Konikoff Center for Learning. Spark one mind. Change many lives.

July 9, 2020

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David Konikoff didn’t come up with the legacy phrase “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” however it aptly describes his life purpose and why he imagined the Konikoff Center for Learning at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and Simon Family JCC with that mantra in mind.

“As we learn, we grow and are able to find ways to make ourselves better people,” says Konikoff. “Through learning, we get the opportunity to change our relationships with our spouses, our friends, our children. That change elevates us in a way that can continue through our children, and so many others we meet. By learning and growing ourselves, we touch others and are able to make the world a better place.”

This positive ripple effect is why David Konikoff wanted his family’s name attached to the Konikoff Center for Learning. The transformative process begins with one program, workshop, class, speaker or event that sparks one idea or thought in one person. What they do next, who they provoke or inspire, and what can be ignited throughout the community is the wonderment behind Konikoff Center for Learning.

Created as Tidewater’s hub for experiential Jewish education and engagement, the Konikoff Center for Learning plans “high-impact learning experiences” including programs, classes, workshops, and symposiums that span generations and interests.

The Konikoff Center for Learning aims to find ways to connect with all members of Jewish Tidewater. “We want to share opportunities with the community on a variety of topics so that everyone can find their entry point to engage Jewishly and meaningfully,” says Sierra Lautman, director of Jewish Innovation at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

A weekly newsletter is already inciting engagement from members of the community interested in different topics for future events. It gives information on local opportunities, as well as national and international options for education and enrichment. “As we find ourselves spending more time in this virtual space, we have the incredible chance to hear from leaders of Jewish thought all around the world,” says Lautman.

The mission is to engage, educate, empower, and inspire individuals to deepen their Jewish knowledge and connection. Konikoff says, “Tzedakah isn’t just money, it is the giving of time, sharing of ideas and willingness to elevate others, a universal feature of being Jewish. Everyone can do it.”

To learn more about the Konikoff Center for Learning, or to share a topic you would like to explore, contact Sierra Lautman, UJFT’s director of Jewish Innovation at slautman@ujft.org.

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