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Times are a-changin’, Mobius tells Jewish establishment

by JewishJournal.com

November 13, 2007 | 11:21 pm


One of the inspirations for my work here at JewishJournal.com was a guy I at first knew only from his blog.

He called himself ‘Mobius,’ and founded the Jewschool blog which talked about being Jewish in the 21st century in a way I could relate to, and, arguably, started the JBlog onslaught online.

Passionate, smart, and impatient,  Mobius was recently plucked from blogistan and hired as The Web Guy at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (The Al-Jazeera of the Jewish International Media Conspiracy, Inc.).

Mobius—real name Dan Sieradski—is in Nashville for this year’s General Assembly of The United Jewish Communities. The 2006 ‘GA.’ was a real snoozer, according to the coverage we ran last year.

He blogged about the GA earlier this week (pointing out some of the rampant BS in the air) and spoke to the part of the august assemblage today, reinforcing Stanley Gold’s insistence that the Federation system as we know it is largely irrelevant.

Mobius used the ‘web as empowering agent’ model to illustrate one way to the future. The WWW is two-way conduit, and the future lies in helping people connect and work together, on their own ideas, on their own initiatives, on and offline. 

(I like how he was described in the news story.  I wonder how many editorial hours were were spent on the wording!)

. . . Closing the plenary was JTA’s director of digital media, Dan Sieradski, a Jewish Web maven. Known outside JTA as Mobius, the Orthodox Anarchist, Sieradski started the influential and iconoclastic blog Jewschool, and is prone to post-Zionist outbursts.

The speakers offered some critical advice. Sieradski scolded the established Jewish community as too parochial in its funding, and he called grant makers “disconnected” and “soul crushing.”

The next big Jewish idea, in fact, “has probably already come and gone, and been shot down by no less than a dozen Jewish grant-making organizations,” he said. “And because the innovator will have no resources at his or her disposal with which to continue his project, he will probably walk away from it crushed and discouraged. And a revolutionary idea that could have transformed American Jewry forever will never come to be.”

Still, Sieradski envisioned a future federation system much like the one described by Kanfer, in which the federation is not the seed bearer for new Jewish initiatives but the system that nurtures those ideas by accepting and funding them.

The full article is here.

Anyhow, right on, Mobius, and let’s go, Stanley Gold.  Enabling and empowering are the most important parts of your job. 

Chabad’s Bob Zimmerman said it in 1963, too:

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

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