Dateline – Boulder, Colorado: a multi-day invitation-only gathering is bringing together leading thinkers, experts, innovators and activists to discuss the impact and implications of networks and network-thinking for the future of the Jewish community. Designed and hosted by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the program participants will be using cutting-edge methods to focus on key questions, including:

  • How do network theory and innovation intersect in the Jewish non-profit sector?
  • What are the needs of the Jewish community’s network weavers and from which types of capacity building would they benefit?
  • How can networks and network clusters be linked for leveraged wisdom and resources?
  • What does it mean to animate a network? Is there such a thing as over-animation?

The high-energy program opened last night with Sandy Cardin, Foundation president, wondering “where this group will take the Jewish community”. It was a fair question indeed for participants included not only some of the brightest young movers and shakers, but also program officers from other foundations. True collaboration; true network building.

As Seth Cohen, the Foundation’s Director of Network Initiatives, told eJP, “When participants leave Boulder, we hope they will have gained a greater understanding of networks and their practical implications for their own work as well as having formed connections with a new community of colleagues who share similar interests and challenges. The program is designed to move from the theoretical to the tachlis – exploring networks through the prism of Jewish history, knowledge and communal needs – and how they can be used to advance both Jewish and universal values. The program is built around open-space discussions about the opportunities and the challenges we all face in activating our respective and collective networks.”

Unique also was the joining together of so many that the community has invested in over the past decade and their strong desire to move forward together and to strengthen our Jewish community. A bold new look at the future built from the ground up. A good lesson for all.

You can follow the conversation today and tomorrow at #jnets.

Stay tuned: more coming up on Networks Gathering as we begin this exciting new collective Jewish journey.