This time last year, we’d just concluded a strategic plan in response to an existential crisis: would we survive? And, should we?
As it turned out, our attention shifted to a different question: what matters most? What work, outcomes, and impact, were calling us?
I reflected on how Jewish learning has affected my life. It’s helped me to be a better husband, better father, better son, better brother, better friend, better neighbor, better citizen. It informed my life with joy and purpose. It helped me understand my place in the world and with whom I belong. It provided tools with which I could discern what success and happiness mean. It opened my eyes to the many blessings life has provided me. It deepened my connections with and obligations to my family, community, and the world. It helped me understand what and whose story I am a part of.
In short, Jewish learning helped me understand how to live.
I cannot imagine any treasure this world can offer that would have given me greater value.
Unpacking this treasure, the inheritance of every Jew, and sharing it as effectively as possible, emerged as our purpose. At once simple and complicated, it is important and, in this brave new world of ours, urgent.
Jewish LearningWorks advances Jewish learning that enriches lives, and that enables the learner to flourish as a human being and as a Jew.
To achieve these goals, we began to deconstruct many aspects of our work and then, based upon this emerging sense of purpose, build them back up again. Often, I see goals articulated as more engagement for more Jews. But those are not goals. To us, engagement of more Jews matters if that engagement enables them to thrive and deepen their impact on the world.
Metrics matter; as you will see in our annual report, we track them assiduously. But we want to understand how our work changes lives! We want to know how our work empowers teachers and parents to enable their students and their families to grab hold of their Jewish inheritance and thrive!
I hope you will take a few minutes to review our story.
If our work, our approach, our outcomes, are consistent with your values, if you feel we are building the Jewish community you wish to have – please give. This approach is not for everyone; if it is for you, then it needs you to support the change you wish to see in the world.
We are grateful to those who have contributed this year; you are among the reasons we have survived our “existential crisis.” If you have not yet contributed or if you are moved to contribute more, I invite you to take part in the emerging and exciting world of 21st century Jewish learning.