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‘Rebooting’ Jewish life in Chicago

Reboot, a think-tank dedicated to making Jewish concepts accessible through the arts, humor, comedy, and writing, seeks to invigorate Jewish life in Chicago. 

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Reboot hosted a National Day of Unplugging Launch Party in February 2018 at Catalyst Ranch, encouraging participants to share why they unplug. 

During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, more than 40,000 people across the world will receive an email from Reboot's "10Q" project.  

The daily emails pose questions of reflection, engaging people in the Jewish High Holiday tradition by meeting them where they are-online. Questions include "Describe one thing you'd like to achieve by this time next year?" and "What is a fear you have and how has it limited you? How can you overcome it?" At the end of the 10 days, participants' answers are locked in a digital vault and returned next year for the process to begin anew. 

10Q is one of several creative initiatives of Reboot, a think-tank dedicated to making Jewish concepts accessible through the arts, humor, comedy, and writing. 

"[Our programs are] really DIY, so we aren't telling anyone how to connect to Judaism," said Becky Adelberg, Reboot's local program coordinator in Chicago. "We're just showing them all these different ways that they can [connect], so that hopefully a few will resonate. It's very accessible." 

10Q is one of Reboot's eight signature programs. Others include Death Over Dinner-Jewish Edition, which encourages people to host dinners and have guided conversations about death and grieving, and the National Day of Unplugging, a 24-hour period dedicated to embracing the values of Shabbat and detoxing from electronics. 

"People like the concept of unplugging, and then they look further, and realize, 'Oh, this is a really Jewish concept,'" Adelberg said.  

Reboot is piloting two programs in Chicago: Death Over Dinner, and The Last Act, an initiative where people in their 20s and 30s create short documentaries featuring interviews with seniors, ages 80 and older.  

Original programming isn't Reboot's only mission. Adelberg strives to connect with existing organizations. In the last year, Reboot has partnered with more than 50 young adult groups, synagogues, and other communities.  

"I'm providing really cool tools other organizations can use to enhance their programming and events," Adelberg said. "There are multiple ways people can work with us in Chicago. The goal is to have people use our material in any way that works for them." 

JUF's Young Leadership Division (YLD) has partnered with Reboot on three events, including a YLD Pride Shabbat dinner in the spirit of the National Day of Unplugging.  

"Reboot is great for the Chicago Jewish community because they provide people different ways of thinking about their own Jewish connections and identity," said Hanna Holman, YLD Campaign Associate. "Reboot is a great supplement for programming and helps everyone find a place where Judaism can fit into their life." 

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