Creating community through Jewish learning

Adam Berg grew up with a love of his Jewish family traditions and culture. Meagan Jennings-Berg is a Jew by choice. Their Open Circle Jewish Learning group, a collaboration of CJP and Hebrew College, lets them explore a Jewish life for them and their daughter, Madeleine.

We met in 2004 at the ripe old age of 19, got married in August 2012, and have been navigating what we want from a Jewish life and family ever since. As young professionals, our time is precious and we wanted to share in a learning experience that would be both meaningful and fun. Joining the CJP young couples learning group combined both for us and exceeded our expectations.

Our first meeting felt like speed dating in the best way possible. We are all working professionals with a certain lifestyle that instantly connected us. Along our journey, we became close with so many different couples at various stages in their lives (married, engaged, dating). Soon, we were hosting sessions at our house, and our passion for discussion grew.

Group learning exposes us to so many different perspectives on Jewish identity and other hot topics. At the heart of the group, being able to learn from our peers is refreshing. It isn’t a lecture; it’s a dialogue with friends over wine. We could measure the success of the night by how much we talked about a topic on the way home. That’s what this is all about for us — engaging with new friends in a casual setting and leaving with much more than we had when we arrived.

CJP makes learning as fun and engaging as possible. Homework: optional. Networking, socializing, and listening to others’ stories and perspectives: guaranteed.

We feel at home with this group. It has offered something to us not only as a couple, but also as individuals: as a Jew by choice, a connection to other Jewish women who have shared identities; and also a connection to like-minded men whose love of the military and respect for those who fight for Israel inspired a special trip to visit wounded soldiers. We both feel this experience has deepened our understanding, changed our lives, and energized our Jewish spirit.

Everyone we’ve met through CJP has welcomed us and treated us like family. What more could you ask for in a community? We can’t wait for our daughter to have these resources at her fingertips and discover what a Jewish life means to her.

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