The SPARK Fellowship to Ignite Innovation is an 8-month learning and practical experience for Jewish institutions seeking to cultivate a culture of innovation and experimentation, with an eye towards building for the future.

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SPARK FELLOWSHIP CASE STUDY

Please listen to the following 30-minute audio case study featuring Ayana Morse, who was until recently the Executive Director of the Silverlake Independent JCC in Los Angeles.

Often innovative JCCs are doing synagogue-like things, and innovative synagogues are doing JCC-like things; as one example, Ayana Morse mentions in this case study that the Silverlake Independent JCC now offers High Holiday services attended by over 1,000 people! 

The Silverlake Independent JCC is knows for its creativity and for fostering a community of “Jewish creatives,” who are precisely the kinds of people that legacy Jewish institutions fail to connect with. Jill Soloway, the creator of the TV show “Transparent” has been a central figure in making the Silverlake Independent JCC the creative community that it is, and the JCC is believed to be one of the inspirations for the Jewish center in which various scenes take place on the show.

As Ayana describes, the JCC was almost shuttered during a major downsizing of the JCCs in Los Angeles. Thanks to the community rallying around its early childhood center as well as the JCC's merging with a startup community of creatives in the neighborhood, a critical mass made it possible to build an exciting hub of Jewish creativity and community.

As you listen, pay special attention Ayana's language. From making sure she knows what people actually want (and not only on what they say they want) to keeping faith with the community by never asking for feedback unless she is prepared to act on it, we can get a sense of why the SIJCC operates so successfully.

Silverlake Independent JCC - Ayana Morse
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