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Finding My Tribe at The Well

April 14, 2020

After graduating from Michigan State in 2017, I was excited to come home and start working full time in the Ann Arbor Jewish community. I had such a strong cohort of Jewish friends, classmates, professors, and sorority sisters at Michigan State, but now who would be my Jewish community? What would I do with my Friday nights in my mostly secular home? Where would I go for the Jewish programming I was so used to having just a block away? Sure, I had a built in Jewish community at my job, working for a conservative synagogue. Even with the community in the congregation, I still knew something was missing. I felt that my own personal Jewish soul needed some extra TLC that I simply wasn’t getting from a traditional congregational setting. I was always the youngest person at any Jewish event, and never truly felt like I found my “tribe”, until I found The Well.

The Well is completely centered around relationships and facilitating opportunities for community members to bond. While many organizations claim this, The Well truly exemplifying what this means. Whether it is their consistent coffee dates, engagement at events, or individualized reach outs, The Well somehow finds the time to make every individual feel important in our community. We are not just serving people, but human beings with passions, ideas, needs, and desires. The Well is here to serve as a guide on each of our unique Jewish Journeys. 

As a Jewish seeker, educator, aspiring rabbi, and spiritual human being, I felt like I had nowhere to express my true Jewish self. Rabbi Dan reached out, and welcomed me into the organization with warm, open arms, and I finally found my people. From alternative services, which were SO up my alley, to learning sessions, weekend get-a-way retreats, and holiday celebrations, there was always something exciting, unheard of, engaging, and fun coming up at The Well. 

I feel like I am at the beginning of my Jewish spirituality journey. Not only has Rabbi Dan been an inspiration and guide on my path, but he has helped me find ways to make my spirituality mine. I find myself completely lost in the music, vibes, and songs when I play my string bass at The Well’s alternative services. The Well has been one of the few organizations that allowed me to finally put together my two greatest passions: my instrument and Judaism. Rabbi Dan pushes our groups of Jewish text study to truly dive in, question, rethink, and criticize. He has finally given a welcoming space for young Jews to ask all the questions they grew up being afraid to ask, and learn the meaning behind rituals we had always seen done, but never asked about. 

As a result of its work, The Well has attracted an eclectic, energetic crowd of young, Jewish people who are empowered to make Judaism their own. And that is what makes The Well different: The Well is the glue that holds this community together. The Well is a community building organization through empowerment and relationships. 

As I transitioned to working in the Metro Detroit Jewish community, The Well was there for me. During times of Jewish exploration in my life, The Well gave me resources. And when I wanted to date in the Metro Detroit Jewish community, The Well even found me a significant other! The Well has been a driving force in my life in helping me dive deeper into my spirituality and Jewish identity. I have found my tribe, soul friends, and a learning community, that has become a defining part of my life. There are many recent graduates and young families, who don’t identify with traditional synagogue life, but still want significant, meaningful, Jewish experiences. The Well saw the needs of young people not being met, and has found such a beautiful way to cater to our needs while building a meaningful, accepting, caring community. The Well is my home, and I can’t wait to see how The Well grows over the years. 

Sarah Klein is a community member at The Well, lives in the Metro Detroit area, and is a Jewish communal professional.