Designing for Impact: A User Centric Model for Hillel December 28, 2016

"This fall, nine Hillel outposts across North America started testing out whether Jewish organizations can become more relevant by developing a radically “user-centric” mindset and then building all of their other institutional priorities, structures and communication in support of that mindset.

These Hillels – from universities large and small, public and private, commuter and residential, and of varying size of staff and budget – are the first cohort of the Campus Leadership Impact (CLI) Platform, an intensive two-year training in the methodology and strategies of Design Thinking.

CLI is the first project launched by the Jewish Design Initiative (JDI), an independent umbrella organization founded by Rabbi Yonah Schiller aimed at developing Design Thinking platforms across the Jewish organizational landscape.

Schiller developed the CLI Platform in partnership with CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and a national foundation in response to persistent interest from other Hillels that saw Tulane Hillel increase its participation by 230 percent and more than triple its annual budget over the past seven years...."

The Dangers of Purity December 28, 2016

"The holiday of Hanukkah should be a fraught one for American Jews. Most of us know it as a gift-giving holiday, oriented towards our children, and we like to focus on its religious aspect as a holiday of religious freedom. And it is those things. But it is also other things, darker, and bloody. Because it is also a story of the Jewish people divided: preferring assimilation to Jewish practice, and some assimilating to an extent that they rejected circumcision and participated in idol worship.

Is Interfaith Marriage Good for the Jews? December 26, 2016

"Interfaith marriage is in the Jewish news again — just like it was in 500 BCE, as Jews returned from exile in Babylonia. During this time of cultural transition (c. 538-424 BCE), all Jewish leaders recognized the issue. Five biblical books record five different views...."

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D., RIT professor awarded NSF grant to benefit the next generation of games and learning scholars December 23, 2016

"As a doctoral candidate, Owen Gottlieb received advice from a consortium that eventually led him to a successful teaching and research career. Years later, Gottlieb, an expert in games and learning at Rochester Institute of Technology, is “paying it forward,” using a National Science Foundation grant that will enable the next generation of gaming scholars and researchers to make inroads in the field of game design and development.

Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D.,RIT professor awarded NEH grant to enhance religious literacy through gaming December 23, 2016

"A team of interdisciplinary researchers, designers and developers led by Owen Gottlieb, an assistant professor of interactive games and media at Rochester Institute of Technology, has created a digital prototype for Lost & Found, a strategy game that aims to promote and enhance the public understanding of religion.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: A Rabbi’s Christmas Message December 23, 2016

"With the flurry of discussion about how Jewish and interfaith families are handling the confluence of Hanukkah and Christmas this year, I'm here to say ‘chill out.’ As a rabbi whose job is to engage with and support interfaith families, I'm well aware that this time of year may create angst for interfaith couples as well as their parents and relatives. I'm not dismissing or diminishing the very real emotions that are tied up with these holiday celebrations.

Try An Adult Spin On Hanukkah This Year December 22, 2016


Try an adult spin on Hanukkah this year.
It's probably what you, and 100 million other Americans, could use just about now.


Download Part 1 of the Hanukkah card.

Download Part 2 of the Hanukkah card.


THE OLD HOLIDAY SONG begins with the words, I have a little dreidel, but in the wake of our recent election, many feel so spun around- by dejection, elation or just plain confusion-perhaps we should change the words to, I am a little dreidel.


Turns out that a good game of dreidel could help us do much more than bring back happy Hanukkah memories. It could remind us how best to move ahead together when things feel like they are spinning as wildly as a holiday top.


Playing dreidel is all about the Hebrew letters on its 4 sides-nun, gimmel, hey and shin-each of which corresponds to an action taken by the player who spins it and, if you stop to think about it, can guide us toward the collective wisdom we need both nationally and personally.

Rabbis Without Borders in the Field: Saying No To Silencing: The Jewish Duty To Speak Out December 22, 2016

"Spirituality is biography. Jewish spirituality and Jewish biography both demand a duty to speak out, reject silencing, and stand up against any power that would silence another. Such is the call of Hanukkah and this moment of meaning for Jewish life...."

Read more...
By Rabbi David Markus, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com

The Wisdom Daily: Just How Transformational Is Burning Man? December 22, 2016

"...Just how transformational is Burning Man? As an intended model for a utopian society with ‘Ten Principles’ ranging from radical inclusion, civic responsibility and participation to radical self-reliance, decommodification and gifting (among others), how much does this granddaddy of all transformational festivals represent the ideal movement towards a society that is far from the ‘default world’ we live in?..."

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