July 23, 2024
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Jew York City: Helping Young Jewish Professionals Find Community

Kenny Liebowitz

In an ever-moving environment like New York City, finding a sense of community can be challenging, especially for young professionals just beginning to understand their adult lives. Enter Jew York City, an Instagram account with over 5,500 followers, which is dedicated to finding and publicizing “every Jewish happening for NYC young professionals,” from Shabbat dinners to social gatherings to holiday parties, galas and fundraisers. Jew York City’s founder and administrator, Kenny Liebowitz, discussed his experiences in running the account.

Liebowitz moved from Washington, D.C., to New York City two years ago in search of a bustling Jewish community, and immediately found one. He went to event after event and began thinking there should be one place to learn about these gatherings, but found no comprehensive list. “It was born out of my own want and need, thinking that others could benefit from it,” he said, so created his own solution by launching the Jew York City Instagram account. Liebowitz had no prior experience with social media, but he figured that if even one person went to an event as a result of his work, it was worth it.

Liebowitz is a full-time lawyer and considers Jew York City to be his “pro-bono work,” spending his free time and weekends compiling events and curating posts for the account. Finding events requires work in a lot of different spheres—he follows many individuals and organizations on Instagram to see what they’re hosting, keeps track of email lists that publicize events and monitors about 15 to 20 WhatsApp groups. Additionally, people reach out to Jew York City to publicize their own events, which Liebowitz then posts. He calls it a “manual labor of love,” stating that although there are similar accounts out there, this is by far the most comprehensive.

The main goal for the account was not only to help young professionals find community, but to make events accessible. Due to Jew York City’s growth, Liebowitz has recently been able to offer discounts on certain events as well as raffles. He said that although many people were already engaged in the community and were looking for more ways to get involved, the venture is also a resource for the people who aren’t so involved—people who don’t realize that Jewish events can be more than just High Holiday services and that “being active in the Jewish community incorporates everything.” Liebowitz notices that this goal has already been reached to a degree and appreciates when event-goers approach him to say that they attended because of his account. However, there is much more progress to be made.

An event Liebowitz attended.

Since starting the account, Liebowitz has realized that the Jewish community is so much more active than he could have imagined, especially since October 7. At almost every event he attends, 90% of the guests are people he’s never met, which means that the community is growing by the day. Even with an average of three events a day, however, Liebowitz acknowledged that “there’s room for growth and needs that aren’t being met.” He is planning on introducing his own Jew York City events, including a Havdala concert, speed-dating night, a yoga rooftop social, a Shabbat dinner for 30- to 40-year-olds, and a mix-and-match Shabbat in which people across the city host and attend Shabbat dinners with new acquaintances. This will specifically cater to those who prefer smaller, more intimate events rather than parties with hundreds or even thousands of people.

In speaking about the future plans, Liebowitz mentioned wanting to get more people who may not be as interested in finding Jewish community into the mix. He wants to “meet people who aren’t looking for the events and show them that this is what Jewish community can look like, and there are ways they can get involved.” He hopes to collaborate with Jewish influencers to show that these occasions can cater to people with any number of interests. He also hopes to increase the discounts and giveaways he offers and expand his reach to older adults and young families.

Although managing the account takes time, when people reach out and say they found an event or made friends because of Jew York City, he feels that the work is worthwhile. “I’m just one guy sitting in a room, you know? And with a lot of things, it’s hard to see the practical effects in the world, especially just behind the screen. But when I hear those things, that really helps keep me going and know that it’s doing some good in the world.”

An event Liebowitz attended.

To get involved and find events, follow @jew.york.city on Instagram. Liebowitz can be reached for inquiries via the Instagram account.


Eliana Birman is a digital intern for The Jewish Link. She is beginning her studies at Barnard College in the fall and lives in Teaneck.

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