Fellows

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Makella Craelius

Fellowship Class: 
2013

Spectrum Philly

Spectrum Philly currently functions as an organization that hosts social and cultural events for queer Jews in their 20s and 30s. Spectrum builds community for these Jews who otherwise might not find a place for themselves in Judaism at all - but in it's current state, it builds a relatively insular community. I intend to transform Spectrum into a larger organization with wider roots, acting as a bridge between queer young adults and the greater Jewish community. Studies show that even though more synagogues are identifying themselves as queer/LGBT-friendly, they are not attracting LGBT members. Jewish communities cannot rely exclusively on pale outreach efforts from within their historically queer-unfriendly institutions to create spaces where queer Jews will feel at home; rather, queer-outreach organizations need to create that space from the outside in. Spectrum needs to actively connect to synagogues, the Gershman Y, the other arms of Tribe 12, and more. Spectrum needs to create spaces for young queer Jews at events that are not expressly queer-friendly, and plan Spectrum sponsored events that are open to the greater Jewish community, and ultimately serve as a national model for queer young adult involvement in Jewish communities. Spectrum is currently limited by lack of funds, and lack of consistent and informed oversight towards a greater vision. I am hoping that the fellowship will give me an education on funding, outreach, event planning, and community engagement, so that I can effectively help grow Spectrum into the organization that the Jewish community truly needs.

About the Founder: 

Architectural designer by day, community organizer by night, Makella is a passionate, resourceful problem-solver backed by a practical foundation of design, leadership, and project management. Drawing on her own struggles to make a home in both the Jewish and queer communities, Makella finds great strength in building bridges and bringing people together in exciting, entrepreneurial, and meaningful ways. Makella is a co-author and illustrator of “Ma Nishtana,” a GLBTQA haggadah that is at once both innovative and traditional. She is a graduate of architecture programs at Drexel University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Update:
Makella has been hired by Tribe 12 to pursue Spectrum in a paid position! Spectrum has already begun running events more regularly and looks to serve as a sustainable bridge between queer young professionals and the greater LGBTQ and Jewish communities. Spectrum is seeking a founding funder to be on the vanguard of this new expansion.