One year ago, I decided to take my Facebook musings, the ones that had evolved from a witty status update or two into epic paragraphs of my own exploration through Jewish traditions, teachings and spiritual awakenings, and create my own website.
I called it The Genesis.
Genesis, of course, being a translation of my own name, Risha - spelled with the Hebrew letters Reish, Yud, Shin and Alef, the term is used in the Talmud to denote the beginning or start to something, with a root term in Hebrew, "Resh, Alef, Shin" "Rosh" meaning Head.
The Genesis, if you will.
Genesis was taken as a domain name, so I inserted a hyphen in it. Gene and Sis, two important words. Our heritage, our genes. And sis, the start of the sisterhood. The need to put a feminine spin on our spirituality and our teachings, whether or not we are male- or female-bodied, for everyone needs femininity within their spiritual practice: The need to embody, to create, to communicate, to manifest, beyond an intellectual, heady view of teachings.
Over this last year, I've moved this site in different directions, based on insight, inspiration and the beautiful feedback of others. I often post at a whim, based on an understanding I've gleaned from the week's Torah portion, and find few reactions on Facebook or the site itself, only to find several weeks or months later a heartfelt comment from a person I encounter in the street or at a party.
But there are some areas I've yet to explore, areas where I know there is a demand for I have these conversations on the street, with people i meet, at events and at festivals and retreats. I love the cosmology of Kabbalah, the intense interweaving of attributes and manifestations to create a full spectrum map of humanity, divinity and reality. I love the ancient tales of Judaism, from Midrashic myths to Chassidic yarns, Talmudic tales and epic Biblical narratives. I love the haunting melodies and stirring niggunim of my upbringing and I know how much they are appreciated in context.
But a website is a website and the Internet is the Internet, and as a content marketer, I'm aware of our need for bite-size information at this time. And as a self-doubting creative artist, I do sometimes wonder how much is worth putting out, how much is needed right now, what is the best way to administer the medicine, what dosage is what's required? How do we go low and slow, and get maximum output for minimum input?
So as we approach my one year anniversary of the Gene-Sis, I come to you with this question and ask, how would you like to receive this information? What would you like to see more of?Would you be interested in a weekly video, or is a podcast preferable? Would you like to receive updates via email, a Facebook group, or will you click that little "See First" button next to The Gene-Sis page updates on Facebook so I can be sure the work is getting out there for people? I try to avoid the term "shameless self promotion" these days, for I know that those who seek information find what they need, but I do try to put things out there in the most user-friendly way for all people. Would you like to see more image-driven posts? Shorter snippets? More blog articles that you can click on and save to read at a later date? Email updates?
And what kind of content are you looking for, hoping for, wondering who will ever create it? Are they snapshots of the Jewish world, recaps of the weekly Parsha, Hebrew School 101 for adults who missed out, definitions of terms or explanations of rituals? Are they recounts of Kabbalistic cosmology mapped on to human psychology or yogic philosophy? Are you conscious of the spiritual websites out there and wondering what the theology is that underlies it and how it interacts with your own Judaism?
As we step into December and I recap the year that was, I'm doing what any conscientious marketing strategist does - and creating my content strategy for the year to come. And although I'd love to say, damn it people ,I'll write what I want! - I know how important it is to pay attention to form and style as well as substance. So I ask for your input, your comments and criticisms. I'm taking the time to put this together, and it needs to be done right. Are you open to another online course, as per the Sefirat Haomer / Tree of Life / Transformation course in April / May, or maybe a monthly downloadable packet instead?
What do the people want, and more importantly, what do you feel you need? In an entire day of scrolling social media feeds and clearing inboxes, what news and content rejuvenates you, inspires you, helps you live a better life?
Let me know in comments. With love and gratitude for all your support.