A new collaboration: JBuzzSTL

Team Magnify is excited to announce a collaboration with the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization focused on engaging and supporting the Jewish community in the St. Louis area. With the launch of the new JBuzzSTL mobile app and website, the Jewish Federation now has a community-building platform that allows its members to participate in projects, sign up for upcoming events, and share ideas and content, among other things.

Earlier this month, Team Magnify had the wonderful opportunity to interview some members of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Some of the topics discussed include: the story of how the members ended up working with the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, a conversation about their aspirations for the future of the Jewish Federation, and, of course, any thoughts the members had on the newly launched JBuzzSTL app. 

Since 2017, Sarah Levinson has been the manager of the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, or NORC, a program coordinated by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis that supports senior citizens by providing community engagement and support services to them in their own homes. Sarah says that she “love[s] being part of an organization that is constantly evaluating the needs of its community and figuring out ways to meet them.” And this emphasis on community is abundantly clear in the plethora of fun bonding activities that the NORC has held in the past, including drawing courses, yoga classes, and coffee shop concerts. 

For Sarah, helping elderly members of the community has been a consistent theme in her career. During her time pursuing a Masters degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Gerontology, she interned with the Jewish Family Service of LA. Afterwards, she started a PhD program in Clinical Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. For her master’s project, she interviewed artists over the age of 70 about their work, lives, and values. She specifically attributes that experience as one that “helped [her] to find and pursue [her] passion for rethinking about the ways in which we engage and support our aging neighbors.” Since then, Sarah has become a valuable member of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis

Finally, Sarah shared some of her initial thoughts and future aspirations regarding the newly launched JBuzzSTL mobile app and website. She considers it “a wonderful example of how we can utilize technology to make our lives and communities better and more connected!” This is especially applicable for older members of our community who may not have the means to stay connected in person — especially during the pandemic. JBuzzSTL in particular can serve as a way for people to connect. One can simply browse the hundreds of projects on JBuzzSTL and participate in the ones that appeal to them, whether it’s a project about recommending new books or sharing old family recipes. They can also use JBuzzSTL as a way to stay up to date on all of the upcoming events held by the Jewish Federation, such as the St. Charles Jewish Festival.  

A member of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis team since 2014, Samantha March is the organization’s Digital Communications Specialist. In that position, Sam held an important role in the rollout of the JBuzzSTL app and website. Initially brought in to test the platform for bugs, Samantha later was in charge of making sure the Federation’s brand was presented correctly throughout and that the platform provided a user-friendly experience.

A 2012 graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, Sam started working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car right out of college. After quickly climbing the ranks to management assistant, transferring to a St. Louis branch, and becoming interim branch manager there, she decided it was time for something new. Sam subsequently landed at Budweiser, a Jewish day school, and finally, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, where she has been for the past seven years. When asked what has kept her there so long, Sam had high praise for the family feel of the organization. “I just love the people I work with … there [are] about 60 people that work there, and we’re all very close.” Sam also shared her confidence in the mission of the organization itself, adding that she believes “[the Jewish Federation] does good.”

Like Sarah, Sam also shared her thoughts about the newly launched JBuzzSTL platform with Team Magnify. Within the Jewish Federation, JBuzzSTL will mostly be used as a new tool for community members to interact with each other and plan events. Sam mentioned that planning events on the same day “is a big issue in our community” and that using Magnify should help with that. Unlike the platform previously used by the Federation, Magnify has the option to like, comment, and follow different posts and users, allowing for an “online community we did not have before.”

JBuzzSTL is due to be rolled out to the entire Jewish Federation of St. Louis community by the end of July, and Magnify is honored to have partnered with the Federation on such an important project. We hope it’ll be a great resource for them and their partner organizations and look forward to seeing what they’ll accomplish.