Reboot Ideas Festival Programming and Experiences Revived Online

July 23, 2020

Before COVID-19 upended our lives, we were looking forward to connecting with other wandering Jews to carve new pathways at our inaugural Reboot Ideas Festival. With the festival moved online, we are now creating the same stimulating conversations and experiences virtually to bring our Jewish community together in different ways.

Much of the original programming of the Reboot Ideas Festival, which included invigorating conversations on hot button issues like identity, antisemitism and Israel and age-old explorations of mortality and the mind, is being reimagined online with leaders in entertainment, media, technology and social justice.

For 19 years, Reboot has been gathering some of the best and brightest change-agents for conversations about Jewish identity and meaning. We have seen first-hand the power of imagination and open dialogue to translate and transform the big issues of our time into ideas and action.

In response to COVID-19, we launched Reboot Ideas to create a series of public digital programs bringing together educators, listeners, thought-provokers, creators, and people of action. We hope you will join us for our upcoming conversation: Anti-Semantics: Sifting Through Whiteness and Jewish Identities with authors Adam Mansbach and Kevin Coval. Learn more and RSVP for the August 18 program here.

Other events from our Reboot Ideas include:

Two major online events to gather for the holidays in a way we never have before. 

  • Saturday Night Seder: Reboot Board Member Benj Pasek engaged Reboot as an executive producer for Saturday Night Seder, a streaming Passover Seder viewed by millions. The 70-minute special, co-written and executive produced by Pasek and hosted by Jason Alexander featured several members of the Reboot network and an impressive list of celebrities from Idina Menzel, Cynthia Erivo, Bette Midler and Josh Groban to Mayim Bialik, Ben Platt, Henry Winkler, Nick Kroll and more. The celebrity charity stream has raised $3.5 million for the CDC Foundation. Read about it in The New York Times, Variety and the Jewish Journal.
  • DAWN: DAWN, our imaginative and experiential all-night celebration of Shavuot, is something Reboot is proud to have revived online to connect Jews across the world during this difficult time. With 31,000 live views and 450,000 minutes watched, the night featured three concurrent streams with programming and more than 100 presenters, including some of the greatest artists, rabbis, thought leaders, musicians and comedians of our day. Together with the Jewish Emergent Network, we experienced Jewish learning in every shape and construct through the night. Check out the highlight reel and full videos.

Reboot Ideas Conversations 

  • What Plagues Us? What Liberates Us?  Rabbi Sharon Brous, founder of IKAR, and Dr. David Agus, founding CEO of USC’s Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, have an impactful and informative discussion with a Passover-inspired theme.

  • Technology In A Time of COVID-19 (And Beyond)  Acclaimed tech correspondent Laurie Segall and internet visionary Aza Raskin unpack the present paradox of our technological overload and forecast its implications on the future.

  • Interplay of Science and Ritual in a Time of Flux  Emmy-award winning writer and producer Ann Druyan and her daughter, author Sasha Sagan, in conversation with Boing Boing co-founder David Pescovitz about the emerging philosophies that can provide hope as we struggle to adjust to our new normal.

  • Liberation Through Music  A special Passover live event featuring Nicki Bluhm, Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars), Jeremiah Lockwood and Zach Rogue (Rogue Wave).

Reboot Studios, our incubator and idea accelerator launched in summer 2019, has already produced several new podcasts and video series and focuses our investments in Jewish arts and culture on projects that are impactful and scalable. During the quarantine, we were able to create additional projects with unique takes on a life none of us could have imagined six months ago.

  • Comedian Jena Friedman Cooks Up the Joy of Quarantine in a new video series offering a playful and hilarious look inside the quarantine kitchen. The video series captures the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Late Show with Letterman alum as she attempts to concoct dishes of her Eastern European Jewish roots with a pinch of acerbity.

  • New podcasts, including In Quarantine with Steve Bodow, Closening with Jessie Kahnweiler and Kasher vs Kasher with Rabbi David Kasher and his brother, comedian Moshe Kasher, offer listeners humor, insight, emotion and a bold take on Jewish life and culture and the different ways we navigate through these strange and challenging times.

We just released a sneak peek at Season 2 of In Quarantine, two inspiring conversations on topics of the moment featuring Jacob Soboroff, TV correspondent and author about his new book on child-separation immigration policy and New York Times best-selling author Adam Mansbach along with playwright and break beat poet Idris Goodwin about their new video inspired by Frederick Douglass’s best-known speech and read by Daveed Diggs. Find all our podcasts here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

When the world seems unstable in so many ways, we hope our virtual programs, productions and resources can help our community confront this moment and beyond with audacious inquiry and meaning. We look forward to seeing you online as we try to create and curate conversations and community together.