JCSA Gets It!

They really, really get it.

Several hours ago JCSA concluded their annual meeting proving without a doubt that not only could they ‘walk the walk’ but were adept to ‘talk the talk’. The theme this year was titled LINKED: Maximizing technology for the future of the Jewish community.

And for those who may feel that like other conferences they were only paying lip service to both new technologies and the new generation, I have a suggestion: call them to plan your next program! For not only was the topic relevant, they had ‘tuned-in’ and ‘on-point’ speakers; the event was live video-streamed welcoming participants from as far away as Israel and Russia; and they utilized Twitter, allowing those from afar to ask questions.

Summing up the evening, panel moderator Lisa Colton gave us these important take-aways:

  • be nimble
  • be more connected
  • be less proprietary
  • be more collaborative and share with one another
  • listen better: understand who your community is; hear what they want
  • and remember, technology is only a tool.

The formal program began with keynote speaker Allison Fine, author of MOMENTUM: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, and the newly released paper, Social Citizens.

Reminding us we are living in a time of revolutionary, and not evolutionary change, Allison drove home the major point of the night, we are in a connected age. The 20th century was the information age and we have so moved on. Our eco-system is connection to one another.

The 21st century has ushered in small, inexpensive and easy to use tools; this is what has allowed the revolution to happen.

And what specifically is the revolution: that power has shifted from institutions to individuals.

Our challenge is thus: this revolution allows us all to participate in large ways, small ways, however, wherever and with whomever we choose. The question is, can we learn to listen? And for those who wonder, we have the tools to do so.

There is so much more to say from this panel, and I will. What was envisioned as a blog post will be at least three. I believe there are huge lessons to learn. So, please stay tuned and come back later today, for more from Linked: Maximizing technology for the future of the Jewish community.

But, I do have one other thought I would like to express this morning. In her introductory remarks last night, Brenda Gevertz, JCSA’s Executive Director, welcomed everyone to this, their 110th annual meeting. Outstanding; and you can’t get any more old school establishment than that. For those who think you ‘can’t teach old dogs new tricks’, this presentation should dispel that notion.

So, Kol Ha-kavod to the JCSA, their staff, lay leadership, the speakers and anyone else who had a hand in bringing this dynamic program together. It was well worth the time, and I presume money, spent. And if I misquoted or took something improperly out of context, chalk it up to making notes at 1 am.

Second, Brenda, you should call Howard Rieger. Lead him by the hand to listen to the recording of the panel. The UJC just approved $750,000 (this from their new and improved lower budget) for ephilanthropy initiatives. He should transport the panel, in full, to the GA here in Jerusalem and provide it a leading plenary voice.

For if the UJC, and I single them out only due to their size and influence in the American Jewish world, does not listen and hear the lessons that came forth, not only will their ephilanthropy efforts fall far short, but their outreach to the millenial generation will culminate in an implosion.

Some final thoughts on Linked are here.