DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards

Video has increasingly become the most powerful medium for communicating your mission and programs, and engaging supporters in sharing your content through their social media channels like Facebook. Nonprofits are learning to take advantage of this medium in creative and powerful ways, with creative approaches, great storytelling, and fun graphics. Each year, See3 Communications, in partnership with YouTube, hosts the DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards. This year, winners will again have the chance to win one of four $2500 grants generously provided by the Case Foundation, awesome video cameras from Flip Video, a free registration to next year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference provided by NTEN and more. New this year: for small nonprofits that have small funds in the video department, there is a new category for the best “thrifty” videos produced for under $500. On top of all this, the winning videos will be featured on YouTube’s HOME PAGE in March. Talk about a boost to traffic. Submissions for Best Small, Medium, and Large nonprofit organization videos must be a video that was made in 2010. Entries for the Best Thrifty Video category can be for videos made any time before the end of the submission period. Each nonprofit can submit as many videos as they would like, but, we encourage only the best work from each organization.

  • Entries cannot exceed 10 minutes in length and are limited to nonprofits from the US, the UK, and Australia. See contest rules here.
  • All nonprofits are welcome to enter their video. There are no specific categories or missions we are looking for.
  • You can submit your videos from February 4, 2011 until March 2, 2011. Tell your friends to submit as well!
  • Starting March 7th, voting is open to the public, so be sure to share the word (Email, Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon).
  • Your organization MUST be a member of the YouTube Nonprofit Program. If you’re not, make sure that’s the next thing you do after you read this post. If you’re picked as a semifinalist, we’ll make sure you’re a member by the time voting begins.

And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a video. See, this is why it’s so powerful – I can embed this video in a blog in 10 seconds, and it just brings the text to life, don’t you think?

For more info on the context, visit http://www.youtube.com/nonprofitvideoawards You might also want to check out our previous posts on online video. Let’s see some entries from the Jewish community! Got a video to brag about? Post a link in the comments!

Hot Off the Press: Jewish Educational Leadership “j ed tech 2.0” issue

Check out the latest issue of Jewish Educational Leadership, "j ed tech 2.0" in print and online, published by the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education (some articles are available to members only). Topics include conceptual pieces that address big picture issues around Jewish learning and identity in the 21st century, as well as articles on specific projects and curricular resources. Zvi Grumet lays out the blueprint of the publication in his introductory remarks:

Our Research section opens with a mapping of the issues by Jonathan Woocher and colleagues*. Eli Kannai explores visions of the future of education; Judy Cahn and Rona Novick examine some of the social implications of new technologies; Devora Preiss shares highlights from her doctoral research on using technology to enhance spirituality in tefillah. Closing out this section is a short, insightful essay by Shifra Kaufman on how classical Jewish studies address some of the intelligences deemed necessary for the emerging new era. Our applications section is rich with ideas from the field. Sholom Eisenstat presents an overview of the integration of hardware and readily available, often free, software into educational settings; Lookstein’s Esther Feldman shares insights from five years of experience using distance learning for Jewish studies; veteran educational technologist Meir Fachler introduces the latest software from Gemara Berura to aid in the study of Mishnah. Efraim Feinstein introduces us to the Open Siddur project, Yechiel Hoffman describes how technology integrated into and enhanced a high school Jewish thought class, and Avital Drory shares some of the pioneering work being done in Israel in Jewish educational software development. Our Features section opens with Howard Blas’ description of the challenges, successes and lessons of creating an online Community of Practice. Selections from John Palfrey’s Born Digital provide significant food for thought, and Contributing Editor Levi Cooper continues to tantalize with a fascinating perspective on a previous technology revolution. Finally, our Perspectives column features Sam Lehman-Wilzig, a professor of communications, whose research at Bar-Ilan University focuses on the impact of future technologies on society.

*The article, Technology and Jewish Education: A Revolution in the Making by Monica Rozenfeld, Jonathan Woocher, Lisa Colton, and Caren Levine is based on our work on the JE3 project over at JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute.

So, kick up your feet and peruse away. What captures your imagination? What are you integrating into your work? What are challenges that you are facing? What would it take to bring your work to the next level?

