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How can people of Jewish heritage meet others of like mind when they are new to a city? That is, without the trappings of organized RELIGIOUS worship, etc.

We are an adult married couple, with adult children, so we aren't interested in the dating game (singles have their own websites and places to meet for dating). It would be nice to identify and share with others that probably feel as we do.

As we are new to an area, where there are certainly many Jews, and there are two synagogues (one a Reconstructionist and one a Chabad), neither would fill our need without participating in their ceremonies and rituals. And we don't subscribe to either ones motivation although they are indeed in the recruiting mode.

We are not interested in religious worshiping and we know that over half the Jews in America feel the same way. Yet we have similar backgrounds that are fun to recall. Individually, and collectively, we can all enjoy the good-feeling of being an American of Jewish heritage and culture, without the mishagash of religion.

Is there a way to find and meet other Jews who would like to befriend each other and share our common heritage (without ceremony).

Is this possible?

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Hello Barry and welcome to Mi Yodeya! Thank you for bringing your question here. I hope you enjoy the site. I look forward to seeing you around. And good luck in getting settled in your new home! –  Monica Cellio Mar 24 '13 at 16:47
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May I interest you in moving to a country where most people you interact with are likely to be Jewish? –  avi Mar 25 '13 at 14:05
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1 Answer

Some options:

  • JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) -- these have a wide variety of things going on, everything from lectures to social events to fitness classes; see if there's one where you live.

  • Find the local Jewish newspaper or community web site, which is likely to advertise non-religious events along with the religious ones. My local newspaper announces/advertises lectures, classes, social gatherings (some taregeted to particular groups, some not), professional networking gatherings, organized mitzvah programs, and more.

  • Check out those synagogues. Seriously, a synagogue isn't just about worship; in addition to being a beit t'filah (house of prayer) a synagogue is also supposed to be a beit midrash (house of learning) and a beit knesset (house of assembly). You will likely find lectures, interactive classes, social gatherings, concerts, organized outings, organized tikkun-olam activities (e.g. group-organized neighborhood/park cleanup, cooking meals for the needy, etc), and more. For one example, my synagogue has an "empty nesters" group that gets together for dinner and conversation, or sometimes an outing to the theatre or a sports event.

  • Networking from your previous city. The world is a smaller place than it used to be; does anybody you know from "back home" know anybody in your new city, and can that person make an introduction? (Email is fine for this.)

The trick when breaking into a new community is to make those first contacts. Once you have Jewish friends with interests similar to yours, you're on your way to meeting more, finding out about more stuff that's going on, and feeling like you're really part of the community. Find something that piques your interest and see where it leads you.

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+1, but just to note: bet k'neset, while literally "assembly house", is an idiom meaning "prayer house". –  msh210 Mar 25 '13 at 6:19
    
@msh210, but also business and maybe social gathering-place, right? This is the aspect where we interact with other people, as opposed to the beit t'filah where we're primarily interacting with God. –  Monica Cellio Mar 25 '13 at 14:08
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Yes and no. The Bavli (M'gila) discusses bes k'neses and bes midrash and the differences, and it's clear from Rashi there (I'm not familiar with other views) that the former is a prayer house specifically. You may be right etymologically, but I think that the word by the times of the Bavli already meant a prayer house and that, while it now includes buildings/organizations that people do other things in, the idea of prayer is still primary in its intent. –  msh210 Mar 25 '13 at 16:33
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