Lots of ‘innovationists’ left


To the Editor:

I’m not sure which Jewish "innovation sector" Matthew Ackerman is looking at, but the one that I’ve come to know and appreciate over the past decade includes a lot more than JDub, Jewcy and Heeb. Hazon, Avodah: Jewish Service Corps, Uri L’tzedek, Kehillat and Mechon Hadar, Moishe House, Keshet, MyJewishLearning.com, a whole bunch of North American Limmuds and literally dozens of other organizations are contributing to every sector of Jewish communal life.

The closing of JDub is sad for those who valued its efforts to promote new Jewish music and provide opportunities to enjoy that music to those who may or may not otherwise have thought to do so. And it does raise warning flags about how we are supporting relatively new (but not brand new) organizations with the potential for further growth. But the "movement … now spent itself out"? Hardly. Just check out the next issue of Slingshot, due this fall, or the projects (not all destined to succeed, to be sure) coming out of ROI or PresenTense.

It’s thoughtful of Mr. Ackerman to offer his advice to the "innovationists" about how they need to change. But the far more important requisite is for continued change in Jewish educational, cultural, spiritual and communal life, and this the innovationists are contributing to mightily — for which I, for one, am grateful.

Jonathan Woocher
New York, N.Y.

The writer is the chief ideas officer for JESNA and directs its Lippman Kanfer Institute.

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