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David Bashevkin, 36, Making Jewish Wisdom Digital
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EDUCATION36 Under 36 2021

David Bashevkin, 36, Making Jewish Wisdom Digital

@dbashideas

The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

What do you do?

I am an educator. What excites me is bringing great Jewish ideas to the Jewish people. I try that in organizations such as NCSY, where I serve as director of education, at 18forty, a Jewish media organization I founded this past year, at Yeshiva University, where I teach public policy, and at Tablet Magazine, where I work on their Daf Yomi programming.

How did the pandemic affect your work?

The pandemic turned my world upside down. Especially within NCSY, which is so focused on in-person programming, the very notion of education was turned upside down. But we kept going and developed Jewish content to reach people where they are. We were the first to develop Jewish ideas “in a box.” We have an NCSY box sold in stores and developed a special Shavuos in a Box program that came with coffee, snacks and Torah to engage teens and families through the night. But more than anything, I began to invest in online engagement through 18forty and Tablet. Both ideas began before the pandemic, but they became much more central and comforting to me personally after it began.

Was there a formative Jewish experience that influenced your life path?

Finding the works of Rav Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin (1823-1900). He approaches the gritty messiness of life in such a moving and sophisticated way, I wanted to find a way to transmit his approach to Jewish thought in modern garb.

Do you have a favorite inspiring quote?

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

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