A fluid, community-generated guide to observing a more contemporary Sabbath will soon be published online at sabbathmanifesto.org. Site users will be able to submit their own suggestions of how to slow down and enjoy the Sabbath, as well as vote on which principles they find most useful or profound. The ten principles with the most votes will be the ones the community is encouraged to follow and will result in a collectively created, ever-evolving Manifesto that will change its rules based on the community's evolving needs and understanding of Shabbat.
THE BAD JEW BIBLE
Writers and essayists uncover the secular side of the modern Jewish community and set out to create a new kind of Jewish catalog.
Having read and re-read the classic 1973 do-it-yourself guide, The First Jewish Catalog, in the days before the 2004 Reboot Camp, Ari Kelman came away with a pretty good idea of how to braid challah and make his own tallis, but with less satisfaction regarding the exploration of the more secular side of Judaism today. “Bad Jews,” if you will. In conversations with participants at Reboot Camp, Kelman discovered a common struggle with the balance between secularism and Judaism, and from these discussions, he walked away with the seedling of an idea for The Bad Jew Bible. Kelman, who is an assistant professor of American studies at U.C. Davis, teamed up with Rebooter Nathaniel Deutsch, a professor of religion at Swarthmore College. Reboot helped connect them with a book agent who is in the process of helping them to find a publisher for the project.
The Bad Jew Bible is an anthology of essays and writings from current literary superstars about, in essence, being a Jew today, and being a “bad Jew” today. Topics will range from gay marriage and circumcision to meaningful ritual and feelings about Israel. The idea is to examine and reclaim the storied tradition of the bad Jew, and that ours is specifically the generation that is ready to do so. The Bad Jew Bible will cover everything from Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to Lenny Bruce, to your own bad self.
OUTSIDE THE BOX
A film that explores issues of family, identity, and being Jewish and black in America today.
One of two Reboot-spawned films featured in the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, Outside the Box is an in-progress documentary journey by filmmaker Lacey Schwartz, a Jewish girl from a Jewish family who first learned at the age of 18 that her biological father was black. Ten years after this discovery, Outside the Box follows Schwartz as she sets out to connect the seemingly disparate pieces of her identity.
Though raised in a Jewish family, Reboot was truly Schwartz’s first Jewish community of peers. With the help of the supportive Reboot network, the people she met at Reboot Summit, and being inspired by the issues they discussed, Lacey explored the Jewish side of her heritage, thus allowing her to fully examine her own identity. As well as exploring her own identity, Lacey found herself trying to get a sense of the collective identity of the American black Jewish community. Lacey explains that both quests for truth required her to go to the direct sources—members of the American black Jewish community as well as her own parents. “I tried to find the answers from other sources,” she says. “Books, the internet, magazines, but I could not find more than the basic history. Similarly, with my family, I struggled to understand what they knew and how they felt about my black identity without directly asking them.” Outside the Box follows Lacey on her journey to confront her mother and two fathers about her mixed-race identity, and uncover the traditions, heroes, heritage, roots, and identity of American black Jews.
The film is currently in its production phase following a well-received screening of its trailer at Tribeca.
For more information, please visit http://www.goldglassproductions.com
Creating a Reboot “look-alike” in Denver to help build and strengthen the young Jewish community in the Rocky Mountains
One of the most encouraging examples of Reboot’s success is the spontaneous growth of a “Reboot look-alike” satellite operation that is now underway in Denver. Eager to engage the local Jewish community—similarly to how Reboot has done in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—the Rose Community Foundation in Denver has spearheaded an effort to build a structured network for the city’s young, disaffiliated Jews—a network that will fill the void of innovative and resonant Jewish life, culture, programming, and dialogue.
The Rose Community Foundation is currently working closely with Reboot to successfully build a community using the Reboot summit template, while infusing their own ideas and a distinct feel that is specifically tailored to Denver. In December 2006, Reboot was enlisted to consult with the foundation as they organized a “Reboot-style” Denver Summit. Facilitated by Reboot faculty, and employing Reboot methodology, the event was a success. Summit discussions addressed such issues as the disconnect between the community and its leaders and institutions, the transformation of American Jewish tzedakah from an instrument of social change to that of charity and services, as well as more immediate changes and projects that participants expressed a desire to see take place locally.
The response to the Summit was overwhelming, and the hunger for more Reboot-like content was so strong that Reboot is now helping to supply the community with cultural content such as Guilt & Pleasure salons, J-dub programming, Reboot films and filmmakers, and books and authors for discussion and debate, Reboot-style. The enthusiastic Denver participants are, in turn, responding with their own Reboot-like ideas for future events and projects.
A fully interactive children’s Haggadah to help engage children in the Passover Seder, not just keep their attention.
As a community of Jews in their 20s and 30s, Rebooters fall into the category of people who are growing increasingly more concerned with the idea of starting a family and determining their family values. So of course it was only a matter of time before Rebooters got together to design a new children’s Haggadah.
At Reboot Camp 2006, Rebooter (and award-winning music video director, visual artist, and father) Adam Levite and his wife Francine Hermelin set out to design a fully interactive Haggadah, an alternative learning tool to help hold the little ones’ attention during the parts of the seder which don’t involve food. The idea behind this Haggadah is that it would serve as an activity book that engages children artistically in the text without distracting them from the course of the evening, and the meaning of the holiday. Activities involving stickers and coloring will allow the children to illustrate and interpret the story of Passover for themselves. In testing their Haggadah prototypes on their own children, Levite and Hermelin saw inspired, creative results from their older child, reading the text along with a parent, as well as their younger child, working in an outside-the-lines approach.