Jewish innovation & the establishment: creating in ways that connect with what’s already been created?

The blog below is an adaptation of a piece I wrote for PresenTense. I was writing this around Tisha B’Av, which prompted me to consider whether Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai the first truly Jewish innovator?

There were many great leaders before him, but there are some defining characteristics about his actions during the destruction of the second temple that may add to our discussion about what is “Jewish” about Jewish innovation, and what role do Jewish innovators play within the broader communal establishment. Continue reading

JDub is dead: Long Live JDub

Just as a human life leaves an immeasurable impression on those people and institutions they come in contact with, so too does an initiative like JDub, no matter how short-lived it might be. A funeral is an opportunity to celebrate the impression that has been made by an individual, to reflect on what we have learned from him/her and to decide how we want to incorporate that learning into our lives. We need to do the same when an innovative initiative ends its tenure as an organization and ask: What do we want to celebrate? What have we learned? How can we continue to allow that learning to influence us even when the institution no longer physically exists? Continue reading