The President's Desk: Andrés Spokoiny

Andrés Spokoiny is President & CEO of Jewish Funders Network. Full bio >>

Purim: Shame, Power, and Dumb Luck

What if we are wrong about Purim? What if Purim is not the joyful holiday that we think it is, but a mordant exercise in self-criticism, a painful look at the mirror, a scathing self-deprecation designed to inspire shame rather than glee?

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Ecophilia: Tu Bishvat 5777

Lake Valencia in Venezuela was once a beautiful place. Nestled among mountains and sierras, and blessed by a humid and temperate climate, it developed a rich ecosystem that had sustained countless plants and animals, as well as human tribal societies.

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Judaism Unbound Episode 47: Andrés Spokoiny

Judaism Unbound, a project of the Institute for the Next Jewish Future, is a project that catalyzes and supports grassroots efforts by “disaffected but hopeful” American Jews to re-imagine and re-design Jewish life in America for the 21st Century.

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Is “The Twilight of the Elites” a Sunset for Jewish Philanthropists, Too?

Cross-posted at eJewish Philanthropy

We live in an era that journalist Chris Hayes calls “The Twilight of the Elites.” As a culture we have discovered that our society – in all its sectors – is ruled by elites that are both corrupt and incompetent. Our congressional leaders, for example, have a lower approval rating than George III had during the American Revolution (a mere 8%).

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The Junta, the Park, and the Sukkah: A Lesson in Community Architecture

We’re more affected by architecture than we might want to believe. The built environment conditions our thoughts and behaviors. Every building sends a message.

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How Much Can Happen in Seven Seconds: Rosh Hashanah 5777

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

In 2007, at Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, scientists conducted a troubling experiment. They put people into an MRI machine and asked them to press one of two buttons in front of them. The subjects were told to do this several times, and to choose freely which button to press.

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Shimon Peres z"l

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The Aspen Tree & Funder Collaboration

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

The aspen tree, from which that beautiful Colorado town takes its name, is a remarkable plant. An aspen forest is, in fact, one single organism. All nearby trees are linked by their roots, making them, de facto, a single plant. It’s said that an aspen forest in Utah is the world’s biggest living organism. The interconnected nature of the aspen trees makes them incredibly resilient. Nutrients and water circulate freely among the trees, and the stronger help the weaker to the entire forest’s benefit.

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Why Elie Wiesel Wasn't a Holocaust Writer: A Personal Remembrance

The first books by Elie Wiesel that I read were not about the Holocaust; they were Spanish translations of his works about the Hasidic masters, given to me as a Bar Mitzvah present by Rabbi Marshall Meyer. In fact, for many years I didn’t even know that Elie Wiesel was associated with the Holocaust in any way.

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Me and Bobby McGee, and Shavuot

Cross-posted at the Times of Israel

In “Me and Bobby McGee,” the famous blues/rock song popularized by Janis Joplin, the narrator expresses a romantic view of freedom that has become definitive for many of us. Maybe age has taken its toll on me, but now I see that beautiful song in a whole new light.

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