Judaism Unbound Episode 78: Burning Man

Judaism Unbound is a show I’ve been following for a while. It’s the most outside-the-box Judaism podcast I know about, and the most broadly relevant. Any kind of group or organization trying to find its way into the 21st century can benefit from the deep inquiry Dan and Lex are doing into Judaism to that end, as deeply Jewish as their inquiry is.

This year, they decided to do a topical miniseries about Burning Man in the run-up to the event to try to figure out why so many Jews are into it and what Judaism could learn from us. I was honored to be a guest on the introductory episode to that miniseries, along with my friend, Allie.

I thought it was a great conversation. My closing remarks on the show pretty much sum up my thoughts on the subject:

Burning Man is for you. It is not a counterculture; it is a superculture, and you are there, and your people are there — and I hope that everyone finds a place that feels the way Black Rock City feels for themself and for their people and for their culture. It’s one that reminds you why you wake up in the morning every day and why you go to sleep every night. There are things about an experience that profound that are terrifying, but we know that. Jewish people know that, and we face that, and we remember that on purpose because it is important in our growth to face that.

That’s the reason I keep going. It’s the reason everyone I know keeps going, and it’s not the reason why most of them go for the first time. But like I’ve said, Burning Man is not an event; it is a superculture, and being a part of it is something that can look any number of different ways. Find your tribe, and be a part of it, and be an active participant in it and an active creator of it, and you’re doing it already.