Dr Tina Seelig, from the Stanford Design School, taught Wexner Heritage and Graduate Fellowship Alumni about creativity at the San Francisco Regional Networking Day

At the open space brain storm session during the San Francisco alumni gathering, I led a spontaneous discussion for whomever wanted to come talk. 20 alumni were encouraged to come up to an open mike and declare to the packed house what issue most impassioned them. I said: “The Pew Report renews the question: why are we losing Jews, generation to generation, at ever greater numbers?  The Community has looked at this as a priority for 40 years, first labeling it “assimilation” then “Jewish Continuity”, and losing ground the whole time.”  

More than 130 Alumni joined together to study creativity and motivation in San Francisco for the Wexner Alumni Networking Day 2013.  A bunch of like-minded alumni joined my group and here are some things we thought about:

·        the need for “more on-ramps and fewer off-ramps” to Jewish participation;
·        replacing ancient prayer based denominational Judaism with a joyful “meaning based” relationship;
·        is denomination based Judaism to be replaced by schools, camps and trips to Israel?
·        “Blessing of a Skinned Knee” a good read to understand how to make Judaism relevant to kids.  
·        Orthodoxy is growing among young Jews; it benefits by being a very clearly defined proposition.

Mark I. Schickman is a Wexner Heritage Alum from San Francisco 2. Mark is a partner at Freeland, Cooper, and Foreman, LLP. He received his BA and JD degrees from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the recipient of Columbia’s Whitney North Seymour Medal for Distinguished Trial Advocacy. He has held numerous elected bar positions, including service as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and Governor of the State Bar of California. Mark can be reached at mis@freelandlaw.com 

Click here to download a PDF document of the speech The Wexner Foundation President Rabbi Elka Abrahamson shared with those in attendance.