A unique experiment: today, tomorrow, Pesach…

Dear All,

We don’t usually send out emails on the Sunday of a holiday weekend. But we’ve chosen to do so today to make it easier for you to participate in a unique online experiment that’s taking place today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. It’s an “online jam,” and it proceeds from a unique conference that I attended in Jerusalem in November (and which I wrote about in this email.)

Following that gathering, seven groups proceeded to flesh out ideas for what we could/should do to renew Jewish life, in a partnership between the government of the State of Israel and diaspora Jewish communities. The intent is to commit $200m+ to one or more projects arising from this process, with the government putting in $100m (already fairly firmly committed, subject only to final budget ratification next month) and with diaspora communities contributing at least a further $100m+. (That latter number is a little iffier; can the money be found or raised? That will itself probably hinge on the ideas that come out the other side of this [vegan] sausage machine.)

That’s where you come in. An “online jam” has now begun, and will run through Tuesday. All the draft papers have been posted. You can read them; you can comment; you can add your own ideas. I think there’s some kind of online facilitation, also. The whole thing is a grand experiment, so it could flop. And there’s no certainty that money will ultimately be committed, or that your particular views will affect the outcome. But I take this process at face value: I think that money will indeed be committed; I expect  that new projects will arise, or existing ones will be expanded; and I believe – and certainly hope – that your voice will indeed count.

Click here to join the online jam.

Shavua tov,


PS. It’s only 57 shopping days till seder night! You’re warmly invited to join us for what should be a truly remarkable Pesach retreat at Isabella Freedman with produce from our fields; OU Glatt Kosher pasture-raised meat from local farms and sourced by Grow & Behold; Seders and Divrei Torah led by “New York’s Funniest Rabbi,” Rabbi Neil Fleischmann, back for his 15th year; wildly popular environmental programs for kids, Camp Teva, featuring engaging activities for the young ones every day of the retreat,  led by Julie Rezmovic-Tonti & Rabbi Mat Tonti; daily traditional (with mechitza) davenning in our beautiful synagogue featuring the spirited hazzanut of Mattisyahu Brown; plus hikes, yoga, a folk concert with Laura Wetzler, and a campfire and kumzits (singing) night. And the baby goats are usually born during Pesach – it’s rather fun to hang out with them. Click here for more info and to register.