Judaism Unbound Episode 54: Judaism's Job - Irwin Kula Part II


How does our approach to Jewish life change when we suggest that Judaism can be "hired" to accomplish various jobs? What are the "jobs" it can be "hired" to do? Irwin Kula sheds light on that question in this episode, the second half of a conversation that begin with Episode 53: Death and Rebirth[1]

Image Credit: IntensityAdvisors.com

Image Credit: IntensityAdvisors.com

(0:01 - 11:49): To begin part two of his interview, Kula lays out the framework coined by Clayton Christensen as "jobs to be done," [2] and he applies that framework to contemporary Judaism. He also looks at the roles of individuals and communities, critiquing the pervasive idea of Judaism encapsulated by the phrase "the Jewish community." He explains why an emphasis on belonging makes it difficult for Judaism to better fulfill a variety of other important "jobs to be done." 

(11:50 - 27:16): Kula continues the "jobs to be done" conversation by asserting that the primary role of religion is to catalyze "human flourishing." He looks at the role that the field of positive psychology plays in making that flourishing possible, [3] and criticizes the tendency of contemporary religion towards "fetishized preservationism." [4]

(27:17 - 46:57): Kula provides a few examples of Jewish "technologies", such as Shabbat and Yom Kippur, that 21st century Jews could approach more effectively through a lens that incorporates disruptive innovation and jobs-to-be-done. [5] To close the episode, Lex reflects on the first full year of the Judaism Unbound podcast, thanking listeners (and anyone reading these shownotes!!) for all of their engagement over the course of the first 52 weeks of Judaism Unbound. He also encourages them (you!) to check out our other initiatives that are already released and to stay tuned for new launches in the future!

[1] Listen to part one of this two-part episode (Episode 53: Death and Rebirth) by clicking here. Learn more about Irwin Kula by reading his bio.

[2] To learn more about the "jobs to be done" framework, check out Clayton Christensen's most recent book, entitled Competing Against Luck.

[3] Learn more about positive psychology through the essay "Positive Psychology: An Introduction," by Martin Seligman.

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[4] Read this piece, written by Kula and Craig Hatkoff (mentioned in the episode), for more information regarding how disruptive innovation can occur differently (and more slowly) in the realm of religion.

[5] In this section, Kula mentions the concept of the "Faux Mitzvah." Learn more about what these events look like by reading this 2012 piece in the St. Louis Jewish Light.