The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s yearlong exploration of the community’s strengths and needs, The Front Porch: Unlocking the (Incredible) Potential of Jewish Atlanta, is in the middle of what Chief Impact Officer Jodi Lox Mansbach calls the discovery phase: gathering as much information as possible.
The Front Porch features three platforms for study and ideas: the Jewish Atlanta ecosystem; the cultivation of a Jewish renaissance through innovation; and the regeneration of Federation, whose efforts will depend on what the other two platforms produce.
In addition to individual interviews and field trips being conducted by the 100-plus people who are participating in the full process, facilitators are holding 13 listening forums over four weeks to bring as many voices as possible to the table.
Nine of the sessions have been arranged based on Jewish Atlanta’s diffuse geography; four are meant to connect with specific interest groups (seniors, empty-nesters, interfaith families and LGBTQ people).
“The community study has taught us geography, geography, geography, so we’re just going to kill ourselves and go everywhere,” Mansbach said.
Liz Solms, a partner in the boutique Philadelphia consulting firm working on The Front Porch, Insyte Partners, said the people who attend a listening forum will set the agenda for that session.
After an introduction to The Front Porch, anyone will be able to suggest a needed conversation, such as how to create a meaningful experience after Birthright or how to make Atlanta fantastic for interfaith families. All the suggestions will be added to an agenda on the wall, and attendees will decide which of those conversations to hold (say, five simultaneous topics during each of two discussion periods).
People choose which of the active conversations to join, and if they aren’t learning or aren’t participating, they can walk over to a different conversation. Someone takes notes in each conversation, then the results are shared by the full group at the end of the meeting.
In other words, each listening forum will be unique, dependent on the interests and input of its participants.
The 2½-hour Front Porch listening forums are being held at the following times and places (all are free to attend; you’re asked to RSVP to Ligi George at 404-870-1617 or email@example.com):
- Wednesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m., Windsor at Brookhaven, 305 Brookhaven Ave., Brookhaven.
- Wednesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m., Young Israel of Toco Hills, 2056 LaVista Road, Toco Hills.
- Thursday, Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m., Ponce City Market (Jamestown, seventh floor), 675 Ponce de Leon Ave., Old Fourth Ward.
- Friday, Oct. 20, 9:30 a.m., Berman Commons, 2026 Womack Road, Dunwoody (for seniors).
- Monday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.
- Tuesday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m., Temple Beth David, 1885 McGee Road, Snellville.
- Tuesday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m., Ponce City Market (Industrious, eighth floor), 675 Ponce de Leon Ave., Old Fourth Ward (for interfaith families).
- Thursday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m., SOJOURN, 1530 DeKalb Ave., Suite A, Atlanta (for LGBTQ+ people).
- Monday, Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m., Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway, East Cobb.
- Wednesday, Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m., JF&CS, 4549 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody (for empty-nesters).
- Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 p.m., Temple Beth Tikvah, 9955 Coleman Road, Roswell.
- Wednesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m., private home, Johns Creek (call 404-870-1617 for the address).
- Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m., Agnes Scott College, Letitia Pate Evans Hall (terrace level), 213 S. Candler St., Decatur.