A Letter to a Heartbroken Teen

Breaking a teenager’s heart always breaks my heart.   And, in a time of COVID-19, it’s not going to get easier any time soon.   Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published a letter I wrote to USYers and all teenagers who no longer have plans for the summer.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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Holiness Through Restraint

Critiquing social media is chic, yet I believe that the conventional wisdom about social media lets us off the hook too easily and denies us agency.   This week, I wrote a guest Dvar Torah for the Jewish Theological Seminary on how Parashat Aharei Mot-Kedoshim teaches us that the choice to sanctify or not sanctify something lies with us.  You can read the Dvar Torah by clicking on this link.

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How Nel Noddings Would Transform USY

Recently, I took my dream job as Senior Director of USY, the Jewish youth movement that changed my life forever.   Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about my educational vision for USY.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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Snark is the Greatest Threat to Conservative Judaism

In my hardest moments as a Conservative rabbi, I remember that most of the people critiquing how we do what we do are not cynical commentators who chose to abandon that which they could transform, or who never chose this form of Judaism at all, but people who want to remain and create a new vision, a vision worthy of this moment.

Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about that pervasive, movement-wide pessimism was and remains the greatest threat to Conservative Judaism. You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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When Facts Don’t Matter

Generations upon generations have passed since the destruction of the Second Temple, and what drives our connection to this physical place is not that any of us can say that we saw it with our eyes, but that we heard that story, felt the story’s impact, and passed it onto others.   This week, The Times of Israel published an essay I wrote exploring what it means to focus on the story, rather than the facts.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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But What If I’m Wrong?

Despite living in an organizational world where we preach the gospel of “metrics” and “data-driven decision making,” those trends cannot buttress the fact that, in general, foundations want to prove that their grantmaking decisions were right, professionals want to demonstrate that their organizations are relevant, and Jews of all stripes want to affirm that any sliver of evidence about the future confirms their Jewish worldviews.  This does not make any of us stupid, but it does make all of us all too human.

Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about the power of imagining alternative worlds than our preexisting beliefs about the Jewish future. You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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Does Your Synagogue Give or Take?

Shavuot encourages us to remember that great things happen when we start from the premise of giving for the sake of giving.  The more we take the stance that giving is something to be done for its own sake, the more we create communities that exist for everybody’s sake.   Today, The Times of Israel published an essay I wrote about choosing giving over taking on Shavuot.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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Don’t Forget About the Jewish Present

As we approach Purim, leaders need to think about their vision of the Jewish future as informed by the Jewish past.  But to the extent that we can, all of us must remember the Jews of the present, who need us right here and right now.  Yesterday, The Times of Israel published an essay I wrote about what it means for leaders to care about the Jewish present.  You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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Wait, Doesn’t Chabad Do That?

I am an unapologetic Chabad fanboy.   In 2019, this hardly makes me unique. Ask any Jewish leader about effective tactics for engaging the under-engaged and little time will pass before the conversation turns to the ways in which Chabad is the most ubiquitous Jewish presence in the world.   Yesterday, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote on how every congregation can embrace the approach Chabad made famous.   You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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The Infinite Game of Jewish Life

Sometimes, I question whether or not the Jewish organizations play a finite game, where organizations and foundations pick winners and losers and where professionals jockey for influence, or an infinite game, where all of us join together to ensure the Jewish future.  Today, eJewishPhilanthropy published an article I wrote about what it means for Jewish organizations and Conservative Judaism to embrace Judaism’s infinite game. You can read the article by clicking on this link.

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