Merging Career Advancement and Jewish Wisdom

This week’s post is by Bradley Caro Cook, the executive director of, chair of The City of Beverly Hills Entrepreneurship Incubator, and director of Growth
Exponential, a tech company pioneering growth hacking methodologies for nonprofits.

In many ways Career Up Now aligns with at least two of the propositions in the Rabbi Sid’s Jewish Megatrends essay.

It is a well-known fact that today’s young Jewish population has little attachment to Jewish life and to traditional religious institutions in particular. Studies show that the number of young Jews who practice Judaism or even identify as Jewish continues to decline. And those numbers are particularly low for college students, who are highly disengaged and disenfranchised from Judaism. The situation will likely worsen – unless a new approach can be found that connects young Jewish adults to Judaism’s timeless wisdom and meaning. This approach needs to take into account Millennials’ unique needs, the type of experiences they consider meaningful, and the fact that they live in a hyper-connected, digital world. At the same time, this approach must reach those who have no connection to institutionalized Jewish life, go beyond one-time Jewish engagement, and offer ongoing Jewish learning experiences that connect young Jews to Jewish values and leaders. Most importantly, this approach must do more than engage individuals; it must create strong, local Jewish communities whose members are connected to Judaism for the long term.

The platform that I have built– Career Up Now (CUN)—attempts to address this challenge. CUN empowers Jewish emerging professionals (ages 20-26) to advance their careers, while incorporating Jewish values into their lives, through innovative networking opportunities and Jewish learning experiences with Jewish industry leaders. This approach aligns closely with two of the themes discussed in Rabbi Sid’s essay: Chochma/wisdom and Kehilla/community. 

Our flagship program features industry-specific cohorts that bring together emerging professionals and industry leaders for 2-day, immersive group-learning experiences and a variety of follow-up programs. At these intergenerational, relationship building meetings, professionals (who are Jewish) of all affiliations, ages and backgrounds, explore Judaism’s timeless wisdom and find connection, meaning, and purpose for their professional and personal lives.

We also offer “Women of Wisdom,” women’s empowerment programming through a Jewish lens; “Wisdom Buffets,” interactive Jewish learning gathering for young professionals; “Wisdom on Campus,” student-led, career advancing, wisdom-sharing evenings on college campuses; and “Wisdom Wednesdays,” an online weekly Jewish learning program focusing on the “intersection” of career and Jewish values.

Since our inception in 2016, over 2,000 individuals in nine cities have engaged in Jewish learning in ways that they could hardly have imagined just a year or two earlier in their lives. Even more importantly, the vast majority are still engaged with Judaism – and with CUN. Yet we’ve come to the realization that we need to do more than offer career advancement with a Jewish focus. We need to empower young Jews to, not only integrate Jewish wisdom into their personal and professional levels, but to build communities built on those values.

In the next phase of our work, CUN plans to build six intentional communities over the next three years whose members will lead purposeful Jewish professional and personal lives. Ultimately, through these communities, thousands of Jewish emerging professionals and industry leaders will find relevance in Judaism for themselves, their families, and their communities.  

Bradley Caro Cook, Ed.D. is a social entrepreneur, civic leader, and Jewish educator. He strives to bring equity, inclusion, and universal Jewish wisdom in all of his community building endeavors. He currently serves as the executive director of, chair of The City of Beverly Hills Entrepreneurship Incubator, and director of Growth
Exponential, a tech company pioneering growth hacking methodologies for nonprofits.

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