If you were to choose a representative sample of a thousand citizens of the world, only two would be Jews. However, if you bring a thousand Nobel laureates into the hall, 227 of them will be Jews. The rate of winning the prestigious award is just one indication, which points to the big picture of innovation and unceasing creativity of the Jewish people.
How is it that we have been leading as the most innovative and creative nation for hundreds of years, certainly relative to our population number?
In his book Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative, Ken Robinson, a popular writer in creativity, describes the rapid technological changes in the world. These are changes that every citizen in the Western world feels, so there is no need to recount them. As a result of these changes, professions that existed in the past have been deleted. Many of the professions and careers that future school students will pursue today have not yet been invented at all. The compelling conclusions are that education in the world is changing so that it does not have to invest most of its effort in knowledge, but in developing "personal sensitivities and talents and deepening in understanding the world."
Robinson enumerates the qualities that entrepreneurs and future workers need. For him, a more complex economy requires "more sophisticated talent… Employers say they need employees who know how to think creatively, can think innovate, communicate well, know how to work in a team, and are flexible and confident."
It is impossible not to agree with Robinson on the demands he places on future workers. Israel, perhaps more than any other country in the world, understands this well. Thanks to this understanding, in recent years, Israel has become a high-tech center and a world leader in the field of innovation.
But technological innovation and success in various areas of life did not grow in a vacuum. Of course, there are necessary growth engines, but creative thinking needs fertile cultural ground to encourage this growth. The same ground includes encouraging appropriate worldviews and mental strength. The source of these perceptions, views, and inner strength can be found in the Jewish heritage in general, particularly in the attitude and thought of Chsidism and Kabbalah regarding the realization of potential and creative thinking.
For centuries, the great Jewish leaders have seen the need for mental and emotional development, long before the accelerated technological development. In the view of Judaism, not only science, technology, and the future of employment place new demands from the education systems. These demands are part of the purpose of our existence as human beings. Therefore, the education systems are required of them.
We will try to describe some of the principles, the fertile ground, the same insights, perceptions, and mental movements folded in Jewish thought and motivate them to think creatively and act to realize that creativity.
– Creativity begins with a person's belief in his power to change reality. One of Judaism's most significant contributions to humanity is precisely this belief. Belief in the ability of one person, each person, man or woman, to break through boundaries and barriers in his life and produce a fundamental change in the world, in his private world, and the general world.
A prominent source of this is the creation of the first man on Rosh Hashanah. Unlike other creatures, the description of creation in Genesis teaches that man was created unique. According to Jewish thought, the reason for this is precisely to promote the message that the purpose of creation depends on every person. Every person is a full world, and his development as an individual touches the whole world and affects the world.
– Creativity develops in a place where I am willing to re-examine the premises of the 'world.' According to one opinion, Abraham, the nation's father, was called the "Abraham the Israelite" because he marched against the flow (In Hebrew, Israelite is another side). He was not afraid to innovate and think differently and contrary to popular belief at the time. The Midrash teaches that he stood against the world despite being one until "the whole world was on one side and he on the other side." This principle, of going against the flow, bequeathed to those who followed him.
Throughout history, when the whole world went in one direction, Jews went in the opposite direction. For this reason, it can be said that the principles of creative thinking have been flowing in the DNA of Judaism for thousands of years.
– According to Jewish thought, creativity is not a series of technical practice technics, which sometimes only cover creativity, but a significant process of removing barriers in mind and overcoming natural tendencies.
When a person practices removing emotional, mental, cognitive, and other barriers at various levels in his life, he will be able to think creatively even when he encounters theoretical-scholarly problems, even if he gets on the battlefield if he is invited to a business discussion table. On the other hand, a person who seeks creativity only when faced with a certain and threatening problem will find it more difficult to arouse the creative forces within him.
Encouraging the removal of these barriers is done, among other things, by studying and deepening the structure of the soul and the mind, acquiring self-confidence, developing a belief in my ability to influence the world, and dealing with unwanted emotions, such as anxiety, sadness, and stress.The beating heart of creative thinking is the realization of the cognitive potential. A well-known and central value in Jewish life is learning. The study includes not only reading and comprehension. Still, it requires the practice of in-depth cognitive activity at different levels to discover the "inner" aspects of the world. The heart of the effort is to identify the abstract point in each issue, the main idea when it is abstract from "garments," examples, stories, data, and the like. This is to break through the boundaries of understanding and reach a spark of insights. After the abstraction phase, we need a process of dressing up the insights that came up in various costumes, such as stories, examples, and data is required.
– Jewish creativity stems in many ways from non-submission to a consciousness of separation. Instead of the consciousness of multiplicity, Judaism pushes to seek unity, the thread that connects events, the laws of nature, people, and our own psychic forces. According to Jewish thought, the revelation of unity in creation is the revelation of creation's inner and true picture. A consequence of this view is that man can connect opposites and carry conflicting opinions and ideas and not be threatened by opinions contrary to his own.
– Jewish history is riddled with hardships, crises, and manifestations of evil. Jewish thinking pushes not to panic and surrender to these. The secret of Jewish survival has to do with recognizing that they have a role to play. One needs to discover the positive essence of difficulties, challenges, and experiences. The ability to overcome crises relies heavily on the consciousness that you have a mission in life. Mission is the knowledge that everyone everywhere has a role in the world. This role is not your personal interest but to do good in the world. To fulfill the mission, man must discover his full potential. A consciousness of mission life and have been a powerful engine in Jewish life since. This consciousness prevents doing and entrepreneurship only out of a desire to become famous or make money. It gives depth and meaning to actions and pushes to overcome difficulties and obstacles.
Of course, these principles and many others were not discovered in the Jewish communities at all times and everywhere. But it can certainly be said that they turned Jewish education and values into ones that accelerated creativity and the realization of potential and breaking boundaries in the places where they were discovered.