Monday, November 30, 2009

Social Networking before the Age of Twitter

What Facebook Can't Give You, a fascinating article that appeared in the November 25th issue of Wall Street Journal, describes a group of approximately 20 men, of whom 75% happen to be Jewish, who have been meeting together since 1957.

I recommend the article as a good read, but also for the following paragraph, which appears somewhere near the end.
'Daddy's Ideas'
'The men had hoped their sons would create an adjunct group that would one day assume the Wednesday 10 mantle but none took the initiative. "Daddy's ideas are not the ones children tend to take on," says Mr. Menschel.'
 Does that mean those ideas were not good?  Of course not.  I think it means that the founding generation cannot expect those that follow to necessarily value what they value.  Or, at the least, cannot expect the next generation to express even the values that are shared in the same ways.

As this is true for those 'movers and shakers' in the Wednesday 10, it is often true of our institutions.  It is the reason that to be successful going forward institutions have to be willing to re-invent themselves, to welcome the new ideas of those who come after the founders.

And this is particularly challenging in the context of a religious institution.  Because most religion is by its nature conservative, and Judaism is no exception, there is a need to preserve the values, practices and wisdom of  the past.

How we do that in a popular culture that often seems to look ahead, with little regard for the past, is one of the most difficult tasks we face.

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