I don’t get out much. That’s an understatement.
I spend an inordinate amount of time each week doing a ridiculous number of things. In descending order, here’s a run-down of the things I’m currently working on: 1) Executive Director at Kesher Newton, 2) instructor at Prozdor, 3) doctoral student, 4) tutor for B’nei Mitzvah/tefilah skills, 4) blogger for JewishBoston.com.
Oh, and lest I forget, I’m also leading a series of educational programs for Seniors for the JCC of Greater Boston, and just accepted a gig in May to be a madrich for a new CJP/Hebrew College young adult outreach program, Did I mention that I’m also raising three kids, ages 7, 5, and 1 and trying to spend some time at home with them once in a while? And also trying to find time to run and get to the gym every day? And to actually relax on Shabbat?
Needless to say, all of this is a challenge.
Into this mix, this Spring I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply for CJP’s PresenTense Boston Fellowship. Some people that I trust told me that I would enjoy the experience, and one thing led to another and I found myself on a snowy December Monday taking the T to CJP for the opening dinner for the cohort.
And so it began. What originally took shape in my mind as an idea to do a teenage boys’ group at Kesher quickly developed into a venture dealing with so much more- to revolutionize the way that men interact with Judaism from their early teenage years through fatherhood. This twenty-year black hole is just that- a time when most Jewish men clock out from Jewish life, only to return, somewhat bewildered and generally unprepared, when their children are born. With little more than a great deal of conviction and some amount of salesmanship, this idea suddenly became not just a problem for Judaism, but a problem that I signed up to help fix.
With an idea in hand, and not much else, I entered PresenTense blessedly naïve. Luckily, though, after the first session (entitled “Inspiration”) I was pushed to clarify my thinking and get working. Within two weeks I had a functioning website (www.makingjewishmen.com), a schedule for my first grades 6-8 boys’ group for the spring semester, and an entirely new array of developing skills with digital tools like weebly, wufoo, and picnik, which six weeks ago I would have never known existed.
It’s hard to believe that just until late December, PresenTense was still an unknown, because now, surrounded by a dazzling cohort of young innovators whose vision and passion are palpable, and forging boldly forward towards a future that I can’t really predict, it’s become a very important part of my life.
For the next few months as I go through the PresenTense Boston Fellowship I’ll continue to be, as my twitter profile says, “busy and happy.” Making Jewish Men has already gone from a germ of an idea to an up-and-running program with real participants and a real budget; I’m excited to see where it takes me next.
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