BRANCH SPOTLIGHT: JINSPIRE BROOKLYN – EVGENIA KAGAN

What does it take to change a person’s life, to watch their Jewish neshamah grow and blossom? It takes the infinite kindness, wisdom and patience of our dearest Brooklyn JInspire leaders. A year ago I met these outstanding women for the first time, at Spoons café on Ave J, for the JInspire trip interview. I remember sitting there with much trepidation, because… I never spoke to Orthodox Jews before. I never prayed before. I never thought about our religion seriously.

You see, what makes the task challenging (and oh so much fun) for our brave leaders is our participants’ unique background. We all are Russian speaking, first-generation immigrants, all educated career women. We were born as natural skeptics in the most secular place on Earth and shunned religion from our thoughts and vocabulary. One tough Russian crowd!

Fast forward to our magical trip, the many get togethers, books, lectures and countless events. Brooklyn JInspire brought us together for a Chanukah Wine & Paint Night, Challah bakes, the Shabbat project weekend, a Tu B’Shvat celebration (on the coldest day of the year). Most recently, we participated in  a wonderful Secret of Intimacy workshop, where we met JInspire sisters from other Brooklyn trips. Incidentally, they all spoke Russian.

What connects us now is no longer our past, but our present, our shared continuing journey. Every time we meet, we grow spiritually, together. These meetings, and weekly lessons with learning partners, and even t WhatsApp chat, keep us alive, connected and inspired.

Thank you Brooklyn JInspire for being our lifeline, support network and our extended family. I feel so happy and proud to belong.

Greetings from Brooklyn!

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