Building a Jewish community in your hometown can take many different shapes: leading local activities and groups, launching education initiatives or charity drives and so much more. To Kaplan Leadership Initiative fellow Slava Slutsker, growing his Jewish community took a familiar, but brand new shape: developing a mobile App.
Back in 2014, Slava was enjoying the breadth of Jewish cultural events in his native St. Petersburg—some days, it even seemed like there was too much to do for a young Jewish community member, and no way to keep track of everything happening. The concept of JEvents dropped right into his lap.
“The idea was very simple for me,” says Slava today. “Many Jewish events and programs were going on in our city, but as there was no common source of information. People didn’t know about everything going on.”
Slava knew the days of bulletin board postings and email chains were over. The time for JEvents had arrived, and Slava set to work developing his interactive Jewish community calendar App. The first drafts of JEvents took only a few weeks to get off the ground, and the App was available for download by the beginning of 2015. Its runaway success proved to Slava that he wasn’t the only one in his community in need of a more organized calendar.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be such a huge success,” says Slava. “People immediately shared information about the App on social media, and before long we had lots of users giving great feedback. I knew we had to go further.”
Slava quickly expanded his vision for JEvents, from a simple events calendar to a comprehensive guide to his Jewish community: lists of kosher restaurants and cafes, dates of Jewish holidays and festivals, Jewish humor and anecdotes, Hebrew and Yiddish lessons and Jewish news from around the world. JEvents soon became a one-stop shop to experience Jewish life in St. Petersburg, and the city’s large Jewish community was quickly interacting on the App as well as in real life.
“Technology can be a great tool for Jewish communities to be stronger,” says Slava. “People want to be connected with each other, to find their way into a community, to receive information about their community’s needs. JEvents helps with all of that.”
Slava kept the momentum moving by creating JEvents for the Jewish communities of Minsk, Moscow and New York City as well. Since its launch in 2015, JEvents has been downloaded by more than 12,000 people—and over 8,000 people visit the App’s website monthly. The most recent version of JEvents includes ‘Wisdom of the Day,’ a whole series of blogs, Jewish job listings, shortcuts to book tickets to Israel and more.
To Slava, there’s no limit to what JEvents can be.
“I know that we created a great tool for Jewish communities,” he says. “We want to add more cities to the App now. We’re ready to scale it up!”
Want to know more?
Look up JEvents Jewish Mobile App in the Android and iPhone App store, or visit www.jevents.ru.
JEvents for iPhone https://appsto.re/ru/23Sa5.i
JEvents for Android https://goo.gl/VFacuo
Want to expand JEvents to your Jewish community?
Reach out to Slava at firstname.lastname@example.org