December 16th, 2010
This piece first appeared in the November issue of Sh’ma, a Journal of Jewish Responsibility. Aaron Bisman is the President and CEO of JDub Records.
I was a senior at NYU studying music business when a friend and I founded JDub, a not-for-profit that forges vibrant connections to Judaism through music, media, and cultural events. We were musicians interested in the depth and breadth of Jewish experience and creativity, unwilling to accept that institutions should dictate where and in what ways one could be or “do” Jewish.
Between us, Ben and I covered a range of Jewish identities worn by “insiders” and “outsiders.” He was from an intermarried home in Pennsylvania, exploring a range of observance levels and immersing himself in academic and personal Jewish study. I came to New York from Arizona, the son of a rabbi yet lover of Jewish summer camp and, at 21, completely disenchanted with what I saw as the disastrously bureaucratic, parochial, and polemical industries of the American Jewish community. In the words of Steven Cohen, we found American Judaism, and its institutions, to be alien, boring, coercive, and divisive. Read More »