Introducing 31 Days, 31 Ideas
Hi, my name is Daniel Sieradski. I’m a 30 year-old Brooklynite, an on-again, off-again observant Jew, and a progressive Jewish community activist.
For over 10 years, I have been working as a web designer, digital strategist, and blogger within the Jewish community. In that time, I have worked for dozens of community based organizations on a freelance basis, as a full-time staff member for the JCC in Manhattan, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Repair the World, and founded various ventures of my own, including the pioneering progressive Jewish blog Jewschool.com, an Israeli-Palestinian hip-hop collective known as Corner Prophets, and a web application called ShulShopper that helps people find a prayer congregation that suits their personal spiritual needs.
Throughout the last decade, I’ve had many ideas for innovative projects that I believe would benefit the Jewish community, and the world beyond, immensely. And since the very beginning, I have been working to get my own organization, Jew It Yourself (formerly known as Matzat), off the ground, so that I could devote myself to my projects on a full-time basis. But I have met considerable challenges doing so.
Partly, these challenges have consisted of acquiring preliminary funding (a topic I’ve written on recently), rising above my own maturity level (I started out when I was 20 and, as a smart-alecky blogger, developed a reputation for being something of a lightning rod), and overcoming the fact that I’m more of an idea man than a businessman: I like to focus on the creative end of my projects much more than the particulars of grant writing and bookkeeping. For these reasons, among others, I recently concluded that the likelihood of my projects ever seeing the light of day — or those that are currently works-in-progress acquiring the necessary support to bring them to fruition — are slim to none.
That’s why I’ve decided, beginning New Year’s Day, that I will be posting the details of one of my project ideas every day for 31 consecutive days. Each day, I will explain the thinking behind, the argument for, the execution of, and the expected outcomes and benefits of each and every one of these projects. What I hope to achieve in doing so is to attract collaborators, executors, funders and general community support for these ideas so that wherever interest lies, we, collectively, can move forward in seeing these ideas manifest. I also hope to spark an open discussion about innovation, addressing the emerging needs of 21st century Jewry, and the role of establishment Jewish organizations in providing for the needs of the Jewish public.
I certainly don’t expect to do all of these projects myself. Really, I’m hoping folks will step forward and say, “I want to do that,” whether as individuals or organizations. I’m not looking for a paycheck here, so much as to make an impact. Therefore, if you see something here you’re amped up about that you want to take the lead on, give me a holler and I’ll help you get the ball rolling. And while it’s not about me, but about seeing these projects come to life, please don’t be a total jerk and steal the ideas here and call ‘em your own. I promise, if you work with me, the project will turn out much better than if you go it alone.
That said, not every one of these ideas is a winner. And not every one is necessarily original either — some of them I’m sure others have already thought of, while others still are direct extensions of others’ existing work (which I intend to credit fully). Most are ideas for web applications, some are web publications, and some are ideas for new organizations all together. And not every one of them is parochial even — some have uses beyond the Jewish community. Yet what connects them, is that each one brings something to the table that I believe to be truly revolutionary and transformative — things that have the potential to alter the Jewish world as we know it. And that’s what I’m in it for: A revitalized, renewed, and refreshing Jewish existence. It’s the only thing I’ve ever truly been for.
So, as we begin 2010, let us together look towards the future for what is possible for the Jewish people should we put our minds, our hands and our wallets to it.