HIGH HOLIDAYS RE-IMAGINED!
10Q is an online series of questions, one a day for ten days, created by rebooters Nicola Behrman and Ben Greenman. The questions, ranging from personal to community, family to work, serve as triggers for High Holiday reflection. Participants’ emailed their answers to a secure online vault just after Yom Kippur 2008. Next year, right before Rosh Hashanah, the answers will be sent back to each person and the whole process will begin again. Over 1000 users participated in the 10Q pilot program…
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Grande Soy Vanilla Latte with Cinnamon, No Foam
Grande Soy Vanilla Latte with Cinnamon, No Foam: Jewish Identity and Community in a Time of Unlimited Choices. Download Rebooter Anna Greenberg's new report focusing on the dislocation between the growing and intense interest young Jews have in their Jewish identities and the complete disinterest they express about Jewish institutional life.
Click here to download the Poll (PDF)
OMG!: How Generation Y is redefining Faith in the iPod Era
Anna Greenberg left the Reboot summit and decided she would undertake a groundbreaking study of the comparative identities of young Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Muslims and their relationship to both religious identity and institutional religion. Entitled "OMG! Generation Y is Redefining Religion, Identity and Community," the results were released at the Brookings Institution on April 11 with a panel featuring E.J Dionne, Anna Greenberg, Bill Galston of CIRCLE, Roger Bennett and Malia Lazu of Cities for Progress.
Click here to download the poll (PDF)
SONS OF SAKHNIN UNITED
A documentary sheds light on the Arab-Israeli experience and a community’s beloved soccer team.
During discussions at the 2004 Reboot Summit, Rebooter Michael Cohen wondered aloud about the state of Arab-Israeli citizens. Having raised the issue with the right people, at the right place, Cohen found himself on a flight to Israel only six weeks later with documentary filmmaker Chris Browne. Cohen, a former music industry executive who had recently started his own production company, and Browne (whose debut film, A League of Ordinary Gentlemen, documented the National Bowling League’s takeover by five Microsoft executives) had together begun what would become a three-year effort to bring to the world one of the most improbable chapters in recent Middle-East history. Almost as unlikely as the story was Michael Cohen’s participation in such an initiative—before his involvement with Reboot, he had never before considered working to explore the idea of Jewish identity. The result of his exploration is a film about Bnei Sakhnin, a soccer team in an Israeli Arab town, with a Jewish coach, both Arab and Jewish players, and a fan-base that lives and dies with every result.
Sons of Sakhnin United is a film about more than just an against-all-odds sporting triumph. It is about a nation’s clashing efforts to be both a Jewish and a Democratic state—a state in which one in five Israeli citizens is Arab. Reboot’s aim is to use Sons of Sakhnin United as an accessible way into a conversation that the American Jewish community is just beginning to have about Arab-Israelis. Sons of Sakhnin United premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival—enjoying sold out screenings throughout its run—and screened at the 2007 Jerusalem Film Festival. The film garnered glowing press in both Sports Illustrated and Variety. In addition, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues is screening the film at college campuses across America, using the film as a mechanism to educate young Jews about Jewish-Arab issues in Israel.
FOUR SEASONS LODGE
Reporter Andrew Jacobs’ documentary captures the end of an era for holocaust survivors who have lived their lives to the fullest every summer in the Catskills.
In 2005, Andrew Jacobs wrote a six-part series for The New York Times about summer life in the “Borscht Belt.” His participation in the 2005 Reboot Summit inspired him to return for an extended summer stay—long enough to fully capture on film the friends who had laughed, danced, and stayed up too late together, every summer for the last 30 years. The result is the documentary, Four Seasons Lodge.
In the 1970s, nearly 100 Holocaust survivors from Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Poland created a sprawling retreat in the Catskills, but after three decades, the time came for the lodgers to sell their beloved colony. Jacobs explains, “I felt compelled to document these people who had survived such atrocity, but had managed to escape the darkness and bitterness that afflicts so many Holocaust survivors, and embrace life. I believe these folks can teach the world something about how to move past unimaginable horror and trauma and find the sweetness in friendship, family, humor, and in their case, dancing the macarena late into the night. Reboot helped inspire and embolden me to take on the project. I had no filmmaking experience but Reboot people pushed me forward and offered me their wisdom and their connections.”
