Reflections from the Road: Shelby Zitelman, Director of Programs North American

Aharon Horwitz>>Thu Jan 12, 2012

We just got the below email from our road warrioring team member, Shelby Zitelman, Director of Noth American Programs (on twitter @mizshelbyfaye).


Her words reflect the powerful and positive energy running through PresenTense right now: 



How do Jewish communities attract and retain young adults?

Aharon Horwitz>>Mon Dec 13, 2010

I just landed in Detroit for a Detroit Federation initiated conference called: Think Tank: Rebuilding Jewish Communities by Attracting & Retaining Young Adults. It's innovative in its subject and in the way it came together, ground up out of Detroit and in cooperation with other mid-sized communities. There seems to be a great crowd attending--CEO's, line warriors, foundation professionals--I'm looking forward to doing a lot of learning on how we can build on our partnership with the Cleveland Jewish Federation and grow PresenTense into other mid-size Jewish communities around North America. 

Monday, I'll be participating in a panel with Moishe House, Birthright NEXT, and the Schusterman Foundation. I'm jazzed that Jerry Silverman from the JFNA will be moderating. In his email to the panelists, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit CEO Scott Kaufman pointed out the crux of the issue in a way that was hilarious and sad all at once: "Normally a gathering like this focuses on Engaging young people. The twist here is that many of the communities gathering have an issue that is a prerequisite to engagement; namely how to attract and retain young people. For if we lose all our young people our only viable engagement strategy will be Mahjong tournaments."

Scott's point is well taken. I'm skeptical as to whether any of the organizations represented will provide the gathered with a satisfactory answer to the attraction question. We all know the solution is tied up in so many factors not in our hands, first and foremost the job market. That said, I'm thinking of the following few headlines around the attract question -- directions that may be useful. I'll flesh them out on my panel but I hope to discuss with other participants in the leadup tonight. 


Egypt in Our Time

Aharon Horwitz>>Tue Apr 27, 2010

I'm here in the US on a two week work trip for PresenTense, working to develop new programs and keep the process moving on some of our existing projects. I'm spending a few days in my hometown Cleveland concluding the Fellow selection process with our Cleveland Federation Community Entrepreneur Partnership. As we select our entrepreneurial Fellows in Cleveland and other cities -- people who we envision becoming mobilizing champions of the Jewish Community -- and we prepare to publish PT Magazine Issue 11 on the subject of Jewish Heroes, I got to thinking about the way that we use the terms "hero" and "leader."

As I was thinking about this, it happened that I was going through old stuff in my parents' home (under strict orders from my mother!) and found my grandfather's medals from his service as a US GI in WWII. The citation for his Bronze Star medal reads "Staff Sergeant Alvin I. awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations in German on 22 March 1945....Sergeant Horwitz had watched lone vehicles and men pass over [the main bridge on the Reichautobahn] for several hours when he observed a man struck down. Without hesitation and at great risk to his life, he immediately crossed the open field to recover the wounded man. Shells continue to fall through out the whole trip but he continued to assist the wounded man until he evacuated him. His coolness under fire and intense devotion to duty reflect the highest credit on himself and the armed forces of the United States...."


Hacker News: A Must Read for Social Entrepreneurs

Aharon Horwitz>>Tue Apr 13, 2010

For years, we at PresenTense have drawn inspiration from Paul Graham, founder of Ycombinator, the premier early stage tech startup shop. A ways back, the Ycombinator community created something called "Hacker News," a Karma based voting system that identifies articles from the web which garner community interest. We read it regularly and find that--alongside the insider talk about programming--it is chock full of valuable perspectives and links on venture building. I saw today that Hacker News is opening a magazine.


PresenTense on the Road

Aharon Horwitz>>Tue Mar 16, 2010

I'm on the road in North America for PresenTense, just having spent two days at the Orthodox Forum where I spoke about the Odyssey Years phenomenon and its implications for modern Orthodoxy. I'll post more about that once I assimilate the fascinating conversations that took place among a group of people whose Jewish learning and knowledge base was mind blowing. I tried to turn the conversation towards Modern Orthodoxy within a broader framework of Jewish purpose. More on that down the road.


The Jewish People's Hospitality Stream

Aharon Horwitz>>Tue Mar 2, 2010

What does membership in the "Jewish Community" mean in the practical sense? 

I just got back from traveling around Europe for the ROI-Paideia Eurogathering.[It was a great conference, check out the coverage here.] To keep up with my work during travels, we activated a travel data plan for my Israeli Blackberry. At each country I went to, exactly at the moment my plane landed and my phone switched onto the local network, I received an SMS from Pelephone (PT's Israeli cell phone carrier) welcoming me to that country and offering a free of charge phone number that I could call with any questions or concerns. All members of the Pelephone customer pool, (or rather, the Pelephone user community), receive this notification when they go abroad.

Project InCiTe Panel at PresenTense

Aharon Horwitz>>Mon Dec 28, 2009

Reclaiming the Z Word Panel @presentense
Watch live streaming video from presentense at

Omer Kaplan of Ynet

Aharon Horwitz>>Tue Dec 15, 2009

Co-manager of the social network table, along with presentense staff, at the kenes tziirim in beer sheva.

Posted via email from PresenTense Group

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