>>Wed Jul 14, 2010
Not your Grandmother’s Judaism
PresenTense Global Fellow Fashions Hip Jewish Identity
Jerusalem, Israel-July 7th, 2010— Hip, cool, edgy, and fresh … These are the words Yishai Mizrahi-Varon aims to communicate not only about fashion and music, but also about Judaism. As the Associate Marketing Director for Shemspeed, an independent recording label devoted to Jewish, World, and Alternative music, Mizrahi-Varon is launching the Shemspeed Keffiyeh Project at the PresenTense 2010 Global Institute. The goal of the Shemspeed Keffiyeh Project is to leverage popular trens – in this case, fashion and music – in order to engage young Jews in an interactive dialogue about Jewish identity, culture, and Israel.
Beginning in the fall, Mizrahi-Varon and Erez Safar, the Founder and Director of Shemspeed, will bring this innovative program to college campuses throughout the U.S. The project will feature an Israeli version of the keffiyeh (a Middle Eastern scarf that has emerged as the ultra hip fashion accessory especially among college students), informal workshops about Jewish identity, cutting edge and original Jewish music, and role models that personify creativity, passion, and Jewish commitment.
>>Mon Jul 12, 2010
The “It” Spot for Jewish Professionals: The Capital Jewish Forum
Australian Jewish Leader Develops Venture at PresenTense Jerusalem Institute
July 8, 2010, JERUSALEM—
While serving as the Executive Officer for the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission in Australia, Manny Waks observed that many of his young adult peers were disengaged from the organized Jewish community, which is centered around synagogues, day schools, and Israel advocacy.
Waks, now Vice President of the Jewish community in Canberra (Australia’s capital), decided to build a different Jewish communal model that would better appeal to young professionals like himself.
He founded the Capital Jewish Forum (CJF) in August 2009 to promote discussion and engagement with intellectuals, dignitaries and leaders on topics which are of relevance to Jewish academic, policy and business professionals. He is further developing his project this summer as a Summer Fellow at the PresenTense 2010 Global Institute in Jerusalem.
Launched by Mr. Mark Dreyfus MP at the Australian Parliament House, the CJF recently established its Board of Advisers, which is chaired by Assoc. Prof. Danny Ben-Moshe and includes among its members Mr. Dreyfus, Mr. Jeremy Jones AM, Mr. Bob Magid, Mr. Gad Ben-Ari, and Ambassador Martin Indyk.
The CJF, a non-partisan organization, provides a means of engagement through “a secure and inclusive environment for Jewish professionals whose personal perspectives are welcomed, indeed encouraged,” according to Waks.
>>Wed Jul 7, 2010
We've posted Sarah Kass's worksheet and the video of her talk - please comment and share your thoughts and ideas with each other and with Sarah.
>>Tue Jun 29, 2010
"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
That may be true, but there are free 10 day trips to Israel on Birthright. It sometimes feels like Jewish organizations respond to lagging participation in Jewish activities by throwing money at the problem (e.g. me) and I'm not complaining. It's pretty easy to observe Shabbat meals when you receive an $18 reimbursement for each participant through Birthright Next.
Last week at PresenTense Global Institute we heard from some of the Jewish philanthropists and professionals invested in these programs: Alisa Kurshan, Senior Vice President at UJA-Federation of NYC, and Lynn Schusterman and Sandy Cardin of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. I was excited to meet the people that support Birthright and to hear their vision for a Jewish community.
That's why I was surprised when it seemed like everyone, speakers and audience, expressed concern about "entitled Judaism." Yes, Sandy Cardin emphasized that Birthright plants the seeds for future Jewish donors, and Kurshan enthusiastically observed the great demand for the Birthright brand. But questions were raised about the value of a free product. Moreover, Kurshan described how Birthright returnees called the UJA Israel hotline asking how to return to Israel, but were surprised to find they might actually have to pay the second time around. Do younger Jews consider the Jewish brand worth paying for?
There are signs that my generation does not feel the same sense of responsibility to invest in the Jewish community and its institutions, as demonstrated by less communal giving among the younger demographic. Hundreds of thousands of people gave their sweat and money to build the alphabet soup of an organized Jewish community we have today, from the AJC to the ZOA. Will these institutions survive? Should they?
>>Tue Jun 15, 2010
When I think of "grassroots organizers," I think of those who spark social change movements. While change can come from the top, the biggest stakeholders in changing society are those ‘on the ground” who organize their peers to take action. These grassroots activists often oppose “the man,” the established power structures that support the status quo.
In my few weeks at the Jerusalem Hub I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon at PresenTense. On the one hand the Institute harnesses the grassroots enthusiasm of budding social entrepreneurs who are creating an empowered minyan in Cleveland, Jewish sports programming, and networks of activists in Jerusalem. Each of the Summer Fellows is directly on the ground, in touch with people not necessarily engaged in the established Jewish community.
On the other hand, PresenTense connects Fellows to a network of philanthropists, mentors, and coaches that are deeply embedded in the established Jewish community. Reputable Jewish organizations like the American Zionist Movement, the Amitai Foundation, and the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland sponsor Fellows. Speakers this summer include Becky Caspi, Executive Director of the Israel Office for Jewish Federations of North America, and Professor Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College.
Unlike other grassroots movements, the entrepreneurs at PresenTense partner with and compliment the Establishment. How does this happen? First, forward thinking big Jewish organizations realize that new ways of thinking are required to engage the younger generation. At the same time, young entrepreneurs are choosing to work within rather than outside the sometimes frustratingly old-fashioned Jewish world, patiently teaching how Judaism can exist through Facebook, sustainability, and hip hop.
>>Mon May 17, 2010
On June 10th, 2010, 17 Fellows will take up the flag of Pioneering to develop entre- and intrapreneurial ventures to impact Israel and the Jewish community. Check out their ideas, and sign up to join their quests as they go forth to change the world and bring our people's values to life.
Click below to meet the 2010 PresenTense Fellows and lend your energy and support to their missions.
>>Sun Jan 31, 2010
Today at PresenTense the staff made a strong recruiting push for the February 15th application deadline for the Summer Institute in Jerusalem. Want to learn the business skills and tools to launch your social venture? For more details and to apply visit www.presentensefellowship.com.
>>Mon Jan 18, 2010
We are inviting European Entrepreneurs from across the Continent to apply to our Summer Institute, where your socially conscious venture can grow and succeed. Europe faces many serious issues today: urban poverty, rising Anti-Semitism, economic struggle. Your venture can help to alleviate these problems, and we can arm you to maximize the economic value of whatever idea you bring to the table.
Apply now at www.presentensefellowship.com
>>Tue Dec 29, 2009
Do you have an innovative idea that will engage, leverage, and inspire the Jewish community? Are you or someone you know passionate about social change?
The PresenTense Summer Institute, a six week boot camp for social entrepreneurs, is accepting general applications for the 2010 summer fellowship. The deadline to apply for general applications is January 1, 2010.
At the Summer Institute you will:
- Learn the essential business skills and tools to develop your venture
- Develop your venture while being mentored by experts in your field
- Be part of a community of social entrepreneurs, network with similarly minded peers and share ideas, skills, and knowledge
This is your last chance to make a difference. Apply today!
>>Wed Nov 4, 2009
Excitement is buzzing through the air as the first major preparations for the PT '10 Summer Institute has gotten under way. Steering Committee members met this past Sunday to organize and share their ideas and everyone is ready and willing to contribute their expertise. There is much work to be done but the road ahead has been set and the goal is clear; to have a strong class of Fellows that will impact the Jewish world.
Visit the Institute section of the website to check out the Steering Committee member bios.