19 December 2008

The Action has Moved

I'm blogging at Sowing Light these days. Topics include Teaching, New Media, Energy Independence, and Brilliant People.

This space is left largely for people searching for things like Karliner Chasid Sukkah.

11 March 2008

A Little Bit Crazy

Better if she thinks I'm a little bit crazy
and loves me anyway.

how can I start singing and dancing
with no explanation?
I don't give an explanation to my self.

how can I follow my soul's direction,
in to infinite vistas or holocaust ovens?
These things come to me, I can't ignore them.

Better if she thinks I'm a little bit crazy
and loves me anyway.

how can I ever really laugh, or cry?
how can I find myself jacked up on raw electric energy
or devastated and born anew by the way a hawk circles in the air?

Better, I say, if she thinks I'm a little bit crazy
and I think she's a little bit crazy too.

That way we can both dance our way
into God.

Image by Wili_Hybrid

04 March 2008

The Pattern for Peace

Mel Alexenberg has a great idea for how to come to peace in the Middle East.

Spring returns to Israel

Spring Returns!

A few weeks back I wrote this:

The hawks are back!
I just saw two of them flying up the wadi
jumped out of my seat and leaned over my desk
looking out my window as they sailed past
brown, motionless wings
drawn on by unseen winds
drawing my heart after them

Today I went for a walk on the wild side of Jerusalem's Sachar Park - the wild rakafot (cyclamens), kolaniot (poppies), and skediot (almonds) are blooming up a storm - all pink, red, and white. Beautiful!

09 December 2007

On Farming

It's Shmittah over here in Israel, so I'm taking my farming online. I'm starting to write a technical blog. It's called Sowing Light (nice name, huh?) and you can find it wherever the Internet is...

19 October 2007

What I learned

Well, the adventure of being Executive Director of a small yeshiva is coming to a close. I thought I'd last more than 8 months, but I have been disproved. Don't ask me where I'm going, I haven't figured it all out yet. I'm staying on the board of the yeshiva and helping to find a replacement for me, cooking up some projects with the Creative Zionists (come visit us at the GA!), looking for a place to learn, trying to decide if I'm going to bite the bullet and sit for smicha, thirsty to get back into programming, and pretty well aware that I can't keep holding all these lines at once.

So what did I learn from the whole adventure?

Variety is good. Don't try to live, work, learn, pray, and play all the in same place. 'nuff said.

Fund raising is tough. It takes a salesman's demeanor, and it's still tough. In the end, what are you offering the donor? I came to what I think is the most honest approach one can take when sitting in front of a potential donor - "You've spent your time earning money, and you've got more than you need. You want to do good in the world, but alone you don't have the time. You've got the money to invest, and you want to find someone who's doing good in the world and invest in them. So what's your vision of good? What do you want to do?" Then, somehow, you have to convince them and keep them convinced that what you are doing is good, and that you're doing it well. It's really more of a partnership model than a donor model.

Non-profits should run like for-profits. There, I've said it; so have a thousand wise people before me. So why don't they? I think it's a question of passion, and it's a problem that hits small for-profits as well. People pour their hearts, souls, and dreams into non-profits and startups both, and in each case those who put their entire beings on the line are the ones who end up strangling the fledgling child to death. At some point they have to give over control. The successful company usually has a smart person behind it who got the heck out of the way.

One of my supervisors at the former Unicorn is the best person I ever worked for. I asked her what advice she had for managers. She said two words: no ego. I can't say I've lived up to that advice, but I've grown to appreciate it more and more.

I love to build. I really love to build. Did I mentioned that I love to build? And design. Building and design. Love it. Programs, houses, schemas, block towers, entrees, posters. I never had as much fun in this job as when I was building our website and designing our flyers. But that's not what it's about, not day-to-day.

Organizations can be engineered, and they can be farmed. Engineering involves rigourous planning and disciplined execution. Farming involves hiring good people, planting good will, encouraging potential, faithfully weeding and watering, chasing away predators. It takes love, day to day. It takes faithful constant care. It takes a group of people who are also oriented to farming. A careless engineer can really screw up a lot of good farming. I love to farm as well, but if you're going to be a farmer, you better make sure that you can set the tone of the organization to one of farming. A farmer in a world of engineers has a tough road.

I don't regret jumping into this at all. I've learned a lot, I believe that I've done some good work, and one way or the other I'm headed off on a new trajectory that would not have been otherwise possible.


11 October 2007

The Faces we Wear

Looking at how I wote myself up on a dating site, and then looking at how I wrote myself up on Myspace... Interesting to see the different tones. I'm sure someone's done research on how people put on different faces for different crowds. The whole online world collects all the data in a nice neat pile.

I'm posting this because I think it's fun writing. No dating inquires please. ;)

About Me:

Born in those United States, upper-right portion. Rolled through worlds of childhood, innocence, lost, coercion, rebellion, halluciantion, confusion. Moved further right to the coast, Bostontown. Continued to fall for a few years, then found a door. Picked up, worked to repair, replace, redefine. Began to move in worlds of hope, dreams, kindness. Hopped across the ocean to Israel and tuned in to some deep-drumming Ancient-of-Days music. Worked and working in worlds of truth, life, connection, stories, trust, admission. Now and forever on the edge of a reality just in formation.

Who I'd like to meet:

Anybody alive - open to worlds yet unknown. Respectful encounters with another aspect of the infinite. Sewing lines of connection in this holy tapestry.


This is how I describe myself:

Living here in the hills of the Holyland. Coming from Bostontown, where I encountered God in the strangest of places, and began to move in directions still in mid-blossom. Learning. Moving to keep up with reality-always-new. Exploring in Avodah, working to remain God-conscious, soul-conscious, body-conscious. Developing deeper-listening. Telling stories to wake up. Wondering how the world of a spark of the divine can be captured in a short barrage of words, how I can capture the abstract and real, the technical and nebulous, the emotion and thought. Digging dancing, nature, singing, living, praying, riddles, jokers, stories, tellers, colors, consciousness, and silence. Aiming to create relationships of respect, truth, growth, and love.

This is what I am looking for in a mate:

Straight-up, God-aware, self-aware, world-aware, conscious, living, thinking, joking, dreaming, feeling, open, listening, changing, growing. Able to move in worlds professional, casual, creative, technical, formal, free, asleep, awake, unknown. Looking to invite each other, the Creator, a home, children, a community. Looking to together sow hope and laughter and tears and love and prayers to build a world reborn. [ But hey, maybe start with a cup of tea. ;) ]