Jacobs teamed up with legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens) to make Four Seasons Lodge, and the Reboot network was instrumental in facilitating the production aspects of the film, as well as its development, even organizing a fundraising event. Four Seasons Lodge is currently in post-production.
For more info, please visit http://www.fourseasonsmovie.org
A popular L.A. variety show puts a new twist on Torah study, focusing each show on the week’s Torah portion
For four years Jill Soloway was a writer and producer of HBO's Six Feet Under. Her writings have been widely published and a collection of her essays, Tiny Women in Shiny Pants, was published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster in 2005. Prior to attending the 2005 Reboot Summit, Soloway had created and produced an ongoing variety show in Los Angeles called Sit n’ Spin. The shows feature well-known comedians, musicians, writers, and performers, all riffing off a different theme each week. Following her experience at the Reboot Summit, Soloway—who had previously been only loosely connected to her Jewish identity—decided to create a new event in the same vein as Sit n’ Spin called Heaping Portion.
Heaping Portion revolves around the particular Torah portion for the week of the performance, and engages young audiences—who most likely wouldn’t otherwise engage in any kind of Torah study—in a regular celebration of Shabbat in an unexpectedly universal setting, such as at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in Los Angeles, attracting audiences in the hundreds, as well as incredible buzz and press. The success of the events is due in large part to the talented performers, who have included writer Neal Pollack, comedian Marc Maron, and alternative Jewish educator Amichai Lau-Lavie.
For more info, visit http://www.myspace.com/heapingportion
A record label uses music as a way to make young people think about history.
Reboot Stereophonic has been developed as a work of passion by an eclectic team of music industry tastemakers who met at a Reboot Summit. Courtney Holt (formerly at Interscope, now Executive Vice President at MTV), David Katznelson (music industry veteran, former Vice President of A&R at Warner Bros., now the head of an independent label group, the Birdman Recording Group), and Josh Kun (author, New York Times contributor, and associate professor in the Annenberg School of Communications at U.S.C.), along with Roger Bennett (co-founder of Reboot) have since traveled across the country to chase down rare tunes and the stories of the musicians who made them—from New York to Los Angeles, from Puerto Rico to the Catskills.
When the Stereophonic crew sat down for the first time, they discovered that the Rebooting audiophiles beside them not only shared a passion for amazing lost vinyl, but actually possessed some of the forgotten records themselves. Early on in the development of Reboot Stereophonic, it became clear that the task at hand went far beyond music preservation. It was the preservation of history. Stereophonic has become like a Smithsonian for lost Jewish audio, but without the stuffiness. It is a valuable and modern tool for conversation about Jewish identity, but also, this is music you might actually want to throw on at a party, music that will make you laugh, will make you think—stuff you have probably never heard before and definitely will not find on any Jewish music compilation your Hebrew School teacher gave you to get in touch with your roots.
Reboot Stereophonic’s first release was a re-mastered version of Irving Fields’ ground-breaking 1959 recording, Bagels & Bongos (May, 2005). Using Latin music as an idiom of Jewish expression, Bagels & Bongos features mambo interpretations of such numbers as “My Yiddishe Momme” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Shon,” as well as “Havannah Negillah.”
God Is a Moog (November, 2005) is a double album featuring recordings from 1968 to 1974, in which pioneering musician, and Moog keyboard innovator, Gershon Kingsley attempted to fuse the machine and the divine. Using his creativity, the Moog, and a few choice proverbs, Kingsley recorded everything from meditations on identity and freedom, to a rock opera for the Sabbath (written to include a gospel choir).
