On April 23rd the Eser young adult series wrapped up to rave reviews. We’re looking forward to running the program again next winter/spring with a new “Top Ten” theme. Here are what four participants shared at the closing program:

Rianne Mares: Newton Group

Eser has been a really fun experience for me. I participated in LEADS and Wandering and Wonderings (Eser’s predecessor) and believe that these series are a great way to get to know other young Jews and their backgrounds. My discussions with the other Eser participants gave me a window into many different perspectives. I loved how talking about our traditions and beliefs connected us to people in a very different way than just going to a one-time Jewish event. Our Newton Eser group connected in a deep way – we have already hung out together informally and are planning “reunions” to learn together more. Rabbi Neil Hirsch, Becky Price and Jason Stark did an awesome job leading our group over the last weeks! It was such fun to have discussions with so many opinionated people who have a great sense of humor! Thank you!

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Rachel Levy: Cambridge Group

Since moving to Boston two years ago, I wanted to discover the opportunities Boston has to offer Jewish young adults, but was hesitant to go to events alone. When I was introduced to Elisha Gechter by my rabbi from home, she gave me the push I needed to step out of my comfort zone and expand my Jewish horizons.  Participating in Eser has not only allowed me to meet peers, but it also gave me a way to expand my Jewish knowledge and ideas in a comfortable, relaxed environment. After the first session I felt completely comfortable with everyone in the group. We bonded automatically over our interest to meet new people and participate in Jewish learning. The program fit the needs of all types of people with all sorts of Jewish backgrounds – this allowed us to learn from one another while also learning from our experienced and thought provoking leaders. Thank you to Elisha Gechter, Marc Sloat and Samantha Joseph for leading us. I left Eser feeling more comfortable with myself and my ability to ask questions and accept the things that confuse me about Judaism.  Eser has given me the foundation to continue my journey.

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Andrea Bullock: Brookline Group

Eser was a great way to rekindle my interest in and enthusiasm for Jewish learning. The program fulfilled its mission well; to address 10 topics that make Judaism unique and that Judaism has brought to the world. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn together, and to learn about one another, our culture and our traditions. We did so both by sharing our own experiences and reflecting on Jewish texts. This made for a fun, exciting, and very enriching Jewish learning opportunity. Thank you to our leaders Rabbi Rachel Silverman, Daniel Solomon and Eliane Dreyfus!

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Korei Klein: Brookline Group

I am the type of person that likes to think about how I relate to religion – but thinking about something on my own isn’t as powerful as choosing to attend something like Eser where, by showing up, I affirmed my commitment. At each session we got into very interesting, relevant, topics that I was eager to discuss with others (including topics I’d previously spent time trying to understand). Many of the people in my group had different backgrounds and upbringings than I did. I gained perspective by listening to everyone’s reactions to the texts we were reading and the things we were sharing. Surprisingly, I found that I enjoy talking a bit more than listening – being able to voice my thoughts about various aspects of Judaism to other people solidified my opinions on subjects that were important to me and helped me figure out how to convey my thoughts to others. Our rabbi, Daniel Klein, and leaders Alegira Aigen and Talia Abrahms did a great job creating the space for us to share these things with our group.

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