In-Reach aims to facilitate the growth of Jewish movements that are important to young Jews today. Our "Greenhouse", focuses on growing projects that brings Judaism to where young adults already are, or, into their everyday lives. Our programs not only get young adults involved in Jewish events, but also put them in the leadership roles, supporting them in facilitating their own grassroots Jewish events.
JamShalom is the flagship program of In-Reach – our answer to making Judaism more accessible to today’s young adults. JamShalom Rocks provides open and free hospitality tents at music festivals across North America, wherein the JamShalom crew offers friendship, inspirational conversation, and Shabbat experiences in a warm and non-judgemental environment. JamShalom’s unique “no-agenda” approach to Jewish engagement enables young Jews, and their friends of all faiths, to feel comfortable finding their own path to Spiritual connection. For many young adults, spirituality is a social experience, and JamShalom demonstrates that Jewish and Spiritual connection can be found in their everyday lives and within their own communities. When the festival season is over, the JamShalom Roots program brings the community of the festival lot to college campuses and communities across America throughout the year with Jambassador lead Shabbat events.
In 2015, JamShalom directly engaged over 2,500 young adults from all walks of life.
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Up to two Shabbats a month at Beit Simcha are dedicated to spreading the light by inviting up to 20 young adults for a fun and spiritual Shabbat in the Negev. Rabbi Shu and his family welcome each guest as a member of the family, making each person feel completely at home.
With this warm and welcoming environment, Rabbi Shu enables these young adults to explore their own path to spiritual connection and open themselves up to experiencing Judaism in a positive and inspiration light. Over 200 young adults have come through the Eliovson home over the past 8 years. Many continue to come back whenever their travels bring them to Israel. Rabbi Shu sees Beit Simcha as a place to facilitate open questioning, doubting, exploring, and learning without judgment, an important step in the Jewish Journey, which many young people are uncomfortable expressing in the construct of their seminaries/yeshivas, year programs, communities, and hometowns.
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The Shu Shine
In his weekly podcast, Shu-Shine for Shabbat, Rabbi Shu offers his unique insights on the Torah portion and holidays. Based in acceptance and non-judgment, he addresses big questions about Judaism and Torah raised by his students and his own journey. Each week, people around the world take the time to listen to Rabbi Shu as he grapples with tough questions in life and Judaism and shines some light onto the beauty and truth behind the words of the Torah and other ancient texts. Using real world examples and practical applications, listeners are able to understand the deep significance of the weekly parsha in their own lives.
Past podcasts are currently being transcribed to be edited into book form.
Like any true grassroots movement, In-Reach is putting the action in the hands of the community. HolyChillers.com will be an online community that will connect open-minded young Jews looking for a warm Shabbat experience to find likeminded ‘Holy Hosts’ to spend Shabbat with (like a Couchsurfers.com or airBNB for young and searching Jews). The platform will create a space for Jews across the the USA and Israel to facilitate and experience Jewish connection of all kinds.
In-Reach is preparing easy and cost-effective menus for Shabbat hosts, a ‘who-knows-who’ referral system, fun ways of matchmaking what ‘flavor’ of Judaism hosts are offering and guests are looking for, and plans to offer Shabbat Meal Stipends for those hosts opening their doors to large gatherings of Holy Chillers.
This project is currently in planning and development and is expected to be launched in late 2017.
OneSheet & Budget Coming Soon!
TheLockers.net was an online peer-counseling community in which Jewish teens could freely and anonymously discuss the burning issues in their lives. From 2001-2009 TheLockers.net Portal reached over 15,000 teens and conducted more than 1,600 supervised group discussions for teens. Over 900 discussions have centered around religion and education, while the 700+ clinical discussions have prevented four suicides, referred multiple teens into drug and alcohol rehab programs, and effected soft-interventions for dozens of teens suffering from family-abuse, engaged in high-risk sexual situations, and otherwise struggling with high-risk adolescent matters. TheLockers.net Portal was visited by more than 3,000 teens a week, most of whom were struggling with the conflict between Jewish values and American teen culture. Over 70% of teens introduced to the program stayed in contact afterward.
The Virtual Parent
The Virtual Parent, a workshop for parents of Jewish teens, was developed and presented by In-Reach founder, Rabbi Shu Eliovson. During the 90-minute workshop Rabbi Shu delved into the ways today’s media culture impacts our children, offering innovative approaches to raising healthy children in a modern world. By breaking down the media’s teen-targeting tactics, this workshop offered parents and community leaders the steps to combat media influence on their children, while instilling Jewish values and honoring their child’s independence.
The Virtual Parents has been presented in communities across America to over 2,000 parents, as well as at the 200_ Rabbinical Council of America Conference, the 200_ Yarchei Kallah Conference, to students at the Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, and to six consecutive years of graduating Rabbinical students in Yeshiva University’s REITS program. Material from The Virtual Parents is still used in curriculums for Yeshiva University’s Azrieli School for Teaching and Wertzweiler School of Social Work.