13 July 2011

JDUB and Aaron Bisman

When Aaron Bisman arrived on the NYU campus as a college freshman, he'd nattily dress himself up for Shabbos and lead davenning in the Conservative minyan with an uncontainable spirituality that belied his years and opened a window into his ambitious vision for a revitalization of Jewish life.  By the end of his sophomore year he was truly restless, starting coffee houses around campus, encouraging his peers to explore new Jewish artistic expression, expanding his search for creativity far beyond undergraduates on Washington Square.

When he went abroad to Hebrew University, he dove into the Israeli-Palestinian encounter through music, dee-jayed on mixed his own music, grew dreadlocks, faced the devastating loss of two dear friends in the brutal bombing atop Mount Scopus, and came back to New York with a singular dedication to build a dynamic memorial to friendship, a prayer for peace, and a boundless idea for new Jewish music, culture and social gatherings.  His friend Matt became Matisyahu and JDUB Records was born.

Since JDUB announced the closing of its operations after a remarkably productive nine year run, the Jewish social media sites that Aaron helped pioneer to bring together countless young Jews in the altneuland of their own identity project have mourned this end, paid tribute, and wished Aaron and his staff the best of luck as they chart new waters.  Aaron has been on every panel, in every cohort, a grantee of virtually every major fund for innovation in the Jewish community in the 21st century--basically flung around the world and back, around the world and back again, to speak to older leaders about the necessity for supporting the promise of a new generation's Jewish Identity Project.

Well before the age of 35, Aaron accomplished more than most in a much longer career--always with an unrestrained optimism, a depth of purpose, and his own spiritual model of living a life of Jewish religious integrity.  In his spare time he founded Altshul, a thriving indie-minyan in Brooklyn, which we proudly host at CBE, and which sustains me personally whenever I have the privilege of praying with them.

I'll miss Aaron's parties--JDUB and Brooklyn Jews hosted those first Jewltides at Southpaw.  But I have great faith in whatever next will be for my favorite Jewish dynamo. 

Congratulations Aaron!  You remain an inspiration.

3 comments:

Ross Martin said...

Andy you are right, Aaron has inspired so many of us. With his decision to close JDub after such a long, groundbreaking run, it just makes me psyched to see what he'll do next. No matter what he decides, he's bound to change the game, yet again. Aaron, thank you for your pioneering vision. You've shown us all what's possible when you believe in an idea, believe in yourself, and set out to do what's never been done before.

Ross Martin said...

So right, Andy. Aaron inspires us all.

marjorie said...

I'm sad. But I wish Aaron much luck in his next chapter.