Global event includes free hands-on discussion materials from Tiffany Shlain’s Let it Ripple

Building on the global success and momentum of Character Day 2015, in which hundreds of thousands participated and viewed the films The Making of a Mensch and The Adaptable Mind, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tiffany Shlain’s nonprofit Let it Ripple this year will broaden the initiative’s reach that uses film and discussion materials to create a global conversation about the importance of character-building in today’s 24/7 world – developing strengths like creativity, humility, grit, courage, compassion and empathy. More than 48,000 groups in 80 countries have already signed up to participate in Character Day 2016, set for September 22. Let It Ripple is encouraging groups (schools, organizations, companies, camps, congregations, JCCs, museums, and communities of any size) to sign up and receive a free printed discussion package. You can watch a 1 min trailer about Character Day and sign up at

The Making of a Mensch, explores character through a Jewish lens by reinvigorating the ancient Jewish teachings of Mussar, making the wisdom and practices accessible and engaging for a 21st century audience. Groups are then invited to join a global Q&A conversation that unifies all the screenings and invites discussion about character with experts from all different perspectives. Leading up to Character Day, Shlain’s team is also offering monthly webinars with participants from previous Character Days to share best practices.

A $1.5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to Let it Ripple will help expand Character Day through 2017. In addition to The John Templeton Foundation, other generous supporters of Character Day and the specific films and resources include Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation, Covenant Foundation, Roselyn Chroman Swig, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, PJ Library, Natan Fund, Schusterman Family Foundation, and the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

One of the new offerings this year is a revamped online resource portal that will bring to life resources such as the “Periodic Table of Being a Mensch” – a breakdown of 24 different Jewish qualities, or Middot. “I believe people are craving conversation around character – we’re seeing it through the wonderful reemergence of Mussar across the Jewish spectrum,” Shlain adds, “and that there is great power in bringing these conversations together from different perspectives, from science to business, from secular education to Jewish wisdom. At the core we’re really talking about the same thing: developing our character to bring more joy, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”

Join Let it Ripple for two upcoming webinars highlighting new character-based initiatives in the Jewish community, and ideas for how to make the most of Character Day. Sign up here.

Tues Sept 6 @ 11:30am PST – featuring April Baskin (Union for Reform Judaism), Dina Mann (Reboot), David Waksberg (Jewish Learning Works), and Laura Yares (Hillel International).

Thurs Sept 15 @12:30pm PST – feautring Beth Cousens (Jewish Federations of North America), Rabbi Laurie Tapper (Yavneh Day School in Silicon Valley), Avi West (Jewish Federation of Greater Washington) and others.

In addition, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will speak and answer questions on Character Day LiveCast Q&A, joining others in the field of character development. The global Q&A is open and free to everyone everywhere. See the full list of speakers here.

Like previous years, day schools, congregations, and other Jewish learning communities throughout the world will be participating in the LiveCast hosting their own events. Many of them are engaging learners using the supplemental Jewish learning materials provided by Let it Ripple.

  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is hosting an event on Sept 22. Tickets here.
  • The National Museum of Jewish History will be screening the film and tapping into the conversation with Rabbi Sacks.
  • BimBam will include their film series Shaboom! in Character Day. The films are perfect to introduce these ideas about being a good person to pre-school age children.
  • One Table is encouraging young adults across the country to host Character Day Shabbat dinners.
  • Jewish Learning Works is launching a resource as part of Character Day that explores the intersection between Jewish wisdom, text and yoga.
  • Find more ideas of what you can do here.