Friday, October 31, 2008

A Community of Practice

Lynne Wolfe writes:

We solidified ourselves as a community of practice during three days in September

A lone thinker or a group within the same discipline could not bring to an endeavor the level of creative process that took place. This was an exceptional moment in time!

Five veteran Jewish Outreach Professionals who work with Intermarried Families planned, received funding, and brought together nine other “on the ground” colleagues from different parts of the country with considerable experience in this field. One day was spent with Dr. Bruce Phillips, a demographer/ researcher in the Jewish Community. He discussed with us his research and that of others. We shared and exchanged the experiences of those we have actually worked with who are in the world he studies.

The commitment to ongoing dialogue with Dr. Phillips became mutually evident. It was clear that we need to communicate and “feed off of each other” so that we know we are reaching out to all those possible, and that the questions asked of participants in a study and answers given in future studies, be looked at in ways that speak to us in what we do. This approach would assist in the possible redesign, or validation of our programs. We further suggested that we participate in writing the questions to be asked so as to know the results of our expected outcomes.

For me this was one of the important outcomes that I anticipate will help to move our profession/discipline forward. Many of us this past year have been asked by Jewish Philanthropic Foundations about best practices…as a pioneer in this work having done it for over 17 years, I am in a position to elaborate. However, I believe it is time for the researchers to know more accurately what we are doing in order to collaborate so we can honestly validate or redesign and be able to move more effectively to share and widen our Jewish World.

Monday, October 13, 2008

After the Think Tank

The three of us from the Alliance were amazed and thrilled - we expected things to go well but we just didn't know the Think Tank would go this well! A million thanks to each of you who participated and to our wonderful funders, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation and the Walter and Elise Haas Sr. Fund. We are in the midst of writing up the results of our conversations.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Bruce Phillips, a well respected sociologist and demographer. We spent the first day with Dr. Phillips reviewing the current data on interfaith marriage. Fortunately for us, Dr. Phillips was recently asked to review all the current data for a book.

We look forward to sharing our experiences with others in this field.