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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Hundreds JUMP for joy at anniversary party

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Jason Kastner, left, and Mike Starr were among those who attended the JUMP party [Cara Edell photo]

TORONTO — More than 500 young Jewish professionals recently came together for Jewish Urban Meeting Place’s (JUMP) fourth annual anniversary party. 

Located in midtown Toronto, JUMP is a non-profit organization that provides social, volunteer and educational programs for people between the ages of 22 to 34. 

The party, held on Oct. 13 at the Storys Building in downtown Toronto, raised funds to support JUMP’s mission of empowering young Jewish adults to become more engaged in their heritage and more active in the community.

“The funds we raise help us meet an increasing demand for programming in our centre,” said Shlomo Buzaglo, director of programs and trips at JUMP. “The support that we receive through our large events goes toward subsidizing the fees that participants pay for our programming – from Israel trips, to Hebrew classes, to holiday parties.” 

On average, 400 people come through JUMP’s doors every month, he said. “The success that we have experienced is a reflection of our ability to engage the community.”

Daniel Warner, Teri Goodfellow, Laura Licht, Michael Grossman [Rachel Singer Photo]

This year’s event, driven by a volunteer committee led by Laura Licht, Michael Grossman, Teri Goodfellow and Daniel Warner, featured live music, a silent disco, vodka snow cones, freshly made mini donuts and other fun carnival foods.

Aside from ticket sales, JUMP also raised funds through a raffle, with packages worth more than $10,000. Ten lucky winners walked away with prizes, including trips to Las Vegas and New York City.

“This party was an opportunity for young Jewish adults to connect with each other – to share ideas, build new relationships and become energized about the amazing things that are happening in our community,” said Buzaglo.

The event’s theme was based on the ways JUMP has affected the lives of thousands of young Jewish adults, he said. “Our desire to share these experiences with the community happened to tie in nicely with the name of the event venue, the Storys Building.”

Throughout the evening, JUMP participants displayed their stories using a variety of media formats. Memories were shared via an interactive Twitter campaign, as decorative pieces throughout the venue, and on six large television screens.

“When asked to speak about her experiences at JUMP, one of our dedicated volunteers, Kourtney Shapiro, commented that ‘JUMP represents a niche within the Toronto Jewish community which celebrates the art of networking, learning and creating for young adults.’ This is the message that we wanted to leave with the young adults who attended our anniversary party,” said Buzaglo.

JUMP plays an important role in the Toronto Jewish community because of the demographic with which the organization works, he said. “The post-university, pre-marriage stage of life is crucial for the survival of the Jewish people because it represents the time when individuals decide what kind of a Jewish life they want to lead. JUMP addresses the needs of young Jewish professionals by providing a space to connect with peers, explore Jewish values and practice, and engage in the Jewish community.”

In any given month, JUMP offers eight to 12 programs, provides volunteers to other organizations who are in need, and hosts more than 120 people for Shabbat dinners. 

“The needs of our demographic are increasing and therefore our organization needs to be able to provide for them. That is why fundraisers such as the anniversary party are key to ensuring financial stability for the organization.”

Buzaglo said there is something for everyone within JUMP’s walls. “People connect easily to our young, energetic staff and to the way we value authentic Jewish experiences. Our participants also thrive on our grassroots approach, where they can develop an idea in our centre and see it through to fruition.”

To find out more about JUMP, go to www.jumponline.ca.

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