Jewish Futures has announced the launch of its Our Story project.

Our Story will be a cutting-edge space in the heart of NW London that will enable young people to experience Jewish life, practices, culture and community in an immersive and relevant way.

The essential need for a new kind of space

Outlining the vision behind the project, Rabbi Naftali Schiff (Founder and Chief Executive of Jewish Futures) explained,

“Over the last twenty years, the demand for immersive Jewish experiences has grown exponentially. This has informed the work of all the organisations in the Jewish Futures family.

“Our team is passionate about offering diverse and experiential pathways for young people to experience the joy of being Jewish. This ranges from life-changing volunteering opportunities provided by GIFT; Aish UK’s array of education and social programmes; Chazak’s work to enrich and inspire Sephardic communities; Ta’am engaging young Jews with the richness of their heritage through Jewish food and cooking; and JRoots running powerful educational journeys to educate thousands of young people about the Holocaust.

“The Our Story project will bring all this work together, meeting the essential need for a state-of-the-art space for young people to explore Jewish life and identity. As well as a place to chill out and socialise, we want to foster a modern and lively space that will be an inspiration for anyone who enters!”

The concept

The Our Story space will be a vibrant hub to inspire a new generation of engaged and intellectually curious young Jews.

As well as being the home to all Jewish Futures member organisations, Our Story will serve as a resource for organisations from across the communal spectrum.

Through collaborative and creative partnerships, Our Story will offer powerful ways for young people to engage with what it means to be Jewish today. It will be a touchstone in the heart of the community that will captivate and engage individuals, schools and groups from all different religious and cultural background in a welcoming inclusive and non-judgmental fashion”, Rabbi Schiff added.

Early plans for the Our Story venue include:

  • Multi-pathway spaces, open for the use of Jewish Futures organisations and other educational organisations, including interactive workshop and learning spaces bringing key aspects of Jewish history and culture to life for younger audiences.
  • Dynamic communal space: catering to the ever growing and changing needs of the community, including a dedicated space for pre-simcha planning and preparation.
  • Office and co-working facilities – including WeWork-style facilities open to young businesspeople and start-up businesses.

A resource for the wider community to experience Jewish life

Interactive and engaging learning will be a key feature of the Our Story project. Rabbi Daniel Rowe, Executive Director of Jewish Futures’ member organisation Aish UK highlighted the importance of a venue dedicated to immersive Jewish experiences:

Young people today don’t just want to learn about Judaism, they want to be able to experience what Jewish life really entails. That is why Our Story will be a hub for interactive learning, which goes beyond classes and lectures, and allows young people to gain a deeper understanding of Judaism as a way of life, not just a set of concepts”.

Ilana Epstein, Founder of Ta’am and Rebbetzin of Cockfosters & N. Southgate United Synagogue added, “Our Story will bring Judaism to life, for young Jews as well as young people interested in learning more about our community. It will not be a museum of Jewish life, but a living and breathing venue for learning and exploration”.

Summing up the Our Story project,Rabbi Schiff added, “This project will invite young Jews of all backgrounds to step into the unique and unfolding story of our people. By giving a choice of multiple pathways for Jewish engagement, our hope is that this project will inspire young people to write their own chapter in Our Story.”