We met when we were both in the Wexner Heritage Program and became friends when our daughters attended the same Jewish day school.  Since we’re both actively involved in Jewish life, we had a deep understanding that Judaism embodies rich content for how to live a meaningful and holy life and how to raise children with a deep sense of values and purpose.  We wanted to share that rich content and combine it with hip branding.  Last fall, we co-founded and launched The Jewish Skinny, an e-newsletter that offers a witty, fresh, original perspective and commentary on the weekly Torah portion and explores ancient and trending Jewish issues, including history, books, holidays, Hebrew, Torah, pop culture, influencers and DIYs.  Our goal is to enrich, intrigue, humor and inspire Jews, non-Jews, Jews-by-choice, wanna-be Jews and people who just like Jews.

Here’s a taste from a recent Skinny:

“The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning can feel meditative and mystical.  The Talmud (tall-mood) — a collection of ancient Jewish laws and customs — says we should view the moon’s monthly renewal as a reminder of the magnificent wonders of the world.  God (or read: divine presence, holiness, transcendence, spirituality) is often hidden from us.  When the new moon appears each month, it’s as if God is coming out to greet us.  And, when we see the new moon, we’re supposed to say “Hi!” back with a blessing called Birkat (beer-kaht) Halevanah (ha-lev-ah-nah), which means: the blessing of the moon.  There are lots of versions of Birkat Halevanah, but the basic formula is the same.  Try it!  It’s done when the moon is waxing (that is: when the moon’s illumination is increasing, before it becomes a full moon.)  Even if the moon can be clearly seen from inside, we’re supposed to go outside, as if we’re running to greet a queen or king or even Josh Hutcherson.  Then, stand under the open sky and face east (toward Jerusalem).  Place your feet firmly together, look up at the moon, lift up your heels and stand on your toes 3 times (lift, don’t click like Dorothy) as you say to the moon: “Blessed is your maker.  Blessed is your creator who formed you.”  You can add: “Blessed is God (or insert: divine presence, holiness, transcendence, spirituality) who renews the months.”  Then smile and wait for the moon to wave back.”

There’s been tremendous buzz about The Jewish Skinny. Subscription is free. You can sign up here.

Suzanne Dryan Felson, a Wexner Heritage alum (San Francisco 1), has been a leader in the Jewish community for more than 20 years.  Suzanne, in addition to co-founding The Jewish Skinny, was one of 12 thought leaders selected to participate in a think tank with IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm, to redesign the way San Franciscans are “doing Jewish.”  She is a supporter of Synago, a new platform for Jewish millennials across the country, and SoHo Synagogue in New York.   She is also the founder of Reso.io, an online booking platform for kids activities and has been featured in The Project for Women, The Potrero View, the San Francisco Chronicle, and SFGate’s “Moms We Love: Community Builders.”  She can be reached at suzannefelson17@gmail.com.

Debbie Findling, a Wexner Heritage alum (San Francisco Pro), is a co-founder of The Jewish Skinny.  She holds a doctorate in Education, a master’s degree in Jewish Education, a graduate degree in Rabbinic Literature and a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies.  She has published widely in both academic journals and mainstream publications; her most recent book, Teaching the Holocaust, is based on her doctoral dissertation.  She has worked professionally in the field of philanthropy for nearly two decades and lectures often on the need for constructive disruption in the Jewish community.  She was a fellow at the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute and a finalist for the prestigious Covenant Award for innovation in Jewish education.  She can be reached at debfindling@gmail.com.