CHABAD of Brisbane has announced the creation of two fresh divisions to engage young Jews in the community, to be facilitated by shlichim experienced in working with teenagers and young adults.
Rabbi Shneur and Mushkie Hecht are due to arrive in Brisbane from the United States in the coming weeks to spearhead the launch and implementation of Chabad Brisbane Teens and Young Jewish Adults of Brisbane (YJAB). With Chabad Teens for ages 12-18 and YJAB for ages 18-25, these two groups will target unaffiliated teenagers, university students and young professionals.
“Unfortunately, many of our teenagers and young adults either drift away from the community, or they choose to move interstate in order to live within a more vibrant Jewish environment,” said Chabad of Brisbane’s Rabbi Levi Jaffe.
“It is therefore imperative for us to be more proactive in engaging this demographic, in order to stem the tide of assimilation and strengthen our local Jewish infrastructure,” Rabbi Jaffe told The AJN.
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Hecht will work together to oversee all aspects of this project, including the launch of these two divisions, marketing, promotion, recruitment, organisation, direction, and implementing programs and events, as well as maintaining ongoing connections with all participants.
Among the programs to be offered within this new framework are monthly Jewish teens club, JLI (Jewish Learning Institute) Teens, Shabbat dinners, Shabbaton weekend retreats, university campus programs, and Jewish singles events.
It is intended that the young couple will partner with other local Jewish organisations and youth groups.
Rabbi Hecht said he and his wife, together with their two young children, are looking forward to making the move to Brisbane.
“We are particularly excited to meet the many teenagers and young adults and to enhance the Jewish communal infrastructure, by introducing and maintaining educational and social initiatives for this demographic,” he said.
Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies president Jason Steinberg welcomed the initiative, acknowledging that many in that age group don’t connect well with the community.
“For a small community like ours, it’s terrific to have additional professionals working with sections of our community. And engaging the youth and young adults is particularly important in a small community because it keeps that demographic active and connected,” he said.
“We’re excited about the work the new shlichim will do to forward that objective.”