Event-minded young adults
explore new Jewish avenues.
and Ben Chutz
Special to the Jewish News
ore than 80 young adults came out
on a weeknight to participate in a
Texas hold 'em poker tournament
to benefit Yad Ezra, the Berkley-based kosher
food bank. The buy-in was a donation of 10
food items. There were prize giveaways, a full
bar, appetizers, and, of course, good company.
Hosted by Brandon and Emily Pomish in
their West Bloomfield home in July, this was
the Detroit Clusters cards night, one of the new
Federation group's most-successful events.
In summer 2009, we were given the oppor-
tunity to participate in the Jewish Federation
of Metropolitan Detroit/Young Adult Division's
Original All-Star Leadership Mission to Israel.
After touring the country for seven days, we
were challenged with the assignment of creat-
ing something great for our community.
Acknowledging disconnect between our gen-
eration and Federation, we sought to rethink the
way in which young Jewish adults in our com-
munity were being engaged. The Young Adult
Division was planning some great programs:
Lathe Vodka, bar nights, Bagel Babies, couples
nights, bowling events. CommunityNEXT had
not yet been established. We saw potential for
After some brainstorming, we came away
with the vision of creating an initiative with
three fundamental goals:
• To create more dynamic and accessible
programming that would target young adults
at their direct interests;
• To develop a structure to make it as easy
as possible for individuals to take leadership
• To improve the image of the Federation
amongst our generation by associating with it
a wide variety of fun, frequent events with no
Drawing inspiration from the structure of
similar programming around the country, the
Detroit Clusters initiative was born. Over a
period of several months, we built out the con-
cept of hyper-local, self-sustaining, low-barrier-
to-entry, social interest groups. A group for book
lovers. A group for food enthusiasts. Outdoors
buffs. A cards night. Yoga enthusiasts. Beer and
wine. A morn and tots playgroup. Some current
programs were rolled into the initiative as well,
like Torah on Tap and Tea on Text.
10 September 15 a 2011
Hartman of Commerce
Hills gathan's debut
Mamie Diern ot Bloomfield Hills, Steven
and Stacey Oberman of Farm
Bloomfield Barnes &Noble to discuss Hartm
Each event is void of any campaign contri-
novel, The Ten Day Forecast.
bution. We feel that by building relationships
first, the support for our community is much
more likely to follow.
Staying true to the original vision, we've
allowed Detroit Clusters to grow organi-
cally, using Facebook, CommunityNEXT and
ComePlayDetroit promotion as well as word-
of-mouth to build awareness. Facebook has
been our most effective tool thus far. Each
cluster resides on Facebook as its own group
with anywhere from 30 to 140 young adults
maintaining membership in each of them with
events planned monthly.
Nearly each Detroit Clusters event draws out
young Jewish adults who were not previously
involved in anything to do with the Federation,
definitely one of the strongest measures of the
With its second summer now winding
The top three
down, the concept has been proven.
at the home
Brandon and Emily Pomish's
Nine clusters currently comprise the pro-
Rabbi Leiby Burnham
gram, and there's every indication that this
of Oak Park
Goodwin of Oak
number will rise. Recently, the 60th annual
JCC Jewish Book Fair approached us with the
opportunity for the Books Cluster to co-spon-
sor a November 2011 event that will bring a
popular young author in to Detroit to speak
about her novel.
In early August, the Foods Cluster awarded
Town Tavern for having the tastiest fries in
town after more than a dozen members com-
pleted a Royal Oak French Fry Crawl.
Word is spreading. Detroit Clusters is doing
exactly what we set out for it to accomplish.
The initiative has been received exceedingly
positively within the community and we're
excited to continue watching it grow.
We want to give special thanks to the
following individuals who have been generous
in their time and energy by taking leadership
roles within the initiative, acting either as a
chair of a cluster or aiding in the initiative's
After completing the Royal Oak French Fry Crawl, Ben Chutz of
early strategy discussions: Michael Carnow,
Royal Oak presented Matt Allgeier, manager at Town Tavern, the
Abby Reiss, Brandon and Emily Pomish, Rabbi
award for "tastiest fries in all of Royal Oak."
Leiby Burnham, Jaimee Wine, Eric Mintz, Ben
Handelsman, Alexis Schostak, Aaron Schwartz
and Bonnie Globerman. Li
Find more information on the Detroit Clusters
initiative by clicking the "Like" button at
Dani Gillman-Glickfeld and Ben Chutz co-founded
and co-chair the Detroit Clusters initiative.
A YAD & CommunityNEXT Initiative