SuperJews Color Wars: What’s It All About

Kabbalah HaMalkah of Team Red

I am ridiculously excited for the SuperJews Color Wars. As soon as I was invited to join, I had to find out more. Andy Neusner of the United Jewish Communities was great in answering my many questions. Read on to find out what you can expect from the upcoming Color Wars and what they’re all about.

The Genesis

The Color Wars were born out of a desire to involve young Jews (45 and under) more deeply in the Jewish world. The Color Wars are intended to be a siren song of Jewish involvement that will lead us deeper into the Jewish world with the ultimate goal of becoming stakeholders.  Andy says:

While plenty of young Jews have already gotten involved, there’s no secret that we need for more and more Jews from this age range to take over some ownership in our organizations, to change them in ways that will help us continue to tackle the needs of the Jewish world. We realize that there are plenty of great new ideas in play to reinvigorate the Jewish world, and rather than having them happen apart from or even in duplication with similar concepts within the organized Jewish community, we want to promote these new ideas and new leaders to take root within our system instead.

The Creators

Shabot 6000

Shabot 6000: The Jewish Robot

The United Jewish Communities (UJC) leveraged the services of William Levin, creator of The Jewish Robot. Levin’s extensive experience in creating humorous, media savvy projects aimed at young Jews to enhance and promote the Jewish brand will be a  huge asset to the Color Wars and upcoming SuperJews campaigns.

Primary funding for the project comes from the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence, in their aim to reach Jewish youth through social media networks.

— Keep reading to learn more about the Color Wars —

The Game

The Color Wars will start in earnest on the first day of Hanukkah. Each day, participants will receive e-mail missions from their team captains, with players fulfilling them to score team points. While the UJC has been quite secretive in revealing the details of these missions, their ultimate goal is to work toward building Jewish community through teamwork and individual actions. (I, for one, can’t wait to see what they have in mind.)

At Hanukkah’s conclusion, team points will be tallied and winning team members will be able to sport gold, silver, or bronze badges on their Facebook profiles (there are three teams in all). As for what comes next, possible ideas are nominating local “SuperJews” in our your community, and creating programming to recognize people doing good works overall. The UJC will be soliciting Color War veterans with ideas for the future– so put your thinking caps on and get ready to send in your ideas.

Choose Your Banner

There are three Color War teams with two captains each. Here they are, in all their superhero glory.

Red Team– Passionate and analytical (think of them as your Gryffindors)

Mega Mensch

Mega Mensch

Kabbalah HaMalkah (pictured above): a Soviet emigre whose magic is to shoot kabbalistic spells with the power of healing out of her special ring. She is a champion of immigrants around the world

Mega Mensch: a good guy who everyone likes to be around. His chief interest is in social justice and tikkun olam

Blue Team– Quick to act

Captain Israel

Captain Israel

Captain Israel: a security expert and global media consultant, he founded the SuperJews after watching a documentary about the  Munich Olympics. “His eyes moisten when he hears HaTikvah,” Israel’s national anthem

Beth L: the product of a long line of community leaders, she is a modern day Renaissance woman and the creator of the SuperJews website. (Hint: Beth El or Beit El is a popular name for synagogues meaning “House of G-D”)

Green Team– Super strong

Eternal Light

Eternal Light

Eternal Light: an impassioned supporter of green technologies, she is a bio-tech engineer and environmental activist

Judah the Giant: with the strength and conviction of a lion, he is a star college athlete descended from the esteemed Macabbi line

Assessment: Suggestions for the Future

  • Although Facebook is the perfect vehicle for the way the Color Wars are designed, there is no reason there can’t be an accompanying space on the SuperJews website for those who don’t have Facebook
  • It is difficult to distinguish among the three teams from the superheroes’ appearances. If the blue and white uniforms (Israel’s colors) are maintained, the characters should at least have clearly identifying team markers, such as Kabbalah HaMalkah’s red hair
  • The character descriptions are very US centric. Even when Israel is mentioned, it is as an “other” rather than the intimate. The Color Wars are clearly an American initiative, but their perspective need not be so apparent
  • As it stands, there are 290 Red, 245 Blue, and 226 Green participants. This ratio has held steady from the game’s inception. I am interested to see how the personalities of the three will manifest throughout the game play
  • I wonder how the teams will be utilized in the future, both by current supporters and organizations working to galvanize Jewish youth (Birthright, Hillel, JESNA, Jewish camps, day school educators, etc)
  • And for personal interest, will the Color Wars distract from American Jews’ practice of Hanukkah that so closely mirrors Christmas? In what ways will it bring us new associations of the holiday?

