Monday, August 12, 2013

Red Patterned Pants: Big statement or Big Mistake?

 These are the pants I'm wearing to Wednesday's Summer Institute. I haven't worn red patterned pants since I was a toddler. The desire to set the stage for a day of play is the only thing compelling me to step so far out of my fashion comfort zone.

Task at hand: Visualize Jewish Education for Real Life in 2020

After four years of working in New York with a clear strategic direction it is time to identify what's next. What is the work to sustain innovation in the Coalition? How do we extend our reach? What is the next frontier and how do we cross it?

I'm not answering these questions alone. Instead I'm on a steady quest to gather 500 voices. Wednesday is a full day with 150 voices of  professionals and lay leaders from The New York Coalition of Innovating Congregations, NY networked congregations, folks from the movements, professionals from Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston. Board members and funders, artists and scholars are in for a day of visualizing Jewish Education in the coming years.

Do you think the day is historic? Have reps from The Recontructionist, Reform and Conservative Movements sat together before to shape images of Jewish education in the future?

In creating the visioning agenda one message was clear: The future is changing so rapidly that many visioning tools no longer work. To plan for the future, and to walk humbly--rapid change raises the risk we may be way off--, we're trying some risky stuff. A traditional suit just didn't fit the day.  Note to fashionistas: These diamond patterned pants look much crazier in my size than they do in the size 0 worn by the model.

To face the challenge we are asking the 150 attendees to bring their playful creative selves. Ready to stir the right side of your brain?

If we don't get kicked out of UJA for making too much noise on Wednesday, we'll be drumming, drawing, moving, story telling, and ...yes one more thing to take us to the wild side--playing cards--not poker--Tarot cards.

Tarot cards, many people think, are used to predict the future. Actually Tarot cards are used to help people get in touch with their deeper intuition. So I checked for the kashrut on this slightly mystical game, and got permission to read Tarot cards (special ones made for Jewish education). What's your kishka saying we need to attend to  when looking toward the future?

With the creative energy of talented passionate people doing some unconventional thinking, What will we be talking about on Thursday?

Generative images of Jewish Education for Real Life 2020!
Or
The pants that should have been left on the rack at Banana Republic.