L’Chaim City Limits will attract folks from all walks of Jewish life
L’Chaim — community life for NextGen Jews is alive
By Deb Silverthorn
Many l’chaim toasts will be raised, to the lives of Jewish young adults gathering from around the United States and the world, for a weekend of fun and networking at the first “L’Chaim City Limits (LCL)” in Austin.
During the weekend of July 19-21, young adults ages 21 to 40, representing all branches of Judaism and levels of observance, and those unaffiliated, are invited to share in programming created by Judaism United.
“We are bringing in the spirit of Shabbat through a weekend filled with Judaic and social aspects, with people from at least seven cities, in three states, across five venues in Austin,” said Scott Eiseman, a Judaism United founder and chair of L’Chaim City Limits.
Judaism United’s mission is to unite those of Jewish background through events, social networking and leadership conferences. The group has ambassadors in a number of cities. In Dallas, it is Michelle Bach connecting the dots and directing her community to the organization.
“L’Chaim City Limits is a great weekend to make friends, create relationships and to even network professionally, all while exploring the awesome city of Austin,” said Bach, a graduate of Levine and Yavneh academies. She mixes her Jewish life both socially and professionally, as a resident at the Dallas Moishe House, by attending events at many of the young Jewish professional organizations and as a development associate at CHAI, Community Homes for Adults, Inc.
“Early in our careers, with most of us not yet married or with families of our own, many of my generation aren’t yet affiliated with a congregation,” Bach said. “Judaism United is one more way that we can build our own community and this weekend it will be built of young Jews from around the country.”
Bach helped host an LCL Happy Hour, that had many in the crowd making rooming and travel plans for the upcoming event. “People seem very excited and I think we’re going to have a good group from here,” Bach said.
The event will begin Friday with a Kabbalat Shabbat minyan led by Rabbi Mendy Levertov, followed by a meet and greet.
“I’m very proud of Judaism United and its cause, and I’m looking forward to bringing in Shabbat for this first big event,” said Levertov, who, with wife Mussy, leads Chabad of Austin’s Young Jewish Professionals. “Shabbat services will be high-energy with zmiros (song) and dance, and, I assure you, with lots of meaningful fun.
“We need more nuance-layered events, with learning and connecting, with spirituality and casual fun and this weekend is just what that is,” he added.
The evening’s Shabbat dinner at Stubbs Bar-B-Que will begin with a candle-lighting and kiddush led by Rabbi Daniel Septimus, a former University of Texas Hillel director.
“Austin is energizing, and with the growing population our Jewish community, is growing. It’s a cool, unique, even ‘weird’ — and that’s a compliment — place with incredible appeal,” said Septimus, CEO of Shalom Austin, the city’s Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service and Jewish Foundation. “The goal to bring together the next generation of Jews through a weekend of networking in the heart of Austin, with the heart of Shabbat. It’s something I’m excited to be a part of.”
An after-party at Maggie Mae’s on 6th Street will follow dinner. All meals throughout the weekend will have certified kosher options available.
Shabbat morning service options and a Judaically themed yoga session taught by Isaac Stock will be offered on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, a BYOB pool party will take place at the Connection Apartments on Oltorf Street. Saturday night, a spirited Havdalah service will be led by LCL committee members at the Native Hostel, Bar & Café on 4th Street, followed by dancing and complimentary drinks.
On Sunday, there will be a farewell brunch and representatives from Chabad, Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation and Moishe House will provide information on their organizations.
“There’s really going to be something — many parts of the weekend — for everyone,” said Mikey Korn, an Austin Moishe House resident who, with Bach, Eiseman, Alan Yancelson and the participating rabbis, has planned a weekend to remember. “Building community is part of my Jewish journey and it’s what has brought us together.”
The weekend is partially sponsored by a grant from Reality, a Schusterman initiative which, in part, invests in efforts to improve public education in the United States, strengthen the Jewish people and Israel, and address the needs of marginalized individuals and communities.
“Bringing young Jews together has for a number of years been a goal and I’m committed to Judaism United, to LCL and I hope many other opportunities in the future,” Eiseman said. “We are a strong generation, a strong Jewish generation, and I want to bring as many of us together as we can.”
Weekend passes and tickets for individual events are available. A block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn, 500 N. Interstate 35, is being held until three days before the event. Request Judaism United rate for the discount. To register, or for lodging and other information, visit lchaimcitylimits.com.