Additional project support comes from: the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (“the Joint”), the Foundation for Jewish Culture, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), and Hillel.

Conclusion

Which team are you and what made you identify with its characteristics? What makes you want to compete in the Color Wars? What role do you see for the Color Wars and SuperJews in future Jewish communal innovation and social networking efforts? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. (Psst: Go Red!)

Recommended Reading

Learn more about Jewish foundations:

Learn more about using Facebook as a social networking tool:

Learn more about innovative Jewish programming:

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9 Responses to SuperJews Color Wars: What’s It All About

  1. Dan says:

    Maya,

    Great post – I would just like to add a thought that is relevant to a couple of your comments. Let’s remember who has created this program and the target audience.

    At the end of the day, this is a project of the UJC, whose primary stakeholders are the Jewish Federations of North America. Two of the goals for this endeavor are to “Create positive touch points between young Jews and their local Jewish Federation in order to pave the way for broader connections – donations, activism and leadership – in the future” and “Position local Jewish Federations as hubs for participation, volunteerism and tzedakah in the Jewish community.”

    This is a huge huge step for the UJC. Not only in the expense of creating and launching SuperJews but more important in having the ‘buy-in’ from local Federations and UJC leadership. A great deal of thought went into this and the resulting metrics will be torn apart to evaluate their objectives. Their primary audience is 18-24 – so regardless of the specific outcomes of the Color Wars project, this will also be judged as to how well it begins the process of building ties to a new generation of Federation supporters and leaders (while they are still young).

    For more, check out http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/are-you-ready-to-be-a-hero/ and make sure all your readers sign up, thru facebook or the SuperJews.org site.

    Have a great week.

  2. Dan says:

    I’m glad to see you’ve moved to moderated comments!

  3. Ian says:

    What an interesting way to promote it, playing with the fashion trend. One thing I have noticed in my participation with the Jewish world of thought and ideas is the wishy-washiness of our presentation. I’m not convinced it is due to a weak message though, only the limited number of people pressing our point of view, or even acknowledging that we have a collective point of view, over a long period of time. I discover it in my own comments that don’t resonate or hold water because they only scratch the surface of things. I can’t image Jews ever having one unified collective voice because all I know is how we prefer to argue and disagree. I wonder if that can or will ever change. Part of our nature is disagreeing. Another part is in exploiting the weakness of others arguments and through weakness ourselves merely exploiting it for our own benefit. The embarrassment caused by the Hedge fund manager who lost 50 billion dollars of investments and then continued a ponzi scheme to keep the business going is what is so hated about Jews.

    We need to build society along the guidelines of a higher purpose, the cause etra of being Jewish and living up to our role in history. If we falter, the world falters with us. If we truly believe in ourselves and our religion, it means we have something to teach the world and that comes from being a role model for others. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as an oppressed minority in the world, who is smarter than them and proves it by exploiting others. We have to take responsibility for the world that we helped create with our religion and ethic and it must start today, with our numbers multiplied by the truth of our cause and the strength of its call. Israel has extraordinary coverage by the world media because we are seen as unique unto the world, they are waiting for us to present our greatness, something that is only hinted at presently.

    This blog, and all associated forms of Jewish renewal are the necessary first step in changing the world. As Mao said, the long march starts with the first step. Ghandi’s march to the sea was the beginning as well. Sitting at a computer though doesn’t amount to the same thing as taking the first step. It is simply writing the first covenant of the new age.

  4. Andy Neusner says:

    Maya,

    Thanks for the great analysis of the campaign. Now that you’re playing the home game, check out SuperJews, the video, from Jewish Robot (aka William Levin); it’s on http://www.superjews.org (and on Levin’s YouTube channel).

  5. Caren says:

    Great article, Maya! I appreciate your assessment comments and thought questions. It will be interesting to follow this Grand Experiment from an organizational perspective – as well as from just plain fun🙂

  6. Hi Maya,

    Welcome back!

    If you are talking about Hannukah Facebook campaigns, don’t forget our Eco Lights 2008 which had nearly a thousand participants. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=37537789822

    Like you suggested for the Superheroes, we gave a non-facebook sign-up option this year.

    Tamar

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