Co – Founders:
Dalia Davis dalia@weareuprooted.org
Becca Shimshak becca@weareuprooted.org

Are you passionate about creating a more inclusive community for those on a fertility journey, and want to know how to start your own groundswell? Often communal change begins with one person interested in making a difference. Uprooted offers consulting for both individuals and organizations looking to create programming in their community. We’re happy to work with JCCs, synagogues, rabbinical associations, and other professional and lay groups.

Why Uprooted?

Uprooted was born from the idea that one can feel uprooted from one’s self, one’s community, one’s vision for the future, and one’s body when going through family building challenges. Often, those struggling feel socially and spiritually isolated from the Jewish community.

What Do We Do?

Through programming, advocacy and ritual creation, Uprooted educates Jewish leaders in assisting families with fertility challenges, and provides national communal support to those struggling to grow their families.  As Jewish values and tradition emphasize the importance of family and growing one’s family, Uprooted aims to create an American Jewish community where those struggling to achieve this goal feel supported and welcomed.

Programming

Community Awareness and Artistic Expression

TRYmester: Jewish Fertility Journeys Out Loud

Uprooted has designed a mixed media performance piece that reflects the struggle of fertility in the Jewish community. This performance is intended to engage the greater Jewish community in dialogue around the topic of fertility journeys by providing examples of people going through their own struggles. With music, dance and theater, TRYmester provides a model of using alternate methods of  expression to reflect the extremely intense emotional, spiritual and physical struggle of fertility challenges.

Leadership Education and Training

Holding Hannah’s Hand: Professional Trainings and Initial Consultations

Uprooted leads trainings for clergy, mental health professionals, lay leaders and mikveh guides, to help them gain a deeper understanding of fertility journeys, while enhancing their pastoral and counseling skills.  These trainings include both academic and experiential modes of learning and cover topics that cross the broad spectrum of the fertility experience imparting practical skills to promote change.  Uprooted is happy to tailor these trainings to your particular professional constituency. During this time, Uprooted initiates consultations with local leaders to help them design long term sustainable programs at their synagogues/in their communities.

Fertility Journeys – As Clergy Going Through it and as a Rabbi Supporting Others: A Training Workshop

Learn from Uprooted staff and a rabbi in the field about the unique experience of being in the rabbinate while experiencing fertility challenges and discuss healthy ways to address self-care, spiritual care, and professional challenges.  This workshop will also delve into the particular situations in which rabbis can support their congregants who are struggling, both those who ask for support and those who keep their journeys private.

Sample Sessions:

  • Moving the Boston Community Forward: Envisioning Our Future and Sharing out Loud
  • Immersing Along the Journey and Naming the Stages with Candles: Revisiting Age-Old Traditions in a new light to Navigate Fertility Journeys

Pluralistic Healing and Support

Offerings for Synagogues, Jewish Organizations and Federations

Planting Roots: Building A Jewish Communal Conversation Around Fertility Journeys

Uprooted believes the Jewish community can adopt a more thoughtful, holistic approach to family building. This conversation will help build a foundation upon which to build a caring community and serve as the catalyst for other support, education, and awareness programs to follow based on communal input.  All voices are welcome whether or not you have personally been touched by a fertility journey. Together we can change the communal discourse and build a more sensitive, supportive Jewish community for those going through this struggle. Planting Roots uses experiential modalities to raise awareness, provide resources, and identify needs of those engaged in fertility struggles. This is a great session for synagogues to begin their work so they can mobilize individuals, hearing directly from congregants and design follow up programming based on feedback from their community. This program is ideal for synagogues that may not have engaged in inclusion work before and it can also serve as a great catalyst for those experienced synagogues aiming to work collaboratively to design next steps in conjunction with other community programs such as those around mental health, women’s health or mikveh experiences.

Healing Workshops

This program is designed for people who are currently on a fertility journey as well as those whose struggle may have reached a resolution.  Workshops are based on Fertility Journeys: A Jewish Healing Guide, published by Mayyim Hayyim, which Uprooted played a central role in creating.  Uprooted healing workshops honor the experience of participants and support them as they traverse their family building paths. Our format allows participants to articulate their experience differently and free them from labels or pre-determined definitions of infertility. This method of inclusive empowerment encourages self-exploration and discovery within a Jewish context and, as such, builds on the unique crossroad of emotional growth within a dedicated Jewish setting. Synagogues may select specific workshops to bring to their location or bring a series of sessions on different topics including a guiding session for loved ones.

Sample Sessions:

  • Why Can’t I Get Pregnant? Bringing the Ancient Dilemma into a Modern Healing Space
  • Praying in Vain: Facing Spiritual Challenges during a Fertility Journey
  • I’m Not the Only One?! Wow – Your Story Totally Resonates with Me: Coping with Pregnancy Loss in and WITH my Jewish Community

Traveler and Guide Program

This mentoring program is designed specifically for people who are experiencing challenges in building their family – as well as for those who have completed their journey and are looking to support others in the community. Our free service pairs individuals who are still navigating the family-building path (a Traveler) with another individual (a Guide) who has previously struggled with family-building and/or fertility issues and who’s process has reached a resolution. This program is for individuals who are interested in signing up directly with Uprooted. In addition, this model is a wonderful option for synagogues that have populations of older adults who have gone through fertility journeys years ago who want to mentor those going through it now. Uprooted administers the program, provides guidance, direction, support and Jewish content for the pairs.

The Roots Chavurah

The Chavura model enables those struggling to build their families to come together for Jewish moments in the year to celebrate without the stress of child participation and with the comfort knowing they have a group of peers who are on the same journey. These Jewish moments that can be so painful when experienced in the general Jewish community, where pregnant bellies and small children are all around. In this Chavura, participants can connect with others and experience together the the complex juxtaposition of joy and pain. Chavura experiences include: Shabbat Dinners, celebrations on Purim, Chanukah, Simchat Torah, Passover Seders and other social times to supplement what they might want to attend at their synagogue. For each event, Uprooted provides a framework to implement the program, to build community and to help those going through fertility journeys identify ways to use Jewish moments as a source of comfort.

Fertility Journey Support Groups or Classes

This component is ideal for large synagogues to offer as a component to their young family programming. Synagogues that hold baby classes or maternity classes will benefit from engaging those on their path earlier in the cycle by attracting individuals to synagogue life before the traditional pre-school years. In addition, this offering will set the tone for those going through their journey that the synagogue is a safe space for them even if they don’t yet have the children they hope to have.

Uprooted is a registered 501(c)3 organization.