriage because, as liberal and "welcoming" as I am and try to be, on the inside I have often felt much grief that the Jewish people can seem like it is melting away. So I deeply understand the instinct to say "no" and close the door.   But I resent the fear-mongering that goes on in our community as it whips up a lot of feelings but doesn't get us closer to a flexible set of responses that deal with the reality of changing Jewish lives. Many of us, even if we are Jews in committed relationships with Jews like I am, have multiple affiliations and have more complex identities than did our parents. I want a Jewish community that knows how to journey with me, not just to wave good bye if I or my relatives or friends have lives that happen to resemble a braided candle.  Like many of the understandably scared Jewish leaders, I was raised to feel that non-Jews could never be allies to me or my community's vitality, that they represented the end of things, never the beginnings, that their eagerness to learn about Judaism, or to support me was somehow suspect or hollow.  Our outreach programs to interfaith families have also been on the hollow side. There still remains a huge chasm, a persistent sense of a "we" and a "they" - in and out of synagogue life.  I think some outreach programs have been effective but many have lacked a deeper, more confident infrastructure such as what Rabbi Field provides.  Rabbi Field has developed an extremely well thought-out framework for reminding people like me that Judaism has always taken in and used "outside" influences to grow and to refine our culture's responses to the divine, to the larger community, to each other.  What a thought to consider - that perhaps we are not chronically faced with dilution (annihilation) all the time but have opportunities to expand and grow while standing firmly on Jewish ground.  Rabbi Field is demonstrating how Judaism can be the "host," that we can reckon with the inevitable demographic changes - trends which are bigger than all of us - through deep engagement. He's showing that closing the door just won't work for the short or long-term health and vitality of our community. I watch Rabbi Field assume that many non-Jews with great integrity want to know how to stand with and stand up for their family members and our community as it morphs into the next form. As foreign as it is to my upbringing, I have begun to understand Rabbi Field's belief that many people want to be allies to our community and can be counted on to be effective, to be aware of the complexities and richness of the Jewish journey. They can be enlisted to support their spouses, friends and children who hunger for Jewish connections and knowledge even if they have no idea how or where to get it.  25 years ago a wonderful rabbi shut the door -- "nicely" -- in my brother's and his non-Jewish fiancee's face, and my brother hardly ever showed up in any form of Jewish life again. The fallout from this all-too-common experience continues - his two twenty-something children are smart, alive people but on the Jewish front they are confused - I can see that they have all the Jewish worries without any of the goodies.  Had this family been supported by a JYW I believe these young people would have a much more clear understanding of their legacy and be able to feel entitled to belong -that they have a claim on Judaism, that we need them - even if they did not have two Jewish parents but only one. If they saw their father as a legitimate, fully supported member of the community, whose Jewish contributions were sought and valued even if his life partner wasn't Jewish, how different their identity journey might have been.  Instead I think they see their father as having been pushed out for making a choice (when he was only 25!) that sealed his and their fates as forever "questionable" Jews.  I can deeply understand rabbis seeing themselves as the ones who must set boundaries, the ones who must ask people to make tough choices, etc. I believe that Rabbi Field's way of doing this same work - of maintaining the Jewish people's health -- is to say yes and to say it from a position of strength. He is not guarding the goodies for the "committed-enough" (by whose definition?), so much as inviting people to understand the goodies, to partake, to share them with others.  I think Rabbi Field certainly understands the more guarded worldview, but he does not want it to prevail, or to substitute for differently responsive leadership.  Rabbi Field positions Judaism as a strong host for a changing Jewish community while at the same time deepening and expanding Jewish expression in exciting ways. Some examples that come to mind include (1) JYW’s new Open Tent Bnai Mitzvah program which supports four different ways for young people to Jewishly celebrate their coming of age, (2) their embrace of cutting edge expressions of Jewish spirituality such as Storahtelling, and (3) their Tu b’Av Jewish Festival of Love - where my partner and I got to explore relationship dynamics from a Jewish spiritual perspective, hear Jewish love stories for grown-ups, and watch couple after couple renew their vows under the huppah. I wish Rabbi Field and JYW continued recognition for the important contribution they are making to Denver's Jewish community. Denver can be proud to be the incubator for a program and an approach which many of us feel should be getting national attention. 