[cross-posted on jlearn2.0]

Hanukkah Entertainment That Educates?

in collaboration with guest blogger Rick Recht The ultimate form of ‘cool’ in the Jewish world is when your non-Jewish friends also think it, whatever IT is, is cool. Well, cool just happened – twice. [If you’ve seen the videos, feel free to skip below them to the bottom of this post. Unless, of course, you can’t help yourself but watch them again.] On December 4, the CNN.com top headline picture was a snapshot from a viral video by the Maccabeats, male a capella group from Yeshiva University. The video Candlelight, a parody of teen heart-throb, Taio Cruz’s top 10 hit, Dynamite, and Mike Tompkin’s a cappella version of it. The Hanukkah version has racked up more than 2 million views on YouTube, earning the Maccabeats appearances on The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN.com and The Washington Post, among others. Candlelight includes lyrics about the Hanukkah story and traditions such as latkes and dreidel spinning. The video humorously depicts the Maccabeats reenacting aspects of the ancient Hanukkah story in makeshift gladiator costumes occasionally flash-forwarding to present day Yeshiva college buddies flipping latkes, studying Torah, and singing on camera, Brady Bunch-style. Simultaneously, another new Hanukkah video, by reggae rapper, super star, Matisyahu, attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. Matisyahu’s song, Miracle, is a contemporary interpretation of Hanukkah, where in a dream sequence Matisyahu meets Antiochus, the King of the Greeks, and the father of Judah Maccabee (the hero of the Hanukkah story), also named (get this!) Matisyahu. At Shabbat services last week, I mentioned the viral videos and then many laughed and nodded in recognition of the achievement by OUR Maccabeats and Matisyahu. We’ve got communal pride because this caliber of media rarely emanates from the Jewish world, and when it does, Jews take notice. These videos have the perfect combination of ingredients — including high-quality talent and cinematography, great humor, a clear connection with popular culture, and a powerful story line that is authentic Jewish history. These guys took it to the next level by unashamedly expressing their Jewish pride by using fun costumes, humor, and symbolism to tell the Hanukkah story. We’re not just talking about playing dreidel, we’re talking about the pressure to assimilate, and the temptation of … well, "chocolate stuff". (Don’t know what I mean? Watch "Miracle"!) While they are surely educational, the approach isn’t shoving historical facts down your throat. I asked my 23 year old office manager, Seth, why he thought the videos were cool and he didn’t skip a beat in responding, “First off, they’re hilarious. They are a great example of the talent that comes from our Jewish community. Now that these videos are viral, not only within the Jewish community but everywhere, it gives us pride to be Jewish because Jews AND non-Jews are watching and loving these videos. Hanukkah has lost a lot of its religious meaning and understanding for many of us (young people) and these videos give us a different way to look at the holiday and put a modern spin on it. They highlight the Jewish people and bring attention, in a very good way, to our Jewish community.” For Seth and many other young Jews, these videos exceed their apparent entertainment value and become more meaningful because they have a clear educational purpose. They don’t just hover around the contemporary iconic Hanukkah symbols such as dreidles and Hanukkah menorahs. They tell the REAL historical story of Hanukkah. They serve as relevant and meaningful sources of Jewish education for this holiday that has lost much of its meaning having become a contemporary American Hallmark holiday. They employ the ultimate tools for reaching and impacting young lives – music and video – and then stream the content on YouTube, the most powerful platform for video sharing. It’s also a powerful place for expression, identity building, and discusComment on Maccabeats Videosion. A few comments on the videos are posted here – they are fascinating to browse to gain insight into youthScreen shot 2010-12-06 at 10.55.39 PM (and not-so-youth) culture today of both Jews and non-Jews. Timing is everything, and the chance of being exposed to anything by or about Jews is dramatically increased during the Hanukkah season. It is no coincidence that these 2 videos hit their rocket-like trajectory on the 3rd and 4th days of Hanukkah. Familiarity breeds popularity. In the case of the Maccabeats, their song Candlelight was a parody of one of the most popular songs in the country. Almost every kid in the country had already memorized Dynamite by Taio Cruz and only had to learn the new Hanukkah lyrics in the Maccabeats’ parody. Screen shot 2010-12-06 at 10.58.49 PMScreen shot 2010-12-06 at 10.57.43 PMSo let us rejoice for the blessing of these two incredible viral videos that have infused our Jewish lives with such excitement and pride during this holiday season. And let us contemplate a time when individuals in our Jewish community can achieve national recognition in between holidays, using the power of music, video, and genuine high-quality talent to not only entertain, but educate both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences about our Jewish rituals, values, and history. Rick Recht is the top touring artist in Jewish music, the Executive Director of Jewish Rock Radio, Executive Director of Songleader Boot Camp, and the JNF National Music Spokesman.

