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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

Bagels, Latkes, and Design Thinking: A Recipe for Rejuvenation in our Jewish Community



Shalom, my thoughtful creatives! Today, let's chat about something you might not expect to be on the menu at our communal Shabbat dinner: design thinking. Yep, you heard it right.


Now, I know what you're thinking, "What do user-centered innovation strategies have to do with our vibrant Jewish community?" Well, pull up a chair, grab a rugelach, and let me explain.


Design thinking, my dear friends, is not just for trendy tech companies and hip start-ups. It's a problem-solving powerhouse that we can use to address some of the challenges that exist even within our strong and storied Jewish community.


Why Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a solution-oriented approach that puts empathy at its heart. It allows us to truly understand the problems we face from various perspectives, encouraging us to think of innovative solutions that meet everyone's needs. Think of it like a communal reading of the Haggadah, where everyone's perspective and interpretation adds richness to the story.


Applying Design Thinking to Our Community Challenges

Whether it's bridging the gap between different Jewish traditions, engaging our youth more effectively, or ensuring our community is inclusive and welcoming for all, design thinking can help.


Prototyping and Iteration: The Jewish Way

With design thinking, we get to 'prototype' solutions. That means we create low-risk ways to test our ideas and see what works and what doesn't. It's like making latkes - if the first one falls apart, you adjust your technique until you're flipping perfect potato pancakes.


Our Jewish Values Align With Design Thinking

The principles of design thinking mirror the values we hold dear in our Jewish community: empathy (rachmanus), knowledge (chochmah), community (kehilla), and repairing the world (tikkun olam).


So, let's borrow a page from the Torah of Design Thinking, my compatriots. Let's seek to understand before being understood, let's dare to innovate while embracing our rich traditions, and let's ensure our Jewish community not only survives but thrives, welcoming every member with open arms and an open heart.


And remember, just like kneading challah dough, it might take a bit of work and mess to get there. But oh, the satisfaction when it comes out of the oven, golden and perfect - that's what design thinking can bring to our community. So let's roll up our sleeves and get to it.


L'chaim!

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