Tomorrow night, I will be a guest on Facebook Live sponsored by JewishLIVE with Rabbi Avi Finegold and Professor Roberta (Bobbi) Kwall, as we discuss Bobbi’s new book Remix Judaism. You can RSVP for the event here; I hope that you can join us.
USY’s Epic Summer Pivot
A few weeks ago, USY cancelled our summer programs. And yet one of the most important things people can do in times of acute stress is express hakarat ha-tov, gratitude, and these days I find myself with an abundance of gratitude.
Last week, eJewishPhilanthropy published my article about myUSYfi Summer, USY’s completely digital operation for summer 2020, and what it portends for the future of teen engagement. You can read the article by clicking on this link.
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.
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.
How Nel Noddings Would Transform USY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.