I’ve always had an entrepreneurial, creative spirit bubbling up inside of me, but haven’t always known what to do with it. A list of great project ideas that never came to fruition could fill this blog post…and then some. If I were making that list, I would start with my third grade brilliant idea of sparerib holders for my elementary school’s Invention Convention (nice kosher girl I was at age 8!). It could’ve sold big, I swear.
Until recently, I had only really created one successful thing (a T-shirt), and while it was widely sold, it could have flourished into something greater with the right tools. I needed some guidance, some instruction and perhaps a little bit of hand-holding.
For over a year, I had been dreaming up a website that would let consumers compare artists (performance and visual) to help make educated choices. It stemmed from the practical experience of wanting to hire a performer for Purim at the synagogue where I was working as the education director. Aside from the personal advertisements that had been flooding the synagogue’s mailbox (and thus my desk), I had no way of knowing who was out there, how good they were (since they all assured me they were AMAZING) or where to look for other options.
And yet, my brilliant idea of “Yelp for Jewish performers” was tossed out at meetings and continually put on the back-burner. Without the skills to make it happen on my own, I let go of it. Until, that is, the PresenTense fellowship came around. “Yelp for Jewish performers” quickly morphed into “a Jewish Etsy,” which has, in turn, morphed into Homegrown Judaica, an online community for artists and people who love art.
Homegrown Judaica seeks to empower people to engage with art and with the Jewish community. Rather than being a stand-alone marketplace, it will be an all-encompassing experience. When a couple comes to HGJ looking for a ketubah, they will find ketubot, explanations of ketubot (history, translation, variations, etc.), various text options (traditional and modern), discussions on considerations for who should sign it, personal stories and much more. Judaica and art can and should serve as entry points into the Jewish community, both for buyer and seller.
It may be a far cry from the Invention Convention, but I bet my third grade teacher would be proud.
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