Access has become well-known for hosting some of the biggest social events for Jewish young professionals in the region. But big parties aren’t for everyone. While going to events in which hundreds are in attendance can be appealing to many, to many others, they can be very intimidating and overwhelming.
That’s why over the years, Access has developed a series of signature programs aimed at those looking to make more personal connections with others who share similar interests. From social events to social action projects, and everything in between, no matter what they find most appealing, Access offers something to suit just about every Jewish young professional between the ages of 21-35.
Access was started eight years ago by The Mayerson Foundation in response to focus group findings that Jewish young professionals in Greater Cincinnati were looking for consistent, no strings attached programming for their age cohort. Access was born in an effort to fill this unmet need in the Jewish community.
“However, it wasn’t long before our events were averaging between 250-300 guests each time,” explains Pam Saeks, Director of Jewish Giving for The Mayerson Foundation. “And while it was tempting to rest on our laurels and be happy with the number of people we were reaching, we felt it was equally important to take a look at who we weren’t reaching.
“We conducted more focus groups and discovered some very interesting things,” she adds. “Some didn’t know other Jewish people and didn’t feel comfortable coming to the events alone, especially women. That’s when we created No Boyz Allowed, monthly events just for Jewish women who want to get to know other women like themselves.
Before long, even those women who didn’t know anyone made lots of friends with whom they could go to other Access events,” she continues. “Based on the success of that first signature program, we created 10 others over the years that have helped us serve the needs of almost everyone looking to get connected to Jewish life in Cincinnati. Now, providing interest-based programming is one of our core guiding principles.”
Soon after No Boyz Allowed started, a group of guys approached Saeks and the Access staff, asking “What about us?” Thus came No Ma’am, (guys’ only events), followed by HeBREW Happy Hour (monthly get-togethers at local bars and clubs), JSPN (Jewish Sports Network), JCafe (discussion group and book clubs), ACTout (social action projects, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati), JGourmet (cooking classes), the Got Shabbat Dinner Series, Newcomers’ Nights (for those new to town or just new to Access) Regional Speed Dating for singles, and the newest signature program just for couples, Schmooze for Two’s.
“Access’ signature programs offer a casual way to connect with other Jewish young professionals,” explains Marie Krulewitch, now a frequent Access participant. “My first event was a JGourmet cooking class. I was nervous because I participant. “My first event was a JGourmet cooking class. I was nervous because I hardly knew anyone in Cincinnati, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming! I chopped and chatted alongside some great people who are now some of my closest friends!”
In addition to quarterly parties, Access hosts 4-6 signature programs a month, most of which are completely free or deeply subsidized. Examples of some of the events include:
No Boyz Allowed: Street Smarts, Self Defense 411, Mac Attack Makeover, Do it Herself Car Maintenance, Chick Lit and Chocolate, Ladies Night Out on the Levee
No Ma’am: Brewery Tunnel Tour, Guys’ Night Out at Gameworks, What Not to Wear: Fashion Basics for Guys at Nordstrom, Paintball Battle
HeBREW Happy Hour: Bartini, Penguin Piano Bar, Cock and Bull, Neon’s
JSPN: Flag Football, Behind the Scenes Tour of the Great American Ballpark, Reds Games, Bengals Game and Tailgate Party, various Access sponsored CSL (Cincinnati Sports League) teams such as kickball, bowling, softball, sand volleyball.
JCafe: Kosher Sex, Jewish Ethics in Business, Funny, You Don’t Look Jewish, The Tribe
ACTout: Sunday Fun Day with Starfire, Light the Spark with the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, Crayons to Computers, JCC Senior Home Repair Day, Bricks for Breast Cancer, Chrismitzvah
JGourmet: Jewish Holiday Favorites, Mediterranean Meals in Minutes, Shabbat Made Simple, Jewish Deli, Happy Healthy New You, Top Chef Smackdown
Got Shabbat: Shabbat ShaBark in the Park, Israeli Shabbat, Indian Summer Shabbat, Celebrussian Shabbat
Newcomers’ Nights: Buca Di Beppo, Max and Erma’s, A Tavola, Art Attack
For more information about Access, please visit www.jypaccess.org or contact Rachel Plowden, Access Coordinator, at (513) 373-0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Access events are open to Jewish young professionals, ages 21-35. Non-Jewish significant others are welcome to participate in all Access events, and non-Jewish friends are welcome to attend all Main Event programs.
Editor’s note: While Access is based in the Cincinnati area, it has expanded its focus and encourages Jewish young professionals for the entire region to participate. A number of people travel from Louisville to participate.