Need A Hanukkah Gift For Your Boss?

YScreen shot 2010-11-19 at 3.34.26 PMou’re looking for the gift that keeps on giving, right? I’ve got just the thing for you. Pick up a copy of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit. A fun read with great stories and case studies, this book will help any nonprofit leader better understand the impact and opportunities of working in a networked world. THEN SIGN UP FOR OUR ONLINE BOOK GROUP! That’s right. Starting in January, we’ll be hosting a free online book group to discuss the concepts and their application to our work in the Jewish community. Bonus: experience the joys of the new Facebook Groups feature while you’re at it. You can join the book group now, and we’ll kick off discussion in January. That gives you just enough time to get copies for your co-workers, plus one for yourself, and read it in mid-December while everyone else is still scrambling for that other holiday, or by a cozy fire, or on the beach in Hawaii or where ever you might take a winter vacation… Have you read the book yet? What are you interested in discussing? What ideas grabbed your attention?

Endings and Beginnings in Perpetual Beta World

JewelsBlogThis post is part of Jewels of Elul which celebrates the Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days of the month of Elul to growth and discovery in preparation for the coming high holy days. This year the program is benefiting Beit T’shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. You can subscribe on Jewels of Elul to receive inspirational reflections from public figures each day of the month. You dont have to be on the blog tour to write a blog post on The Art of Beginning… Again. We invite everyone to post this month (August 11th – September 8th) with Jewels of Elul to grow and learn.

This is the age of perpetual beta. New features, tools and applications are being developed at such a rapid pace, that it’s more efficient to adopt a rapid & agile approach to development and implementation than to try to perfect it before going live. You might notice that Gmail and Flickr are still noted as “beta”.

Today things move quickly, and being agile and nimble is more important than being perfect. The consequence, however, is that without a defined end point or beginning, we might forget to pause and reflect, or to fully embrace a new beginning. When we’re constantly evolving, and continually focused on what’s next, do we lose the opportunity to get the most out of this moment, and what we’ve accomplished? It’s always hard to carve out the time for reflection, but every time I do it, I am reminded that it’s worth its weight in gold. Looking backwards in an age of constant innovation might seem counter-intuitive, but it is critical for future success, happiness and improvement. This is true whether it’s a new release of some widget or gadget, or a birthday, or Rosh Hashanah.

The cycle of the Jewish year is important not only for giving us reason to stop and reflect, but also for giving us a reference point for that reflection. I often remember my thoughts, feelings, regrets, hopes and thankfulness of last year, or the year before at Rosh Hashanah. The intensity of the holidays, the unique feeling of walking into the synagogue on that day, and even the words and tunes of the prayers evoke those memories that were etched into my being a year, or two, or three ago. The power of the day is not in what I’m thinking or feel at that moment, but how much has changed over time.

I once read a book, Managing Transitions, about how organizations and people navigate change. The take-home message for me was that change is situational, like a light switch. You close a factory, you require your staff to use a new database system, or the calendar tips from 5770 to 5771. But transition is psychological, and is a process. If we only see the change, and don’t engage in the transition, has anything really changed? If we are truly going to embark on a new beginning, we must take the time to close one chapter before we can transition into the next phase.

I’ve always been fascinated by the word “beginning”. Seemingly a noun, the “ing” gives it this little boost of a verb’s energy. Maybe it’s just a noun in perpetual beta.

The “New Normal” is Change. Deal With It.

At the Jewish Communal Service Association’s annual program today, change was the name of the game. Jerry Silverman, CEO of Jewish Federations of North America in particular spoke about two kinds of change that we need to embrace: First, accepting that constant change is the “new normal” (the theme of the JCSA conference), and second, the need to confidently lead through change, whether that be changing economic times, new technologies, and evolving cultures.

