Building a Ken for our times in New York

The Jewish Week published its annual Directions issue–and this year it was focused on the “next big thing.” My contribution focused on the need for an activist’s bayit:

Taking into account the growing demand for innovative Jewish programming, recognizing the vast potential in Jewish creativity nestled among the hundreds of thousands of young Jews in New York City and taking advantage of the need of Jewish communal activists to find affordable housing, the New York Jewish community could deal a masterstroke by matching supply with demand in the greatest collective shidduch ever made this side of the Atlantic: the creation of a Jewish creative community cooperative, or, as some might call it, The Ken —Hebrew for “nest.”
Much like a nest, The Ken would shelter young Jewish communal activists as they develop new ideas and help those ideas take off. Like the most successful of Internet applications, The Ken would not be run in a top-down fashion, but would rather provide the resources and the creative freedom for those end users involved to make of it what they will based upon discretely set parameters. This open-source, do-it-together strategy would enable The Ken to tap into the great creative potential of my generation. But before it can do so, The Ken must provide offline those three main underlying factors that permit creativity online: hosting, social connectivity and empowering functionality.

The best thing about the project is that it could be a win-win: all we need is a sponsor to make the initial down payment, and those activists in the house could cover the mortgage with their rent. With time, either the initial investor could sell to the Ken for market value–or the investor could profit from the resale of the house.
So, who wants to invest in the Jewish future? Contact me at arielbeery -at- gmail -dot- com if you’re interested.


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