David Katznelson is rebooting his career, leaving his position as director of strategic change for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund and becoming executive director for Reboot, a nonprofit that develops creative Jewish products.
“Reboot strives to help people connect with Judaism in the 21st century, and part of the reason I am excited about this new job is that we are going through a renaissance of Jewish thought and ideas, and Reboot was in on the beginning of that conversation,” Katznelson said.
Katznelson, 46, has been active with Reboot since its inception 15 years ago. He has served as board chairman since 2012. He also is a co-founder of two of Reboot’s most successful initiatives: The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation and DAWN, an all-night Shavuot celebration held for six years in San Francisco.
“Reboot has done an amazing job of seeding the Jewish world with technology programs and growing them, and part of the next step will be to grow them even more and to take programs we are developing to a bigger stage.”
Katznelson knows something about big stages. The founder of Birdman Recording Group, Inc., and a former vice president of artists and repertoire at Warner Bros., he is a Grammy-nominated music producer. His 30-plus-year career in the music industry began, when he was in high school, at Bill Graham Presents.
Since then, Katznelson has logged decades of leadership in the private, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, including six years at the federation.
Reboot, which produces events, exhibitions, recordings, books, films, activity toolkits and apps, prides itself on innovation. The National Day Of Unplugging/Sabbath Manifesto, which encourages time away from technology, came from Reboot, as did 10Q, which Reboot says “has helped more than 30,000 people reflect on life’s core questions during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” New projects include The Kibitz, “a Jewish-ish podcast,” and an iPhone app (www.rebooters.net) that encourages users to slow down every Friday and reflect “to a more restful weekend state of mind.”
Reboot co-founder Rachel Levin, executive director of the Beverly Hills-based Righteous Persons Foundation,said Katznelson’s “talent, deep care for Jewish life today, and his ability to make things happen have been integral to Reboot’s success and growth over the years.”
The new job starts June 1, and Katznelson plans to spend some time before then hiking the James Irvine Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County. “My temple is the redwood forest, and whenever you are making a life change, it’s good to spend time with a couple of thousand-year-old listeners,” he said.