On the first, we need to learn how to be more nimble — learning new skills, evolving our decision making processes to be able to move more swiftly, and being able to adjust structures to keep the machine humming when the outside world shifts.

But all of this is only possible when we are successful with the second. Leading through change is a great challenge, that involves not only good business strategy, but excellent communication, team building, listening, and attention to the psychology of change, not only the logistics of change. If the Jewish community needs one thing, it’s people who are superb leaders in times of change.

Several years ago, when Darim was shifting from our original work of building web sites to a focus on training, coaching and consulting, I read a powerful book, Managing Transitions, by William Bridges. The take home message: Change is situational (like a light switch), but transition is psychological (a process). We need leaders who know what change needs to be made to thrive in the “new normal”, but those same leaders also need to facilitate a transition, which requires a whole different set of skills.

If you haven’t noticed, the Jewish community isn’t the only one recognizing this need. (It’s comforting to know we’re not behind the curve on this one!) A flurry of new books are hitting the shelves focused on change strategy and management in today’s world:

  • Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath (from Amazon.com): In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
  • The Power of Pull, by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison (from Amazon.com): In a radical break with the past, information now flows like water, and we must learn how to tap into its stream. But many of us remain stuck in old practicespractices that could undermine us as we search for success and meaning. Drawing on pioneering research, The Power of Pull shows how to apply its principles to unlock the hidden potential of individuals and organizations, and how to use it as a force for social change and the development of creative talent.

Coming out soon:

  • Open Leadership, by Charlene Li (co-author of Groundswell) (from Amazon.com): “Be Open, Be Transparent, Be Authentic” are the current leadership mantras-but companies often push back. Business is premised on the concept of control and yet the new world order demands openness-leaders do not know how to be open and be in control. This must-have resource will help the modern leader understand how to lead in the new open world-where blogging, twittering, facebooking, and digging are becoming the norm. the author lays out the steps that leaders must take to transform their organizations and themselves into being “open” -and exactly what that will mean.
  • Empowered, by Josh Bernoff (co-author of Groundswell) (from Amazon.com): Fueled by data from Forrester Research, Empowered is packed with the business tools and information necessary to move your organization several steps ahead … and lead … your people (who are) armed with cheap, accessible technology, and are connecting with customers and building innovative new solutions.

What are your strategies for managing change? Where have you been successful? What’s hard? Do you have advice or other resources to add to the conversation? Onward!

Tips from Switch on Clarity and Directed-Giving

Guest blog post by Anna Rosenblum Palmer, Founder of winwinapps

switchbookI am currently re-reading Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. Amongst the many dog-eared, and underlined sections is a brief line on page 17: What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

The authors example is a public health campaign in West Virginia that specifically directed residents to switch their milk drinking from whole to 1% or skim. Instead of the valuable but diffuse and difficult goal of simply acting healthier, the campaign gave clear instructions.

What can this mean for non-profits? Quite a bit.

At a recent fundraising auction checkout, one of our cashiers requested an additional donation to support the work of the beneficiary. Her line had a smaller than 5% donation rate. Our other checkout line asked winning bidders to round up their purchase by 2, 5, 10, or 18 dollars (whatever brought them to the nearest $100 figure). This money would go to purchase a new pick up truck to be used by members. This second line had a 37% round up rate. For a small non-profit that was the difference between $10 dollars in the first line and $475 in the second. Neither was enough to buy a pickup, but with clear instructions the actual dollars in the bank increased by 40 times.

What about you? How specific are you with your asks? Do you tie gifts to specific programs, ask for discrete amounts at particular times, or take advantage of triggers in the environment of your supporters?

Other take home messages from Switch for fundraising:

  1. Follow your bright spots. If a campaign, donor, or programming is exceeding your goals, try to determine why and replicate it.
  2. Marry long term goals with short term critical moves. Your mission is critical, but showing your staff and supporters how you will get there shrinks the change, and energizes giving.
  3. Script the moves. For an organization that fights homelessness, linking a monthly gift to equal to 1% of a donors mortgage payments can keep your mission front of mind and the amount and timing of donation clear.
  4. Grow your people. Increase their role and identity within your organization. Donors who support a public health campaign might become messengers with their donation receipt you can arm them with support materials and task them to teach 10 friends the importance of breast self exams.
  5. Act more like a coach and less like a scorekeeper. Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Focus on the valleys of a program as learning opportunities rather than failures. There should be no never only not yet.
  6. Use the score when it can help you. The herd mentality can work for you. If the majority of your board members have exceeded last years gift, use that fact. People tend to fall in line with their peers.

