Liar Liar or the Innovation Imperative?

If I add my voice to the criticism of Sarkozy, I would be just rehashing what you hear in the blogosphere and honestly, it is not that important. It is the political equivalent of celebrity gossip. Whether Sarkozy likes or dislikes Netanyahu is irrelevant. Whether France supports or doesn't support Israel is dictated by broader interests and that is what really matters.

As for the "Innovation Imperative", it is far more relevant to our community and to how we can ensure a Jewish future. Simply put, what is called the "Innovation Imperative" is trying to find an answer to the question of how can we introduce change in our community to attract the periphery without neglecting our obligations as a system. In other words, how can we harness the ideas of younger generations and of those who are looking at the system from the outside to have an even larger impact on a positive Jewish identity?. How can we harness all that energy to help Jews in need everywhere? How can we harness all that energy in support of the Jewish State?

The answer is not simple, but for the sake of description we could say that all starts with the "Sh'ma Israel"...with listening to what people have to say. This is not your Granpa's (Zayde's) community anymore, nor is it the same world. Yet some things remain the same...

When growing up, I remember asking my Zaydes (both of them) how did they manage to bring people into the Jewish community. Both of them (and they normally disagreed on everything else) used to say the same thing "Yiddele by Yiddele" (Jew by Jew). The Jewish community at its best is not about the big decisions; it is about the individuals. It is not about the abstract needs, but about the warm community shoulder to rely on. When we bring all the "Yiddelech" (little Jews) together, dreams and ideas have a way of becoming reality.

The Innovation Imperative is the XXI Century equivalent of my grandparents' "Yiddele by Yiddele". It means the recognition that every person has the ability and the potential to make a positive contribution to the ideas and resources of the community as a whole.

We owe our survival as a people to our diversity of opinions, to the richness of our differences, and to our outspokeness. read it right. If we had been a homogeneous group of people we would have gone the way of all the other ancient people who vanquished us militarily but are no longer around with the same culture and traditions they had back then. Our culture and traditions may not the same either, but we have a continuity of identity, an historical memory rather than History. We remember what happened to our people as if we ourselves had gone through it..."Every person must remember the Passover as if he (she) him(her)self went out of Egypt" we say at the Passover Seder.

When historical conditions change around us, we Jews always come up with a thousands different answers on how to deal with it. One of those ideas, or a few of them, prove to be the right answer...the rest do not go to the dustbin of history but remain in our collective memory as alternatives that didn't work...then. Most ideas are preserved in our collective memory, as in the Talmud.

Today the world in which we live is changing fast...shouldn't we be encouraging as diverse as possible a forum of ideas? Each idea might have part of the answer...why denying ourselves the intellectual and emotional resources? And yes, we need to reach a consensus of some kind so we can act on it...but remember that a Jewish consensus does not smother dissent; quite the opposite. Jewish consensus is something that nobody is happy about but everybody can live with. Jewish consensus is the distillation of all the diverse ideas thrown on the table. The richer the mix, the richer the wine...

The Innovation Imperative demands that we make room around the table for as diverse as possible a gamut of ideas and initiatives; to make sure people can try them out and learn from each other. Since that approach worked for more than 3000 years, maybe it is a good idea to give it another try...


Add Comment