A Conversation with Rabbi Jessy Dressin, Executive Director of Third Space at Shaare Tfiloh

Third Space is a place for inclusive community, grounded in Jewish culture and learning to foster meaningful connections. Third Space focuses on relationships and learning and what might happen when the two are nurtured alongside one another.

 Third Space at Shaarei Tfiloh, is a “place of learning and community informed by Jewish traditons.” As a nonsectarian gathering place, Third Space offers unique opportunities to explore Jewish Wisdom and Jewish Identity. Shaarei Tfiloh was known as the Shul in the Park; it no longer served its original purpose as the place local families worshipped on the Sabbath so the new leadership announced this new organization.

In a conversation with Rabbi Jessy Dressin, founding Executive Director of Third Space, she described the organization and it’s place in the Baltimore Jewish Community.

Does Third Space have a target audience?

Third space is for anyone in the community who wants to explore Jewish ideas and Jewish wisdom. We decided to not have a specific audience like city residents, young families, empty nesters, because we want to be a gathering place for multigenerational individuals and different ideas.

As someone who has led in the Baltimore Jewish Community for many years, what leadership lessons are you bringing to this new endeavor of Third Space?

The launch of third space and the vision is the next chapter in my rabbinic leadership. My goal is to give individuals a way to experiment with community differently. As a leader I always bring Torah and Jewish values into the way I lead. They are timeless and you can always find a way to add to a conversation, situation or environment. As a leader I believe in being agile and flexible. It’s important to be where your people and bring them along on the journey with you, not expect them to find it themselves. I also feel it’s necessary to adjust to our ever-changing environment from technology, to how people gather; it’s important to understand and figure out what people need in the moment.

What are the leadership opportunities for individuals at Third Space?

Third Space has a small board at the moment and we are taking this year to build out our board and build leadership opportunities within it. As we progress with more programming we see an opportunity for individuals to take on leadership roles and foster leadership throughout the organization.

What is programming like at Third Space?

Programming at Third Space is a three-tiered approach.

  • Programming and events delivered by Third Space and its staff.
  • A Jewish your-way approach where groups of individuals can come to Third Space and learn how to lead a Shabbat Dinner, a Seder, or even how to run a text study.
  • Third Space hopes to dive into the hybrid-virtual access environment with larger events and discussions so groups of individuals can engage with and learn from the activities at Third Space.

How do you hope Third Space impacts the Baltimore Jewish Community?

I hope it is value added and is not redundant to the already existing opportunities in Baltimore. I hope it gives people something that feels unique and gives a platform for people to form new ideas and opinions about Judaism.

Third Space will be ramping up in the fall, but will have a A Taste of Third Space: A Day of Learning, Open House & Garden Party on June 9th, 12:00-5:00, learn more about Third Space at Shaare Tfiloh at https://www.thirdspacest.org/

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