I have been mulling over how to begin this end-of-year letter to you -- how to start on a positive note when 2018 has been a difficult year, for our community and our world. We have been confronted with tragedy and prejudice, injustice and intolerance.
As Executive Director of Reboot, I have thought deeply about how our organization is doing its part to address and improve this current reality. I have dedicated my life to the arts. To me, artists, makers and cultural creatives have an ability to let us see the world as it is, and as we want it to be. For the last 17 years, Reboot has helped lift the Jewish creative voice, shining new light into the world through products of creative ingenuity.
Reboot is proud to be a convener of Jewish thought, creativity and action. As we wind down 2018 and head into our 18th year, I would like to share with you what we have accomplished, along with a little insight into next year. It is incredible to think of how many wonderful communities, organizations and individuals we’ve connected with this year and we’re grateful to continue this important work.
In the past year, we have had over 1,634 events and community partner gatherings with 119,000 participants. We’ve also debuted, shared and expanded on exciting programs that focus on aspects of Jewish life:
The Ritual Collective features Oscar/Tony/Grammy award winner Benj Pasek, Iris Mansour, and other Broadway theatre luminaries. They reinterpret Jewish holidays through live events with original music, scripts and storytelling. Check out what they did for Passover in this New York Times article.
Death over Dinner - Jewish Edition was successfully piloted in collaboration with IKAR in Los Angeles and also in San Francisco. With a new website, resource guide and toolkit, we’re preparing for a national launch. Read Tablet’s article here, and then sign up for your own Death Over Dinner experience.
Reboot piloted a fellowship program in conjunction with the Yiddish Book Center, with Reboot network members focusing on curating, analyzing and reinterpreting Yiddish texts to extrapolate Jewish lessons for new generations. Right now, our fellows are busy translating the Max Spitzkopf detective series (the Yiddish Sherlock Holmes), the beloved childhood favorite of Isaac Beshevis Singer, with the goal being to bring these tales to new audiences.
Our podcast on all things Jewish, The Kibitz, was back for a Hanukkah episode. It features a special Kasher vs. Kasher debate, recorded live at IKAR in Los Angeles, featuring Rabbi David Kasher and his brother, comedian Moshe Kasher, hosted by Dan Crane.
This year in San Francisco, we hosted our third annual Reboot Hanukkah Pop-Up Shop, a curated gift shop and community space featuring collectibles, specialty items and creative gatherings designed to inspire anyone interested in Jewish life. We engaged well over 1,500 people during 10 days and hosted programming with 10 different community partners to provide meaningful and fun moments of Jewish connection. We received extensive press coverage from a variety of outlets, including KTVU, the San Jose Mercury News and J Weekly.
All of this has been done while we have diligently worked on a strategic plan for Reboot. Under the guidance of Liz Schrayer and Associates, we are codifying a new Mission and Vision for the organization that will make our work even more impactful for years to come. We will be unveiling the strategic plan in early 2019.
In 2019 we will be launching a new program tested in 2018: Silver Screen Studios. Created by documentarian Steven Goldbloom and PR maven Tiffany Woolf, Silver Screen Studios is an intergenerational and educational oral history project that teaches and exposes young people to the wisdom of the Jewish community elders. The series engages young people as the interviewers, content makers and archivists, capturing and recording vital Jewish stories through short videos. By producing and sharing these profiles on social media, Reboot is also bridging a digital divide, finally placing older voices on online shareable spaces, where they can be preserved, collected and treasured. As we continue to roll out the new program, you can perform your own interview and join such legends as Norman Lear and Marion Ross.
What I love about Silver Screen Studios is its creative way to use the medium of filmmaking to bridge generations and teach our history and pass down our traditions; it exemplifies how creative and artistic minds can be inspired to pioneer projects that can lift our spirits and better our world. Reboot’s work is not to simply provide you with answers, but inspire you to ask big Jewish questions. To create spaces for inspiring conversations and make connections with others who want to join in.
Thank you for being with us in 2018. If you would like to help Reboot, please donate below.
With thanks and much appreciation,