Cyd Weissman, vice president for Engagement and Innovation, 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.
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.