Posts Tagged ‘Birthright Israel’

 

WorthRight Israel: Fund Interfaith Couples and Families Israel Trips

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Hayim Herring No Comments

 

Imagine what would happen if funders created a variety of high-quality Israel trips that were free or heavily-subsidized for interfaith couples and families.

 

Question to funders and philanthropists: What about making a heavily subsidized trip to Israel available for interfaith couples and families? Here are the arguments for it:

 

“Israel-alienated” Jews constitute about 20% of the young Jewish population, to use Professor Steven Cohen’s term in a recent analysis he prepared for The Jewish Daily Forward. Not just hawkish Israeli government policies, but intermarriage also has emerged as an “indicator of alienation” from Israel.

 

Any rabbi or other educator who has taught an Introduction to Judaism class with non-Jewish learners knows that it’s impossible to give them the experience of pride, love and passion for Israel simply by talking about the Jewish state. They can experience a Shabbat or holiday meal locally, they can experience being a part of a Jewish family locally, but they can’t feel the complexity and depth of emotions about Israel from a classroom in the Diaspora.

 

Interfaith family in Israel

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Remixing in Your Synagogue

Posted on: July 5th, 2010 by Hayim Herring No Comments
Unique, break-through inventions are very difficult to achieve. Most innovations are not completely “innovative.” Rather, they build upon and incorporate prior efforts, while adding some new features. In a recent article in Fast Company Magazine by Farhad Manjoo, entitled The Invincible Apple, the author notes that Apple’s claim about making revolutionary projects is somewhat overstated. Manjoo writes,

To use a musical analogy, Apple’s specialty is the remix. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own. It’s also a great fixer, improving on everything that’s wrong with other similar products on the shelves.

Think of some the great big Jewish programs that seem to have burst upon the scene: Taglit-Birthright Israel, PJ Library, Moishe House and most recently, Hebrew Charter Schools. The quote above about “remix” can just as easily apply to these initiatives. Taking young adults to Israel, parents reading books to children, young adults who share something in common living together and acting on their values, charter schools—none of these are completely unique. But, they are conceptually brilliant because they are simple, powerful, elegant and well-executed. (Full disclosure: I have work and continue to consult for some of the philanthropists behind these ideas.)
Now, consider some of the work that your congregation does: adult learning, youth work, prayer. Without new resources, is there some area of congregational life that lends itself to a “remix?” Have a discussion with your staff and volunteer leaders, and see what emerges. Remember—“big ideas” can start with a series of small changes that don’t involve new funding! Please share your thinking with readers of Tools for Shuls. I’m eager to hear from you.
Thank you,
Rabbi Hayim Herring

Courtesy of Apple

Unique, break-through inventions are very difficult to achieve. Most innovations are not completely “innovative.” Rather, they build upon and incorporate prior efforts, while adding some new features. In a recent article in Fast Company Magazine by Farhad Manjoo, entitled The Invincible Apple, the author notes that Apple’s claim about making revolutionary projects is somewhat overstated. Manjoo writes,

“To use a musical analogy, Apple’s specialty is the remix. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own. It’s also a great fixer, improving on everything that’s wrong with other similar products on the shelves.”

Think of some the great big Jewish programs that seem to have burst upon the scene: Taglit-Birthright Israel, The PJ Library, Moishe House and most recently, Hebrew Charter Schools. The quote above about “remix” can just as easily apply to these initiatives. Taking young adults to Israel, parents reading books to children, young adults who share something in common living together and acting on their values, charter schools—none of these are completely unique. But, they are conceptually brilliant because they are simple, powerful, elegant and well-executed. (Full disclosure: I have worked and continue to consult for some of the philanthropists behind these ideas.)

Now, consider some of the work that your congregation does: adult learning, youth work, prayer. Without new resources, is there some area of congregational life that lends itself to a “remix?” Have a discussion with your staff and volunteer leaders, and see what emerges. Remember—“big ideas” can start with a series of small changes that don’t involve new funding! Please share your thinking with readers of Tools for Shuls. I’m eager to hear from you.

Thank you,

Rabbi Hayim Herring