Summary of Kfar DC’s Jewish Cohousing Day

Background

Five emerging Jewish cohousing communities around the country participated in the inaugural National Jewish Cohousing Day: Vermont, DC, Berkeley, San Diego, and Brookline.

In Washington, Kfar DC hosted three cohousing experts during a community dinner to share knowledge about what cohousing is and the vision of Jewish cohousing in the capital. Kfar DC’s mission is to create and sustain a Jewish, urban, cohousing community in Washington, DC. Our next event is on January 12th, 2020.

Led by Kfar DC co-founders, Gil Landau and Falynn Schmidt, the evening featured three speakers: Ann Zabaldo, from Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Association; Joel Kelty, from Century Associates, an architect and developer who focuses on multifamily housing; and Stephan Fineberg Sylvan, a founding member of Eastern Village Cohousing.

The Intro

First, Gil and Falynn shared the broad outlines of the vision for KfarDC, including a market rate building with about 30 rental/owned units within walking distance of established Jewish communities in northwest DC. Kfar DC imagines residents sharing mutually beneficial and supportive responsibilities of everyday life, such as meals, child care, running errands, pet sitting as well as sharing some resources, such as tools, bicycles, and Pack ‘n Plays.

Gil and Falynn also shared how Jewish cohousing might differ from general cohousing. While KfarDC welcomes residents of all faiths as a residents, the community will celebrate Jewish holidays and Jewish life cycle events, as well as offer communal spaces that support Jewish dietary laws (kashrut) and shabbat.

Outside Speaker Presentations

Ann led the community in a spontaneous song, shared a great cohousing video, and then focused on what it means to live together, how decisions are made, how communities are planned, their physical layout, and how to establish community.

Joel explained how the development process works, discussing community driver and developer led cohousing development. He discussed the challenges and opportunities of finding a site for cohousing, how in urban markets you are looking for a building site that has been overlooked. He then talked about designing cohousing, financing.

Stephen shared his personal experience as a cohousing resident at Eastern Village. He started with a story about being wiped after moving into cohousing with a one year old, realizing he didn’t have dinner, and, at that moment, his neighbor showing up with a large Ethiopian dinner that his family ate for a week. He then went on to discuss the joys of living in a supportive and multigenerational community.

Next Steps

The evening concluded with next steps and how to get involved. Kfar DC’s next event will be a tour of Eastern Village and Takoma Village to give participants firsthand experience of what cohousing looks and feels like.

Register for the January 12, 2020, event here.

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