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Judaism Your Way, under the leadership of Rabbi Brian Field, has given an opportunity to so many who have felt disenfranchised in trying to be part of the Jewish community. Rabbi Brian has indeed been creative, imaginative, and understanding in making each individual or family comfortable and relevant in their approach to Judaism. This organization has had a great beneficial effect in the Jewish community in their outreach approach.I really enjoyed the Tu b'Av Jewish Festival of love! Keep up the good work!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so fortunate to live in Denver Colorado with such an innovative Jewish Congregation to fill the needs of unaffiliated Jews in my city. I have tried to find a congregation in Denver, wandering from Reformed, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Synagogues with no personal connection to any of them. Rabbi Field and the Board have created a place that meets my needs on many spiritual levels. My relationship with Judaism Your Way has stimulated my interest in making a more profound and consistent spiritual connection to my Jewish roots and beliefs. In addition, Rabbi Field also was able to perform my Uncle's funeral service. My Uncle was unaffiliated with a Synagogue at the time of his death, and found his relationship to many of the Jewish Religious Institutions frustrating. He would have liked Rabbi Field, who stepped in and performed a wonderful and touching service for my mourning family. Friends of mine tease me about the name and question the simplicity of using a name that says it all. Judaism your way truly meets people where they are, wherever they are, on their spiritual path.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I felt included when I began attending Judaism Your Way, previously I had never felt this way. My husband is not Jewish and I did not feel he was accepted at other Temples we attended. Being accepted is a huge factor for me. The services maintain tradition, while trying to explain the traditions many of us may not understand. The positive approach to explaining the scriptures is also soothing, rather than guilt ridden.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was raised with Orthodox Judaism. I attended a Yeshiva for many years and practiced what I was taught. After much soul searching I rejected the Jewish religion. When I served in the U.S. Air Force I was introduced to Reform Judaism. This I liked for many years. Again with soul searching I once again rejected the Jewish religion. After many years of disbelief I found Judaism Your Way, and this did it for me. All Jews are welcomed with their beliefs. I have found a home for me and my family at last.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Judaism Your Way was the organization that I turned to when I was ready to begin my formal conversion to Judaism. Rabbi Field was able to answer all of my questions and make me feel comfortable. Not only was he the Rabbi at my wedding, but he also has been able to help me on my spiritual quest during some down time in my conversion process (conflicting schedules because of nursing school right now!) I have found Judaism Your Way to be the organization I will always be involved with because of the amazing people and their involvement in the community!

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The 'Big Tent' of Judaism! Warmth and kindness combined with knowledge and experience. And a unique ability to accept people as they are and help them achieve their personal and spiritual goals without judgement. If only cloning were far enough along to create a gaggle of Rabbi Brians...

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been to two functions for this organization the August 'Tu B'Av festival of Love' which was very exciting and fun for the entire family with musical entertainment, dancing, workshops, food, and great craft booths. I also spent Yom Kippur with Judaism Your Way and loved their 'storah telling' a dramatic telling of a torah story. But experiences was enchanting.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Rabbi Brian Officiated our wedding ceremony and it was absolutely beautiful. Everyone who was there said it was the best wedding they had ever been to. They all loved the way he explained the traditions and the meanings behind the rituals. We have also attended High Holidays services and shabbat. We love the way everyone is welcome and make it so easy to keep involved in our jewish faith..

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter & her husband were married last month by Rabbi Brian Field. It was a very meaningful process and a very personal and spiritual ceremony. We were thrilled and impressed!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was trying to imagine Judaism that accepted me and my perspectives, that met me and my Jewish identity at the unique and dynamic point where I currently find myself, willing to openly accept and serve the range of Jews in Denver and Colorado who are active and spiritually viable, if somehow outside of the mainstream...and there was JUDAISM YOUR WAY, offering regular, relevant, timely, interesting, often cutting-edge Judaic programs and services that truly fill a void in our community. Chanukah at the Jewish deli, Tu B'shvat seder at the Jewish Museum, Kabbalat Shabbat in the park, a Passover 'Freedom Seder,' in collaboration with the African-American community, and held at the butterfly pavilion. (After all, who knows more about bondage and oppression than the descendants of slaves, and what better representation of freedom than butterflies?) All of these and more are ways that I've enjoyed and benefitted from this unique and wonderful Jewish entity in Denver. Their strength is in the nimble creativity and genuine depth they offer to anyone who's willing to give JYW a try.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have attended the JYW Seder for the past two years and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although we have our own seder at home, this offers a unique community experience. JYW provides a novel way of telling the Passover story with wonderful music, outstanding story tellers, great camaraderie and very good food. Next year, I will encourage friends to attend with us. Keep up the good work!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Denver/Boulder area is fortunate to be rich with many Jewish organizations. But Judaism Your Way goes far beyond what many other groups and synagogues offer. Many, admirably, strive to re-attract Jews who have wandered away from the faith. But JYW goes a step further: Once it has introduced people to a more joyous, spiritual Judaism, it offers to go deeper with them -- whether it's programming for interfaith or GLBT partners, or a months-long discussion group of Jewish ideas. Rabbi Brian Field is an incredibly warm, knowledgeable and thoughtful mensch who frequently goes the extra mile for people in his "congregation." A couple years ago, when I reached out to him during a spiritual crisis, he was very accessible -- and tremendously helpful -- even though he had known me only a short time. And even though there is no physical synagogue, and no weekly schedule of services, there is a very real congregation -- a group of people who feel a sense of connectedness and community when they come together for a JYW event. That's because of Rabbi Brian's efforts to engage us in real dialogue, and have authentic experiences together. That's why I'm willing to drive the 35 miles from Boulder to attend JYW events. JYW offers all this on a very limited budget, with no official "dues." It is truly a shining light in a dark era.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Judaism Your Way is such a refreshing, unstressful way to enjoy our culture and religion. Everyone feels included and welcome. Rabbi Field married my husband and me last year. Although my husband is Atheist, even he was fulfilled by the experience.