Rising Up and Lifting Up

By Rabbi Micah Lapidus, Karen Rogow, and Amy Shafron

This is a story about a wildly awesome and unpredictable adventure in values-based marketing. It’s about The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy, Atlanta’s Reform Jewish Day School, but the lessons are easily applicable to just about any Jewish organization. We hope that you agree that this story, like all good stories, combines a healthy amount of luck with an even healthier amount of thought, planning, and creativity. So here goes…

In 2009 our school rabbi, Micah Lapidus, wrote a song called “Rise Up.” It’s a song about social action and social justice. Because it’s a great song and because one of our school’s Menschlichkeit values is Tzedek, we decided to engage our talented community in making a professional recording of the song in 2013. As luck would have it, “Rise Up” isn’t only a Davis Academy anthem, it’s also the motto of The Atlanta Falcons. This fortunate coincidence influenced our decision to incorporate The Atlanta Falcons when it came time to produce a music video for the song.

When we sat down with two of our alumni who run a very successful film and video company, we started to sketch out the vision for our “Rise Up” music video. The Atlanta Falcons were certainly part of the vision, but our Menschlichkeit value of Tzedek compelled us to dig even deeper. Enter Congressman John Lewis, who graciously agreed to introduce our “Rise Up” video during a community visit held at The Davis Academy last November. Eventually our “Rise Up” video would come to include Congressman Lewis, CNN’s Gary Tuchman, The MLK Historical Site, Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, The Atlanta Falcons, and of course, the adorable and inspiring children of The Davis Academy. But our thoughtful planning, creativity and good luck didn’t stop there.

“Rise Up” debuted on the big screen of our brand new state-of-the-art performing arts theatre at the grand opening of The Davis Academy’s Next Stage expansion. When was that? Sunday, January 22nd, 2017. Later that afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons would defeat the Green Bay Packers to earn their place in Super Bowl LI. Between the Falcons’ well-deserved victory and the political whirlwind of inauguration weekend, The Davis Academy found itself with a music video that was quite literally, breaking news.

Since the release of the video, Rabbi Lapidus has been invited to give several radio interviews and our entire school community is rallying behind “Rise Up.” And those of us that participated in the early stages of planning for our video are reflecting not only on our great timing, but on the organizational lessons learned. Though we’re in the midst of the whole experience, we want to share our first and most significant takeaway (no pun intended). It has to do with how we understand the concept of values-based marketing.

Values-based marketing typically means appealing to the values and ethics of your customers. But here at The Davis Academy it means engaging our own organization’s core values at every step of the marketing process based on the belief that others will respond in a positive way and have a better understanding of who we are.

Our organizations have core values for a reason. Here at The Davis Academy, that reason is because our Menschlichkeit values reflect both who we are and who we aspire to be. “Rise Up” took hold at Davis because it is an authentic expression of our values. For that reason, everyone understands that we aren’t simply soaring on the wings of the Falcons excitement, but instead lifting up a core component of our identity.

We hope that, regardless of political party or NFL loyalty, you enjoy our “Rise Up” video. After all, it’s fundamentally about The Davis Academy and the values we hold dear. For that reason, it’s an opportunity for viewers to reflect on their values and the values that they hold dear.

Rabbi Micah Lapidus is The Davis Academy’s Director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies. Karen Rogow is The Davis Academy’s Director of Marketing. Amy Shafron is The Davis Academy’s Head of School. Now in its 24th school year, The Alfred & Adele Davis Academy is Atlanta’s Reform Jewish Day School.