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Welcome to the Wisdom Curator, a new blogging initiative to try to make meaning of our world




Our world is evolving at a blistering pace. The prevalence of the internet during the past 20 years has caused massive shifts in the way we understand almost every human endeavor, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic only emphasized the need for adaptation. And I can’t help but feel like a great many people are struggling to keep up. Like drinking water from a firehose, we have everything we need, plus so, so much more. The challenge is figuring out how to know what’s worthy of our attention.

 

I entered the rabbinate because I had a deep desire to help care for people as they navigated the complexities of everyday life. From my personal experience, rabbis have been some of the great supporters throughout history, helping to use the Jewish language for meaning making to help bring purpose and intention to our lives. In many ways, this work is timeless, eternal. Despite changes in our circumstances, there is beauty and calm in knowing that spiritual leaders are there to help ground us and remain constant. Yet, our rapidly changing environment has led many to ask how organized religion can remain relevant in our lives when so much has changed. It is even leading some would-be-rabbis to wonder if this is the right path for them.

 

Last week, Shira Telushkin (daughter of famous rabbi Joseph Telushkin) wrote an article in The Atlanticexploring the realities of the modern rabbinate. She examined the diminishing number of young people seeking a place in rabbinic leadership, while also trying to prophesy where that will lead us going forward. She wrote, “A new center of gravity for American Jewish life is emerging, far removed from synagogue life and the institutions that have defined it. The centralized Judaism of the 20th century is giving way to a series of independent organizations, reflecting a broader trend across faith communities toward religious individualism. This new Judaism raises questions about what a rabbi should be in the 21st century, whom they should serve, and what to do now that so many congregations can’t find one.”

 

As a Millennial Rabbi serving a congregation, I live this tension every day. I know the beauty and benefit of institutional infrastructure. There is a reason that the congregational model has been so successful for so long; the resources and shared ideals that synagogues offer is one of the best forms of communal cohesion I’ve experienced, and I am particularly lucky to serve an organization that embodies all the best of what Judaism has to offer. But I have also seen how hard it is to carve out a space in the “market,” competing with other extracurricular activities, work obligations, and social conventions that are desperately clamoring for attention. Over and over again, my peers and I face the same challenge: how do we articulate the value that we bring to people’s lives? In other words, how do I best use the Jewish tools I’ve been given to be present with people as they navigate the realities of contemporary life?

 

This is why I created the Wisdom Curator. For generations, rabbis have been the ones who maintain a relationship with our written tradition, helping bring people access to the information and wisdom that will be most helpful for meaning making. In our lives today, this is no small task. With the constant influx of “content” at our disposal, it can be incredibly hard to pick and choose what is worthy of our time and focus. At one point in history (not all that long ago) it was possible to read every single book published in a year. Now, it would take a lifetime just to read every book released on any given Tuesday. There are billions of TV shows, movies, podcasts, pieces of art, lectures, articles, and songs to experience, each offering a simple promise: I can show you how somebody sees our world. From my perspective, the single greatest thing we can do for one another is help point the focus to the information that really matters. And that is what the Wisdom Curator is going to try to do.

 

On this site, I am going to explore the deeper meaning of the media we consume in our everyday life and try to explore how it can inform us about a life well-lived. Sometimes we’ll explore pieces that show the best of humanity; sometimes we’ll explore something that shows us at our most complicated, our most base. The goal of this blog is to convene a conversation around how we find meaning and purpose in the world around us. This is, from my experience, the exact role of a rabbi, and the thing our world deeply needs.

 

Jews are often referred to as, “the People of the Book.” It is an apt name: we have been studying the same texts for thousands of years, continuing to find new and insightful ways to interpret the lesson of our written tradition in our contemporary lives. I want to bring the same analytical mind that I use when studying Torah to our wider media landscape.

 

Shira Telushkin asked the essential question, “who do we serve?” I don’t serve the Jewish people. I don’t serve Judaism. I serve human beings looking for meaning. I use my Judaism as my lens to do that. You don’t have to be Jewish to find meaning in what I do. All we need is a sense of connection, a foundation of relationship. We need the trust to know that when we say “look over there,” that we know it is said with good intentions and with thoughtful care.

 

Because we need help pointing our focus to the most interesting, meaningful parts of our world. There is so much beauty out there. We just need to know where to look.


To learn more about this new blogging venture, visit the-wisdom-curator.com.

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