Break A Leg

The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It's an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It's a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.

There are characteristics in work and life that you just can't teach. They form from within and over time, they become part of who we are. One of those characteristics is the entrepreneurial spirit. It develops in those individuals who demonstrate a true passion for building something great from nothing and who are willing to push themselves to the limits to achieve big goals.

Sacha Reich, founder of Jewish Theatre Collaborative, is this type of person. More on her later.

Last year, Inc. Magazine listed five indicators that demonstrate that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving in someone:

1) They are in-tune with their passion.

Think of the last conversation you had with someone about something they were deeply passionate about. It doesn't matter if the subject is completely uninteresting to you, the conviction in their voice and the authentic enthusiasm they have for it is captivating.

2) They are always questioning how it can be done better.

Mark Twain once said, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." The average person rarely considers how ordinary things can be made better or improved -- those with the entrepreneurial spirit can't help themselves. They are continually questioning why things are done the way they are and aren't afraid to go against the majority to make changes.

3) Optimistic about all possibilities

To be entrepreneurial by nature is to be optimistic. People with the entrepreneurial spirit don't spend time thinking about what they can't do, but instead ask themselves, "Why can't I?"

4) They take calculated risks

In addition to optimism, entrepreneurs are predisposed to a high tolerance for risk. But it doesn't mean they jump blindly into action, it's instead the opposite. Those with the entrepreneurial spirit make calculated moves while understanding that there are never any guarantees of success.

5) Above all, they execute

Ideas are meaningless until they are acted on. Those with the entrepreneurial spirit realize that execution is everything when it comes down to success or failure.

As you may realize, I am the first one to “cheer on” different ideas. I applaud all entrepreneurs in creating something new to strengthen Jewish life and engage more Jews. I am married to one. And, I watch the amount of time, effort, energy, passion and drive it takes to make one’s idea a reality.

Sacha Reich made Jewish Theatre Collaborative (JTC) a reality. As was written about in Oregon Jewish Life magazine several months ago, JTC, sadly, will be ending its run in April. Since 2008, Jewish Theatre Collaborative has thoughtfully explored how dynamic theater performances created from great stories can serve as springboards for exciting community conversations.

Jewish Theatre Collaborative’s final production is the world premiere of Davita’s Harp, based on the book by Chaim Potok. The shows runs until April 9 at the Milagro Theatre in Southeast Portland.

Davita’s Harp is a coming of age story for a young girl living in the stormy melting pot that was 1930's New York City. You’ll meet her for the first time when the curtain rises at the world premiere of Davita's Harp. It is within the context of her communist parents, a missionary nurse aunt, a mystical story writing “uncle” and Orthodox cousins that Ilana Davita discovers who she is and chooses who she will be. The beloved book comes to life and its heroine self-actualizes before your eyes in a powerful portrayal of how “the village” impacts individuals.  JTC transports you back in time to encounter a chapter of American history when our fundamental notions of politics, identity, nationalism, and even love erupted. This story is full of passion, imagination, ideas and heart. It will move you.

A few interesting tidbits:

  • Davita's Harp is the only one of Chaim Potok's full-length novels to feature a female protagonist.
  • Adena Potok, Chaim's widow, will be attending the show and participating in the talkback this Sunday, March 20th at 2:00 p.m.
  • The student matinees will bring in approximately 200 students from five public and private schools.


Davita’s Harp runs until April 9. Buy your tickets here.      

This is it…the culminating event for a terrifically successful entrepreneurial organization in our Jewish community. I am a proud that the Jewish Federation was an early funder of JTC and has been supportive throughout. Thank you for the 24 original works that have reached over 20,000 audience members. To Sacha, her actors, leadership, funders, family, and all those involved in JTC’s incredible run – YASHER KOACH and THANK YOU! Break a leg during your final shows.

Portland is blessed to have so many Jewish entrepreneurs – in a variety of industries. But to be an entrepreneur on behalf of the Jewish community has its own challenges and rewards. We have people like Sacha (JTC), Steven Eisenbach-Budner (Tivnu), Sarah Blattner (Tamritz), Jared Goodman (Morgan St. Theater), and Alicia Jo Rabins (Complicated Lives of Biblical Women)  to name a few. These are special people who truly risk it all to make our Jewish community a better place.

When I observe and hear stories from entrepreneurs and the challenges of building something from nothing, I often think how easy I had it. I came to Portland almost six years ago to a ready-made senior leadership opportunity, a full-time professional team, a functioning Board of Directors, a campaign that was raising in excess of $3 million, and a 90-year history. Sure there was work to do…but I did not have to start from scratch. That is why I admire all entrepreneurs and their spirit for making something out of nothing at all.

Shabbat shalom, and for those with school-age children, have a safe and enjoyable spring break (thus, no Marc’s Remarks next Friday).



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