experiments, instruments & measurement book

Applications Now Open for the Jewish Futures Conference Competition

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
The Jewish Futures Competition
The Jewish Futures Conference
General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America
November 7, 2011
Denver, Colorado
Rarely does an opportunity present itself for emerging voices to take center stage before the movers and shakers of an entire community. This competition provides you with the opportunity to share your ideas about how to shape the Jewish educational landscape of the 21st century. We encourage you to seize this moment to be bold, brave and visionary as we stand at the crossroads of what many have claimed to be a new era of Jewish life.
The Jewish Prosumer:  
The Move from Consumer to Producer in Jewish Life and Learning.

The 2nd Jewish Futures Competition is part of the Jewish Futures Conference being held on Monday November 7th at the Jewish Federation of North America’s annual General Assembly in Denver, Colorado.

Last year's winners, Patrick Aleph, Russel Neiss, Michael Sabani, and Charles Schwartz have all gone on to receive accolades and major communal grants since their appearance at last year's conference.

Sponsored by the Jewish Education Project and JESNA's Lippman Kanfer Institute, and hosted by Jewish Federations of North America, The Jewish Futures Competition invites your thinking on how to create a dynamic Jewish future.

The Jewish Futures Conference will bring together visionary thinkers, passionate individuals, and inspiring presentations in a conference designed to shift the horizon of our thinking in Jewish education.

Advances in media and technology are propelling rapid changes in the ways we live and learn that extend far beyond the technologies themselves. The Jewish Futures Conference will provide a space to imagine, learn and engage in purposeful and courageous conversation about the future of Jewish education and how it can thrive in today's and tomorrow's world.   

The theme for this year’s Jewish Futures Conference and the focus of the Competition is:

The Jewish Prosumer: The Move from Consumer to Producer in Jewish Life, Living, and Learning.  

How will Jewish life, living, and learning change as we move to a society in which individuals are not only consumers of information and culture, but also producers of their own and others’ experiences?

We invite you to share your answers to these questions in a way that is engaging, provocative, thoughtful, and perhaps even inspirational.


  • Exposure as a presenter before a select group of national Jewish leaders
  • An opportunity to share your vision for a Jewish future
  • An expense paid trip to participate in Jewish Futures Conference at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America in Denver.
  • A cash prize of $1800 for each competition winner.  


For more information  
contact Debbie Seiden at  

Communications Advice from Big Duck pt. 3

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
In this final video from Big Duck's presentation at Yachdav, Sarah Durham talks about the importance of being audience-centric.  This is especially important in today's fast-paced, multimedia world; reaching and connecting with your audience is both more difficult and more vital to the success of our organizations.

How is your congregation audience-centric?  How do you put yourselves in the shoes of your congregants?  Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!

Powering Innovation and “Radical Openness”

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
We all recognize that innovation doesn't happen alone.  We need other people, to allow our ideas to collide, spark, and improve.  

But what does collaborative innovation mean for us?  What kind of attitude, or approach, makes for a successful collaboration?

In this presentation, part of the excellent TED Talks series, Chris Anderson challenges us to address just these questions…to engage our communities and spread ideas by harnessing the power of radical openness and crowd-accelerated innovation.

Anderson specifically discusses the power of video.  How is your congregation using video, if at all?  What kinds of responses have you gotten?

Communications Advice from Big Duck pt. 2 – Personality

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
If your congregation were an animal, what would it be and why?

How about a car?  Or a movie character?  Or a food?

Asking these kinds of questions can help you determine your congregation’s personality, which, as Sarah Durham explains below, is a key part of developing a communications strategy.

How would you describe the personality of your congregation?  How do you communicate that personality?

Overheard at Yachdav pt. 2

Here let's take a look at another conversation overheard at Yachdav in which a group discusses a Havdalah model.  This model integrates young and old, new and continuing members, and takes place in members' homes.

Havdalah is a ceremony of transition, a “liminal” space.  How does your congregation engage in liminal spaces?  How does celebrating transitions impact your community?

Best Practices – Communications Advice from Big Duck

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations


At Yachdav, we were privileged to hear some inside tips from nonprofit communications specialist Sarah Durham, founder of Big Duck and author of Brandraising.  In their own words, Big Duck “combines nonprofit expertise, strategic thinking, and creative solutions to address your biggest communications challenges.”  Sarah's presentation offered some helpful tips and insights from their previous campaigns.  Here she is speaking on the concept of positioning – that big, differentiating idea that sets YOU apart.    

What were your take-aways from Sarah's presentation?  What is one thing your congregation will do differently?

Tweeting #Torah to the Top

by the Coalition of Innovating Congregations
Tonight marks the beginning of Shavuot, the holiday during which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai by staying up all night (or at least giving it our best shot!) and learning as a community.  It's how we reenact the feeling that the awe-struck Israelites must have had when they were first given the Torah at the foot of that humble mountain.


Tonight, the Torah will be given again…and again and again – in the form of 140-character messages sent over Twitter.  The Jewish Publication Society is challenging the Jewish community all over the world to make #Torah a “trending topic” on Twitter.  

Why tweet the Torah?  As JPS says on their blog, “Tweeting the Torah not only displays the Torah’s relevancy in modern society, but also gives followers an opportunity to take in the text in smaller chunks.”

To contribute to the effort, check out their website.  To enjoy the knowledge online, whether you have a Twitter account or not, click here to follow the stream of conversations.

How will you celebrate Shavuot?  How do you bring a feeling of revelation into your community?

Chag sameach!

The Chavurah Model – Community Synagogue of Rye

by Shana Zionts, Coalition Educator
Now that the summer is off to a start, many congregations are doing the hard work of taking their new model grant proposals and getting them off the ground. I wanted to share the document that Laurie Landes (Education Director) and I have worked on to bring Community Synagogue of Rye‘s new model from theory to reality. Feel free to share your ideas for bringing your new model to life.
Shana Zionts is a Coalition Educator, creating and implementing new models and working with PLTs to implement professional learning in 3 congregations. 
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