Jewface (November, 2006) is the world’s first and only anthology of Jewish minstrel songs, featuring works from Irving Berlin, Gus Kahn, Fanny Brice, Billy Murray, and other vaudeville greats from the turn of the 20th century. Included are such rare, old-school gems as “Cohen Owes Me 97 Dollars,” “Under the Matzos Tree,” and “I’m a Yiddish Cowboy.” Jewface unveils a forgotten dirty secret of pop music history; that some of the first hit records ever made were fiendishly catchy musical lampoons, created by Jews, for Jews, and actually loaded with anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Reboot Stereophonic’s fourth release is a re-mastered version of the 1959 classic Folk Songs for Far Out Folk (July, 2007) from legendary jazz innovator, Fred Katz.
For additional information about Reboot Stereophonic releases please visit www.rebootstereophonic.com
GUILT & PLEASURE
A quarterly magazine that’s “making Jews talk more.”
Inspired by the “open space” style of conversation at the 2002 Reboot Summit, author and journalist Mireille Silcoff began a trend of intimate discussion groups—called salons—which started off in her living room and today take place all over the country, and beyond. As the thirst and number of salon participants grew, the need for a related, focused text became apparent, and thus, the Guilt & Pleasure (G & P) quarterly was born; founded upon the belief that a good argument, especially on issues of community and identity, has become too rare a thing.
Today, G & P boasts an extraordinary assembly of popular essayists, novelists, journalists, and historians. Its editorial board includes novelists such as Jonathan Safran Foer and Gary Shteyngart, journalists A.J. Jacobs (author of The Know-It-All) and Dany Levy (founder of Daily Candy, a free daily email guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered), as well as academics Jack Kugelmass (professor of anthropology at the University of Florida in Gainesville) and Nathaniel Deutsch (professor of religion at Swarthmore College). Meanwhile, the self-organized salons which inspired the magazine still go on at bars in New York and Oakland, in living rooms in Boston and Baltimore, coffee houses in Chicago and Denver, restaurants in Miami and Montreal, a nightclub in San Francisco, a lounge in Los Angeles, and even at a bookstore in Siegen, Germany. At one salon in Paris, a G & P reader actually translated the magazine into French so he could engage his friends and then write about the experience for Le Monde Magazine. In addition, G & P has attracted the interest of more affiliated, young Jews who are also hungry for cultural content; Hillel, Birthright Israel, and local J.C.C. groups have all used G & P as a focal point for organized salons.
Each issue of Guilt & Pleasure is based around a central theme, such as the Home Issue, the Fight Issue, the Magic Issue, the Big Issue (about the Middle East), and the Healthy Issue. All issues have a varied mix of contributors and writing styles, including fiction, memoir, archival, and reported works as a means to be both topical and historical. G & P is sold nationwide at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and independent bookstores.
For more information on Guilt & Pleasure, visit: http://www.guiltandpleasure.com
A web pioneer utilizes the internet as a new outreach tool for large-scale exploration of Jewish identity.
Rebooter Tiffany Shlain’s award-winning short documentary and discussion program received a seed grant from Reboot, as well as further assistance with funding, strategy, and development—assistance that helped propel her film to official selection at both Sundance and the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, while also playing at over 50 festivals and events, winning eight awards (including Grand Jury Prize and Audience awards) and being translated into six languages. In an undeniably new take on exploring what it means to be an American Jew in the 21st century, The Tribe turns to one of the least Jewish Americans of the 20th century, Barbie.
Shlain is a filmmaker as well as the pioneering force behind the Webby Awards—the leading international award honoring excellence on the internet. By mixing together archival footage, graphics, animation, Barbie dioramas, narration, and slam poetry, The Tribe examines the unexpectedly intertwined histories of the Jewish people and the most successful—most blond and blue-eyed—doll on the planet.
Along with the short film’s dvd comes an educational activity guide to help personalize the exploration which The Tribe enables, as well as to place one’s reactions and feelings in a larger context. Using her knowledge of filmmaking and the internet, Shlain experimented with new forms of web distribution. To date, over 100,000 people have already seen The Tribe. Based on the success of The Tribe and her previous films, she co-founded The Moxie Institute, an organization that focuses on sparking discussions about social issues using film, theater, discussion programs and the internet. The Tribe was released theatrically in select cities and on iTunes in 2007, and has recently received a grant to develop formal curricula for high school and college students.
For more info, visit www.tribethefilm.com