Submitted by rebecca on June 7, 2012 - 10:33am
Embracing Community and the Cloud at the 2012 Jewish Futures Conference
Over 450 attendees actively discussed technology’s impact in Jewish life
Jewish Futures Conference participants tweet during Courtney Martin's opening session
The 2012 Jewish Futures Conference (#jewishfutures, www.jewishfutures.net), held on Monday, June 4 at Columbia University brought together over 450 passionate leaders, educators and visionaries from the Jewish community to discuss ‘Community and the Cloud,’ - how new technologies and ways of connecting are affecting Jewish life and learning. The extraordinary event was produced in partnership with JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute and was funded by UJA-Federation of New York.
The roster of speakers included Courtney E. Martin, contributor to the New York Times Opinionator "Fixes" column, Allison H. Fine author of the award-winning book Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, Shimon Waronker, founder and headmaster of PS 770, The New American Academy in Brooklyn, and Rabbi Laura Baum of OurJewishCommunity.org. Through their presentations and a variety of interactive segments, Conference participants explored challenging questions such as “how will the evolving natures of belonging, membership and affiliation influence Jewish communities of the future?” and “what happens when the bricks (i.e., traditional institutions) hit (or at least meet) the cloud (new social media and the values they embody)?”
“We chose the theme ‘Community and Cloud’ for the 2012 Jewish Futures Conference, because this is an issue of critical importance to institutions and the Jewish community today and tomorrow”, said David Bryfman of New York's The Jewish Education Project. “It was important to both The Jewish Education Project and JESNA that all attendees, professional and lay leaders, left our three hour event inspired by new ways of thinking, having made new connections, and even having generated new ideas to take back to their communities.”
“I was delighted to see such a broad range of leaders—policy makers, philanthropists, classroom teachers and many others-- all in the same space to grapple together with the changing world and the implications for Jewish education,” said Alisa Rubin Kurshan, Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning and Organizational Resources at UJA-Federation of New York, an event sponsor.
“Our goal for each of these conferences is to stimulate those involved in Jewish education and community-building to look at their work from new angles, to challenge their assumptions, and to imagine different possibilities," said Jonathan Woocher, Director of JESNA's Lippman Kanfer Institute. “As the 2012 Jewish Futures Competition winners, Amanda Gelb, who is developing the Million Museum Project, and Amiel Hersh and Dana Levinson, who are helping to create the Ramah 365 smartphone app, demonstrated in their presentations, organizations can use technologies and the creative energies of groups of individuals to expand and enhance community.”
“It took a community to produce this Conference,” Bryfman noted. “We’re delighted that so many people from every part of the Jewish landscape found it meaningful, and we look forward to 2013.”
To view the 2012 JEWISH FUTURES webcast, click here.
Learn more at www.jewishfutures.net.
Jewish Futures Conference participants share new ideas for live Twitter stream