What is your favorite take home from Switch?

Anna Rosenblum Palmer founded winwinapps after years of board and staff service with small non-profits. She’s always interested in improving efficiency to have more time for mission based work. She welcomes comments, suggestion or answer questions atanna@winwinapps.com, @winwinapps, cell: (617) 800-4607

winwinapps is a VT-based, internet toolkit that takes the hassle out of running a nonprofit, freeing you up to do the work that really matters. We help you. You help them. That’s a winwin.

Wave in Review

By Deborah Fishman

An all-volunteer magazine put together by a geographically diverse, online community of young adults 22-40, PresenTense Magazine has always been a collaborative enterprise. As such, weve made ample use of many Google products, storing and sharing articles in Docs, communicating in Chat, and organizing and tracking article progress in Sites. Yet the lack of integration has made using all these tools in concert a challenge, and we are always interested in exploring better ways to perform these tasks.

For our tenth issue, PresenTense Magazine launched the Digital Issue the first-ever print magazine to be published entirely in Google’s new tool for collaboration, Google Wave. The platform allowed us to pioneer new horizons for journalism by seeking to address a key challenge for journalists today: how to collaborate in a digital age.

Google Wave enticed us with the ability to collaborate on all aspects of the magazine production in a single package, as well as offering several new and exciting features. For instance, playback allows users to review the sequence of changes and easily restore a document to a previous version. Two modes of engaging with waves edit and reply give greater flexibility in editing documents and leaving comments for writers. Since edits and replies are updated in real time, authors and editors can interact naturally, as if in an in-person conversation. Wave also includes the ability to add images, maps, videos, and other gadgets right in the collaboration space.

It was especially fitting that we set out to explore Google Wave for our Digital Issue, focused on the Digital Age and how it is affecting young Jewish community- and identity-building today. Google Wave allowed us to take advantage of the very digital trends and technologies we were discussing, to produce content to act as the starting place for a larger conversation. We found that, while rough around the edges as a pre-Beta product, Google Wave has some real potential for online collaboration.

Ready to embark on a whole new world of Wave discovery, we soon realized that our first hurdle was getting on Wave to begin with. A collaboration tool only works when your co-collaborators also have access. Each issue of PresenTense Magazine is the product of over 70 young Jews writers, editors, advisory committee members, and art team members who work together through the creative process, from the initial brainstorming phase through the final production. Wave invites are a scarce commodity, and for 70 contributors, you need an allocation strategy. Googles arbitrary approval process further baffled our editorial team.

Even with an approved Wave account, not all writers were as eager to ride the Wave as we had hoped. The great flexibility offered by the Wave platform belies the fact that Wave is to many unintuitive. It took significant effort for many writers and editors to learn such Wave basics as how to reply to a message, causing a great deal of frustration. Even those who persevered encountered a fair share of frustrations from frequent crashes, missing features, and various other unexplained occurrences. For those accustomed to working over e-mail and chat, the lack of integration with GMail meant many participants did not notice changes until days later.

Along the way we also came across some collaboration-enhancing perks. When posting in real-time, one author and a commenter discovered they were able to have a brief exchange of ideas inside the Wave and then delete all but what they wanted to preserve for others to see. Another pair of authors were able to “meet” each other and converse when they bumped into each other on their articles section contents page.

PresenTense Magazine is generally published as a glossy, in-print magazine. One of our defining features has been our full-color photographs and artwork, skillfully laid out alongside articles and other content. Wave does offer the ability to drag-and-drop images into an article, and you can even view them as a slideshow or one at a time as full-screen images. However, inside a blip the images appear as either small icons or full-size images taking up most of the page, and it’s not possible to wrap the surrounding text around them. The unsatisfying formatting was further complicated by Googles mysterious rules governing whether and how blips are indented, depending on where exactly one clicks and whether one selects edit or reply.

PresenTense Magazine is the foundation for a vibrant community. Over the past five years, our ten in-print issues have acted as a community organizing tool, bringing together hundreds of young Jews around the world with ideas and enthusiasm about the future of Jewish innovation. However, there are challenges inherent in grassroots work with young Jews spanning time zones around the world. The geographic distances involved provide the tremendous benefit of enabling us to incorporate different perspectives and start conversations that may never occur otherwise. But it can be difficult to find appropriate online collaboration tools that have all the functionality we need. We found a lot to like on Google Wave, and we look forward to future improvements to the medium.

Deborah Fishman is the Network Animator for the PresenTense Group, engaging and empowering the PresenTense community to explore issues facing the Jewish People. As the volunteer managing editor of PresenTense Magazine, Deborah has managed hundreds of volunteer writers, editors, and visionaries.
Lisa Colton, Founder and President of Darim Online, was a member of the advisory team for Presentense Magazine’s Digital issue.

Jewish Education 3.0: A Revolution in the Making

je3 logo

Kudos to the Lippman Kanfer Institute at JESNA for launching their JE3 project, Technology and Jewish Education: A Revolution in the Making! [Full disclosure: your friends over here at Darim were involved in its development]

The project revolves around the question: “What does it means to ‘do’ Jewish education in a 21st century digital world?” The JE3 site features a core narrative that explores various aspects of the integration of technology-facilitated: visions of Jewish learning, the transformation of learning and teaching, examples from the field, concerns and challenges. Along with this context-setting narrative, the site provides a platform for articles from leading Jewish educators.

Want to get in on the conversation? Read, reflect, respond… submit materials, add comments to articles, tweet using the hashtag #jed21…. C’mon over….!

Get Over Your Fear of Critics, and Learn To Appreciate Them

For some, social media is a bit scary because it empowers the public to voice their thoughts. While hopefully in the vast majority of circumstances this means engaging in more meaningful conversations, learning about new supports, and amplifying your message through valuable networks, it also means that critics can make their rants public. This is scary, and threatening. Partially because of the potential content of those rants, and largely because it represents a loss of control.

I often remind those concerned that control is largely an illusion — those rants and conversations happen in the parking lot, the dinner table, via email and on Facebook. The companies that have done a great job of turning around their brands (Comcast, Dell) have done so not be trying to shut down the conversation or ignoring it, but by listening, acknowledging, and learning from it. (For stories about what they’ve done, read Twitterville.)

Chris Brogan, a widely known and well respects new media marketing specialist, writes a very prolific (and insightful) blog and weekly e-newsletter. This week he talks about critics, and offers some advice :

If you are fortunate enough to have critics, you’re doing something right … I want to share with you how I deal with critics, and what you might learn from the gifts they give you.

Thank them. No matter what a critic says, say “Thanks for your thoughts,” or a variation. They have taken the time to offer their opinions, however invalid or unhelpful, with you. Say thanks. It’s the only good response to a criticism.
Don’t defend yourself. The person giving you the opinion probably doesn’t care what you have to say about it. They just wanted to share their take. You can reply and reflect back what they’ve said, but try not to defend. It only comes off as making you look defensive and it just goes nowhere fast.
Decide for yourself, in private, if you agree. You don’t have to take every critic’s opinion, but listen to whether there’s any grain of truth in what they say. I learn when my critics are my friends, but I learn LOTS when they are people who don’t much like me. Sometimes, I’m able to adapt their mean words into something of great value to myself.
Don’t just throw it out, is my point. Criticism can be helpful, even non-constructive criticism, if you are willing to hear a bit of it and throw away the junk. Thing is, don’t necessarily run around seeking it, either. It can build up like toxin in our veins, and if we’re only hearing a stream of icky things, that doesn’t help us at all.

… It took me a long while to believe in myself enough to not believe in critics. There’s a great bit from an interview (and I forget who the subject was), where she said something about really loving her positive reviews, but then her agent said, if you believe all the positive reviews, you have to believe all the negative critics. That’s stuck with me.

Personally, I’ve found most of the criticism we receive on the JewPoint0.org blog is really helpful — it teaches me where I can improve, adds value to the conversation, and often helps me identify knowledgeable folks who are invested in our mission.

How do you think about critics and criticism, whether it be on or offline? How do you use it as a productive feedback loop? How to you respond to critics? What have you learned?