Lynn Schusterman: Unintimidated Philanthropist

by Eetta Prince-Gibson The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (CLSFF), chaired by Lynn Schusterman from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a primary supporter of Bat Kol, the Israeli organization for religious lesbians. CLSFF is one of the largest Jewish-centric philanthropic foundations and donates, according to most estimates, some $70 million annually to a wide range of primarily, but not solely, Jewish projects. Bat Kol is part of ROI, one of CLSFF's flagship projects, which, according to its publications, "aims to support young leaders worldwide who are making Jewish life more exciting and accessible." In and extensive and telephone interview with The Jerusalem Report, Schusterman, 70, discusses her support for ROI, her engagement with the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) … [Read more...]

The Power of An Idea; The Power of Limmud New York

Limmud New York, the first child of Limmud International, recently concluded their 6th annual conference. Launched in 2005 by six volunteers, and assistance from UJA Federation of New York, The Picower Foundation and Bikkurim, last weekend's conference featured over 300 sessions for the 700 participants along with heat! With attendees from three weeks to 97 years old, there was programming for all. 100 kids and teenagers participated in a winter camp and a vibrant group of college students helped keep the tempo high. Here's a sampling of what's being said: Tamar Fox writing in Limmud NY 2010: The Quintessential Limmud Experience The thing I always love about Limmud is the sheer number of times every day that my world is completely rocked by brilliance. In any … [Read more...]

Limmud’s Global Chavruta Project


Combine globalization and technology and what do you get? Limmud Conference’s first worldwide, 100% virtual team! The Co-Chairs of Limmud’s 2009 Chavruta Project span four continents across fourteen time zones - from New York to Sydney who joined together for a unique collaboration to create Jewish learning that transcended boundaries. The Chavruta project was conceived by Limmud in the UK 13 years ago and has since been exported to Jewish communities around the world. For those unfamiliar, chavruta means 'friendship' or 'partnership.' It is a form of traditional Jewish learning involving pairs of people, usually with similar levels of ability and knowledge, exploring texts together. At Limmud, these can range from ancient materials to modern scholarship, song lyrics and more. Everyone is … [Read more...]

The Phenomenon Called Limmud


55,000 meals served; 900 sessions; 320 presenters, a 380 page program book and 2500 participants from 40 countries. Those attending ranged from eight weeks to 90 years; 1000 were first-timers and 300 were between 5 and 18. Such were some of the stats from last month's LimmudUK. Known simply as "Conference" this annual independent event is, in the words of Sir Jonathan Sacks, "British Jewry's greatest export." Held in the week between Christmas and New Year's, this year's Conference was the biggest ever. Bringing together religious and secular, affiliated and not, traditional and alternative to celebrate, to create and to provide a catalyst for individuals to further their own Jewish learning in an inclusive atmosphere. Conference took place on the campus of the University of Warwick in the … [Read more...]

Limmud UK: The Mother of All Conferences


by Adam Rattner Some 2,000 people checked into the halls of residence at Warwick University, West Midlands, yesterday morning, joining the 500 participants who had already spent the Christmas weekend away from festivities and in a Shabbat atmosphere instead. Long unsure about what to do with themselves as the rest the country celebrates Christmas, Britain's Jews have found an unlikely answer - go to university for a week. The Limmud conference, the world's biggest Jewish educational get-together, offers the chance to sleep in university dorms and spend the day in lecture theaters listening to academics, rabbis and lay people presenting on just about every Jewish topic conceivable. Participants were still arriving on Sunday, weather conditions permitting, from all over the world. Since its … [Read more...]

Nurturing Jewish Innovation

from The Canadian Jewish News: Toronto hosts think tank on social entrepreneurship Last week, UJA?Federation of Greater Toronto hosted a two-day international think tank on Jewish innovation and social entrepreneurship. About 30 people - social entrepreneurs (people who use a business model to address societal issues), researchers in the field, and funders - took part in the event. Approximately a third were Canadian, and there was one participant each from Sweden and from England. ... The recent Toronto meeting was co-sponsored by its lead organizer Jumpstart - The Network for Jewish Innovation, which is based in California; the New York-based Lippman Kanfer Institute, a think tank for innovation in Jewish learning that is part of JESNA (Jewish Education Service of North America); … [Read more...]

AMHSI Scores a First With Google Translate


In what we believe is a first for an Israel based initiative of its kind, Alexander Muss High School in Israel has added Google's latest translator tool to the top-right hand corner of every page of their website. As AMHSI endeavors to expand to international markets, the ability to instantly translate into 51 different languages offers them measurable marketing advantages. The school is already creating buzz in France among potential participants and their families. AMSHI is also a founding member of Lapid, a coalition of twenty-two high-school age programs in Israel whose goal is to strengthen awareness, recognition and financial aid for participants [on par with university-age programs]. Unlike MASA and Taglit Birthright-Israel, programs directed to high school participants receive no … [Read more...]

Not Too Small to Matter: Hybrid Organizations and the Future of Jewish Innovation

A few weeks ago one of my friends suggested a new game - innovation bingo. The rules are simple, sit in a room full of under-40 Jewish volunteers and professionals and wait until the word ‘innovation’ (or some variant) is used. Then yell bingo, and you win. The real fun, my friend joked, is not whether someone wins, but how quickly it takes for someone to win. Unfortunately, nothing about Jewish innovation is as simple as the rules to my friend’s proposed game.  Inspiring and nurturing Jewish innovation is still easier said than done, and the manner in which the rapid increase of Jewish start-ups are supported and integrated into the broader fabric of contemporary Jewish life presents not only opportunities but  challenges as well. Whereas the last Jewish century has been, in part, built on a … [Read more...]