The 2012 Jewish Futures Conference held on Monday, June 4, 2012 at Columbia University brought together over 450 passionate leaders, educators and visionaries from the Jewish community to discuss 'Community and the Cloud,' - how new technologies and ways of connecting are affecting Jewish life and learning. The extraordinary event, produced by The Jewish Education Project and JESNA's Lippman Kanfer Institute, was the third and largest annual Jewish Futures Conference.
The roster of speakers included Courtney E. Martin, contributor to the New York Times Opinionator "Fixes" column, Allison H. Fine author of the award-winning book Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, Shimon Waronker, founder and headmaster of PS 770, The New American Academy in Brooklyn, and Rabbi Laura Baum of OurJewishCommunity.org. Through their presentations and a variety of interactive segments, conference participants explored challenging questions such as "how will the evolving natures of belonging, membership and affiliation influence Jewish communities of the future?" and "what happens when the bricks (i.e., traditional institutions) hit (or at least meet) the cloud (new social media and the values they embody)?"
"Our goal for each of these conferences is to stimulate those involved in Jewish education and community-building to look at their work from new angles, to challenge their assumptions, and to imagine different possibilities," said Jonathan Woocher, Director of JESNA's Lippman Kanfer Institute. "As the 2012 Jewish Futures Competition winners, Amanda Gelb, who is developing the Million Museum Project, and Amiel Hersh and Dana Levinson, who are helping to create the Ramah 365 smartphone app, demonstrated in their presentations, how organizations can use technologies and the creative energies of groups of individuals to expand and enhance community."
The full recording of the Conference livestream can be viewed here.
After the conference, many of those attending the conference (either in person or via video stream and Twitter Tweets) joined in the conversation via blog posts. Among them:
- Smashing the Idols: A Not-Quite-Live-Blog Inspired by the Jewish Futures Conference - Esther Kustanowitz
- The Establishment is Not an Idol - Liz Fisher
- Jewish Futures Conference: Reimagining Jewish Life in the Connected Age - Debra Askenase
- The Future for North American Jewry Seems a Little Less Bleak Now - Chemi Shalev
- More on Community and the Cloud - Marc Stober