Today I get to share with y'all something I've been working on a lot behind the scenes -- something that makes me feel proud, and humbled, and grateful.
First Build reflects many hours of work -- and more importantly, it reflects an enormous amount of heart and soul and commitment on the part of the friends and colleagues with whom I've been blessed to midwife Bayit into being.
Here you'll find our mission and our vision, our guiding principles, our hopes and dreams for what the Jewish future can be and how all of us -- including each of you reading these words right now -- are an integral part of building that future:
...If Judaism calls everyone to be a builder, then Judaism must look and act the part. A Judaism of “everyone” must be passionately egalitarian and inclusive. If Judaism is a house, then the house must be big enough for everyone, with rooms and other vibrant spaces for all, with wide hallways and some open floor plans. A Judaism of building must develop and distribute building tools, and use the right tools for the right jobs. And the house, the building methods and the tools all must evolve as the world evolves...
Here you'll find descriptions of what we did during our first year, from bringing a volume for mourners to the cusp of print, to beta-testing a ritual resources website, to our first social justice initiative, to the blog where we've been sharing weekly posts exploring Torah through a building-focused lens:
...Bayit’s work begins with four keystone initiatives: print publishing, spiritual resources to build experiences, a destination blog for blending wisdom and how-to practicality of building, and an innovative social justice partnership...
Here you'll find blueprints for what we aspire to build in our second year, from an innovation cohort and pilot program, to a retreat for clergy, to a Visual Torah publication, to a pilot program on college campuses:
...Year One focused on foundations. Second Steps will raise rafters, expand “research and development” networks, bring forward new books and resources, and launch pilot programs for colleges, congregations and clergy...
You'll find information about our fellow-travelers, our advisors and teachers, our organizational partners. Here you'll find also our foundational documents, bylaws and ethics materials, as well as a list of our donors and supporters, because we believe in transparency and accountability above all.
I am humbled and overjoyed to be a part of Bayit. I am incredibly proud of what we've built so far -- and also of how we've built so far, with integrity and care and compassion, with rotating leadership to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to serve, with openness to outside opinions and new perspectives, with an eye always on whether what we're building is in service of our animating principle that everyone can be a builder of the Jewish future and that that future belongs to everyone.
I know that annual reports are often dry corporate documents. This one isn't. It's full of hope and heart (and beautiful sketchnotes by Steve Silbert, too!)
I hope you'll read it, and be inspired, and let us know how you want to take up your tools and build with us.
Download it now from our Annual Reports page: First Build: Impact Report January 2018.