This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.
PALO ALTO, California – In mid-December, Gidi Grinstein came to the heart of Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs search for the “secret sauce” of hi-tech success, to launch his new book about the secret sauce of Jewish survival, security, prosperity and leadership.
Grinstein calls this Jewish sauce, “flexigidity,” a portmanteau of flexibility and rigidity. He defines the hybrid term as the ability to optimize the pace of collective adaptation by balancing new and old, innovation and tradition, and flexibility and rigidity. Grinstein says this age-old balance has gone out of whack in recent decades, and the challenge is to set it right before it is too late, especially in the State of Israel.
Paradoxically, Jews have never been more economically, politically and militarily powerful than they are today, while concurrently having never been more vulnerable because of their concentration in two major centers: Israel and North America.
Grinstein, 43, argues that Israel has gone too rigid, and that North American Jews have become too flexible. In “Flexigidity: The Secret of Jewish Adaptability,” Grinstein, founder and president of the Reut Institute, a non-partisan Tel-Aviv based think tank, addresses the leaders of Israel and the Diaspora Jewish community, and makes recommendations for how they can face current threats and opportunities by returning to the “flexigid” balance that has served the Jewish people so well over the millennia.
“So much of what we need is there in our past,” Grinstein told The Times of Israel in an interview in a Palo Alto café before the book launch event at the nearby Oshman Family Jewish Community Center.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.