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Cyd Weissman

Vice President for Innovation and Impact, Reconstructing Judaism

Cyd Weissman, vice president for Innovation and Impact, a recognized thought leader in Jewish education, believes that meaningful Jewish experiences can transform individuals, communities and the world. She’s dedicated to fostering new kinds of approaches that lower barriers to Jewish community and reach people where they are. Weissman serves as a mentor to rabbinical students and guides many of Reconstructing Judaism’s most public-facing and future-oriented projects.

At the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, she teaches a course on entrepreneurism. She also works closely with future and recently graduated rabbis to launch start-up endeavors and turn ideas into realities. Weissman directs the Auerbach Entrepreneurial Grant Program, which supports innovators in creating bold experiments that seek to reconstruct the Jewish experience for increased access and meaning. She serves as a mentor to grantees through the entire process, from applying for the grant to implementation. Auerbach grantees’ initiatives have made a difference in people’s lives and serve as models of innovation for the wider Jewish world.

Additionally, she drove the process that brought together seminaries across the Jewish ideological spectrum to create an inter-seminary course on entrepreneurism under the auspices of Clal. Throughout her years serving the Jewish community, Weissman has developed a wide network of relationships across the Jewish world, a value added for rabbinical students seeking to chart their own rabbinates.

Weissman guides the operations of two marquee digital properties of Reconstructing Judaism — Ritualwell, the web’s most extensive resource curating original rituals for Jews and fellow seekers; and Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations, an online platform with conversation-sparking essays, podcasts and conversations featuring thought-provoking rabbis, leaders and creators. She also oversees Reconstructing Judaism’s slate of online learning offerings.

Prior to joining Reconstructing Judaism, Weissman served as the director of Innovation in Congregational Learning for the Jewish Education Project, where she led the creation of the Coalition of Innovating Congregations. For a decade, she taught at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Gratz College and Penn State University.

 

Courses Taught

Entrepreneurship: This project-based course introduces students to the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully launch entrepreneurial projects, both within existing organizations and outside of them.

 

Selected Writings and Appearances

In 2011, Weissman co-produced the short film, The High Five.

In 2018, Weissman produced and appeared in the Reconstructing Judaism video, “The Story of Or Zarua.” The video highlights Weissman’s approach to social entrepreneurship and the Auerbach Entrepreneurial Grant Program.

In 2018, on her Edgeblog, Cyd Weissman published, “Rabbis as Entrepreneurs? It’s Not About the Money.”

In 2019, Weissman appeared as a guest on #TrendingJewish, the Reconstructing Judaism podcast. In the episode “Leave Your Solutions at the Door,” Weissman explains how design thinking can be applied to Jewish communal life.

In 2019, Weissman published “Collaboration Across Difference: An Innovation Power Tool” and “Champagne and Aspirin for Strengthening Jewish Community.”

In 2020, Weissman published “Principles for a Full Year of Love and Caring” in eJewish Philanthropy.

Principles for a Full Year of Love and Caring

The calendar says the school year should end. However, many Jewish educators, witnessing the effects of the pandemic on their students, and now civic unrest, are challenging the calendar’s norms. Instead of closing down the year, they are asking, “How might we continue to engage our students through the summer?”

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Guarding and Growing Trust in the Time of Corona

Crystal clear to me, now, is that all the coffees, the story sharing and listening, and the showing up, has resulted in the cultivation of a most rare commodity in our society. Trust. 

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Collaboration Across Difference: An Innovation Power Tool

This article was originally published in eJewish Philanthropy on Nov. 25, 2019.

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Need to Take a Breath at Work?

More and faster describes my usual work habit. I’ve operated this way for decades. But daily, I’m learning to take a breath so my work is not solely about tasks; it is infused with soul.

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Champagne and Aspirin For Strengthening Jewish Community

Reflections on lessons learned in a network of network weavers

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Rabbis as Entrepreneurs? It's Not About the Money

We train rabbis to be social entrepreneurs: applying a business-like discipline to creating solutions to social justice, cultural and environmental issues.

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Entrepreneurial True Grit

Is grit the key to success for social entrepreneurs? Ariana Katz suggests that the answer lies elsewhere. 

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Wine, Not Whine, Your Way to Millennial Engagement

Ross Berkowitz discusses designing Jewish engagement experiences for Millennials.

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Ultra-Busy Leader Stops to Gain Perspective

How do startup leaders break through the barrage of urgent tasks to reflect and plan? We speak with Avi Deutsch, co-founder and CEO of LAVAN, to learn his secrets.

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How to Avoid Startup Crash and Burn

Cyd Weissman interviews Avi Rubel, a successful social entrepreneur, about taking risks when launching a new venture. 

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Innovation 101: Have 100 Coffees

Cyd Weissman reports back from the leading edge of Jewish innovation.

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Incubator Session 1: Moving Bold Ideas Into Action

Summary of Session 1 of Reconstructionist Incubator Learning Network, Spring 2017

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How Might We Learn Sustainability from "Hot Dudes Reading?"

Cyd Weissman interviews the founder of Hot Dudes Reading to glean lessons on marketing, sustainability, and collaboration.

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Hevrutahpreneurship: Partnering for Learning and Leading

Cyd Weissman interviews a couple who are are successfully leading a startup guided by the Jewish principle of hevrutah, Aramaic for friendship or companionship.

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No Success Without Learning To Fail

“Fail Forward” is the mantra of entrepreneurs. Take risks. You will fail, guaranteed. Learn from it. Once a little smarter, boldly launch again. Entrepreneurs believe, as Robert Kennedy did, “to achieve greatness, you have to fail greatly.”

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