The last three days, Gina Haraszti and I participated as guinea pigs in a pilot project run by Mike Savatovsky called Nu Montreal. This event sought to answer one very strange question: What happens when you put money and 30 young new media savvy people in a room for 50+ hours and ask them to make Judaism relevant? We were hand picked to represent different areas of expertise. I came with video games, but others came with food, art, consultation, operations management, tweeting, and venture capital, to name but a few.
The first half was centered on sharing our stories, our conflicts with being Jew(ish), our insights and food. The second half broke us out into brainstorming sessions until nine groups of 3 emerged around projects to pitch to judges. The game was to come up with some idea that could be pitched in 5 minutes to a panel of cross disciplinary experts (we had Mr. Food, Ms. Media Corp, Ms. Philanthropist, Mr. Jewish Engagement, and Ms. Famous Actor). The top three would go on to a community vote to select one idea for funding.
Projects ranged from Ju Camp for adults, to a fuckyeahjews (purging Jewish anxiety and while gathering community analytics) blog, to creative myth making projects, to community meals surrounding cross cultural sharing, again to name a few. My project was to change the meaning of Kosher to slow food, market cuisine and otherwise foodie experiences. #kosh, aggregated by a tumblr and repeatedly launched with food fairs organized by local market cuisine chefs. The theory was that Jews today are losing ways to act Jewish, but if you can call instagraming a fine meal “Kosh” then you might find some ways of identity building around meaningful experience.
My team won a 10 000$ development investment award in the form of seed money to launch an online crowdsourcing campaign to elevate people’s awareness for #kosh foods. And 500$ each for conference travel or professional training. Going in I was one of the least Jewish people there, but that experience was secularly Jewish and lovely and I was surprisingly thrilled to be a part of it.