Reboot boosts New Year review

Reboot boosts New Year review

Website focuses attention on big questions

Let’s face it: High Holy Day services don’t measure up to best practices for an annual review.

Sure, God has recorded all of our deeds.

But are we consulted? Asked to explain our decisions? Given a chance to speak in our defense?

And for that matter — a book? Shouldn’t this all be recorded in a database, or at least a spreadsheet?

While not claiming to replace your synagogue, a nonprofit called Reboot is offering a more interactive, personal, and confidential review timed to the new Jewish year.

Reboot’s annual 10Q project is an “online reflection portal” that asks participants deep questions — and sends back their responses one year later.

On Wednesday, nearly 31,000 people began the review as their responses from last year arrived in their inboxes.

This year, on September 13, erev Rosh Hashanah, the first in a series of 10 questions will be emailed to participants. For the next nine days, those who have signed up will receive a question a day, such as, “What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?” and “How would you like to improve yourself and your life in the coming year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?”

The project is free and open to all at

“It’s a spin on the traditional Days of Awe,” according to Reboot’s associate director, Amelia Klein . “The essence really is thinking about the year that passed and the year that’s about to start. Who were you? What will you be in the future?”

Throughout the holiday period, participants can revisit the questions and revise their answers. But a few days after Yom Kippur, the vault closes and the answers aren’t seen again until the following year. Each year, the answers to the questions are stored in a secure digital archive — participants can opt to share their anonymous responses, or not — and are sent back just before the start of the High Holy Days.

By design, questions are the same every year. “People can watch and measure over time their responses,” Ms. Klein said. “What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? It’s almost a snapshot, a diary of that particular point in time.”

The project first launched in 2008, the result of a brainstorm shared by Ms. Klein, New Yorker writer Ben Greenman, and playwright Nicola Behrman, and it has grown “incrementally” each year, Ms. Klein said. “Interest continues to rise and increase as digital media takes over people’s lives,” she added. “It’s important to have the space and the place to do this reflective memory work; thinking about who you are.”

“I think people, more and more, need that personal space; they’re so consumed by what’s going on around them,” she said. “10Q is asking you to pause, reflect, and prepare for the New Year.”

JTA Wire Service

read more: