Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Talks TIDEL Speaker Series: Building and Sustaining Digital Communities of Faith




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Jul 25 2024


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


TIDEL Speaker Series: Building and Sustaining Digital Communities of Faith

The TIDEL Speaker Series is a conversation-based approach to gathering experts in the field of technology and innovation to share best practices with faith-based leaders.
How do we build a digital community that doesn’t feel like an afterthought to an in-person community? Do digital community members require a different strategy of engagement than in-person community members? Once you build a digital community, how do you keep it going? What tools do you need? What kind of team do you need to sustain it? Join us as Rabbi Andrew Kaplan Mandell shares best practices for digital engagement and online community building based on his experience leading The Neighborhood at Central Synagogue. The Neighborhood is a fully virtual online community, designed to help people from anywhere in the world connect to Judaism and each other.


Rabbi Andrew Kaplan MandelRabbi Andrew Kaplan Mandel joined Central Synagogue full-time in 2023 after serving as the spiritual leader of The Neighborhood, its worldwide online community, as an intern for two years.

Raised in Rockland County, New York, Andrew earned his bachelor’s degree in American history and literature at Harvard College, his master’s degree in educational technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and his doctorate in adult learning and leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Andrew began his career as a seventh-grade English teacher in South Texas and then spent 16 years designing the national leadership programming at Teach For America. In 2014, he co-founded Strong East Ramapo, a volunteer advocacy organization addressing educational inequity in his hometown.

Seeking to connect spiritual nourishment with the pursuit of a more just world, Andrew entered Hebrew Union College in 2018 and has served as a pastoral intern at Union Temple, social justice intern at Orangetown Jewish Center, student rabbi at Temple Sinai of Newington, and an online Jewish curriculum designer and facilitator for leaders supported by the Schusterman Foundation. Andrew is an alumnus of the New York Wexner Heritage Program, the Froman Fellowship with the New Israel Fund, the year-long Hartman Institute Rabbinic Seminar, the 92nd Street Y Jewish Innovation Fellowship, the “Be Wise” fellowship, the Tisch Fellowship and Atra Center for Rabbinic Innovation. He is also the founder of Tzedek Box (www.tzedekbox.org), a new ritual in service of the Jewish call for justice, and was named one of New York Jewish Week’s “36 to Watch” in 2023.

Andrew lives with his partner, Mozart, in Long Island City, Queens, and loves cooking, singing, running, and spending time with his two Brooklyn-based nephews.


uts tidel program director dr. gabby cudjoe wilkesDr. Gabby Cudjoe Wilkes is a public theologian, innovation strategist, pastor and author. She is the Director of the Technology, Innovation & Digital Engagement Lab Fellowship housed at Union Theological Seminary. She studied under the doctoral advisement of Dr. L. Gregory Jones at Duke Divinity School where she completed her Doctorate in Ministry on innovation, social change and the church.

Dr. Gabby is a sought after voice in the public square. She was a featured contributor on The 2023 Oprah Winfrey Network’s documentary series: Time of Essence (HBO MAX), a contributor to The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History’s new film, gODTALK (2023) and was a featured contributor to Dr. Henry Lewis Gates’ documentary, GOSPEL (2024) on PBS. In 2022 she released her first book: Psalms for Black Lives, Reflections for the Work of Liberation. The book has sold more than 10,000 copies worldwide.

Dr. Gabby travels the nation training and equipping faith leaders to do the work of love & justice. At the height of both a global pandemic and a contentious presidential election season, Dr. Gabby was appointed to then NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s COVID-19 Clergy Task Force . She also served as an Eastern Region Convener of the Black Church PAC where she trained hundreds of clergy across the eastern region of the nation on matters of faith & voter engagement strategies. In 2024 she was appointed to New York City Public School’s Chancellor David Banks’ Interfaith Advisory Council.

She is a graduate of Duke, Yale, NYU & Hampton University. She currently serves as Vice President of The Yale Divinity School Alumni Board.