When our board member (and my wife) Beverly Siegel volunteered to make a documentary film about West Rogers Park, it was with the intention of giving our Jewish Neighborhood Development Council of Chicago a new tool to help grow our secret ingredient: an active and informed constituency, ready, willing and able to promote a positive agenda for community improvement. Her goal was to educate and inspire the community and motivate people to join our cause.
With two major showings that attracted hundreds to Adas Yeshurun in December 2017 and KINS in March 2018, and with another planned for Anshe Emet in November, we've embarked on the next step in our strategy. We've begun using the film as a trigger piece at neighborhood meetings in private homes to gain input and suggestions from members of the community and to expand our base of community partners.
Our first such meeting, tagged a "friendly gathering of neighbors," was held last week at a home on Coyle. More than 20 people attended, and it was by any measure a productive, successful evening. People were moved by the film and fully engaged in the post-screening discussion. They expressed appreciation for what JNDC has accomplished over the last few years, and they were eager to suggest, discuss and commit themselves to additional priorities that they believe would enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood.
Coming just a week before a JNDC board planning meeting aimed at setting priorities for the coming year, this input will be invaluable as we chart our path forward. Another gathering in a private home is currently in the planning stages for October, and two other individuals have offered to host such sessions soon.
Are you interested in hosting "a friendly gathering of neighbors?" Please let us know and we will be happy to work with you to take care of all of the details.
Thanks again to the Chicago Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago for their financial support that made possible our great video-vehicle for community building.
We will continue to use the film to expand our impact in the days ahead!
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