Why Should We Care?

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Over the past year or so, we've often written about the projects and the people, connected to the PresenTense network. Most of the stories have centered around their flagship fellowship program that takes place here in Jerusalem each summer. However, before there was a summer institute, there was PresenTense Magazine. Like eJewish Philanthropy, the magazine is as an all volunteer effort; and one that "provides a nurturing environment where Jewish youth are able to explore and enrich their Jewish identity within a pioneering framework." Their most recent issue deals with Philanthropy; currently at the printers it will be available shortly. Some of the questions the issue addresses are: what is the point of volunteering for non-Jews? Is the Jewish Philanthropic establishment relevant anymore? What … [Read more...]

In Israel for Sukkot? Come Join in The Future of the Jewish People

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Visit the PresenTense Open House to experience first hand the future of Israel and meet the social entrepreneurs who are lunching and managing ventures that take on social challenges facing Israel and the Jewish People. Located in the heart of the German Colony, PresenTense's Hub offers workspace, a conference room, conversation clusters and an environment that is both inspiring and animating. Come hear about PresenTense's range of activities, speakers and events - and how you can contribute to the future, wherever you are. Open House: October 5th; 10 am- 12 noon Emek Refaim 64, Jerusalem … [Read more...]

From WestHampton, New York to Russia’s Far East, Limmud FSU Makes Inroads

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Seven time-zones from Moscow, about as far east as one can travel in Russia, lies the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, or Region. Established in 1934 “for the Jewish population of the Soviet Union to receive a territory in which to pursue Yiddish cultural heritage within a socialist framework” this out-of-the-way region is today largely forgotten by world Jewry. But here, last week over 300 [mostly] young Russian Jews gathered in the capital city of Birobidzhan for four days of seminars, workshops, entertainment and just plain fun at the first ever Limmud in Russia’s Far East. Planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Oblast’s founding, the attendees were provided a window not only to their own heritage but an opportunity to connect to the global Jewish community. Taking … [Read more...]

Breaking The Myths of Innovation

by Bill Robinson Well, it’s a beautiful summer day here in Reisterstown, MD as the fellows and faculty of Project InCiTE take the first steps toward tearing down the myths of innovation to which we have succumbed over the last decade. Fifteen years ago, I entered the world of Jewish education as a full-time researcher for arguably the first national philanthropic initiative - Mort Mandel’s Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) - bringing innovations from general education into a moribund Jewish world. Today, I see our world filled with dozens of new philanthropic initiatives offering innovative solutions for engaging Jews. Great strides have been made and yet at times all seems to remain the same. Everyone is still searching for the next great innovation. We have increasingly … [Read more...]

Two Generations of Leaders

from the Jewish Chronicle: Our ‘future leaders’ set out their visions What are young Jewish “leaders” and “thinkers” interested in? If the 120 participants in the fourth annual Return On Investment (ROI) Summit last week in Israel are anything to go by, the answer seems to be: the same things as other starry-eyed idealists - student politics, human rights, multiculturalism and volunteering in the developed world. They also want to find other Jewish partners with whom to explore these interests. The summit - organised by the Centre for Leadership Initiatives, founded by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman - is billed as a gathering of “young Jewish innovators from around the world”. from The Forward: A Fresh Face Takes Over Embattled UJC “It could be an Obama moment” for UJC, said … [Read more...]

Zeek, The Forward and 21st Century Jewish Media

I know it's only a coincidence that on the evening before the announcement of the Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, a new partnership between The Forward and Zeek: A Journal of Jewish Thought and Culture was publicized. Coincidence because the deal was set a while back and it just so happened last Wednesday was release day. This new partnership will enable Zeek, an award-winning journal that has retained both its independence and its expansive definition of Jewish cultural and spiritual life, to attract a broader audience for its in-depth coverage of Jewish politics, spirituality and culture. Zeek's contributors range from well-known rabbis and professors to emerging artists, musicians and poets. But the real story is the transformation of The Jewish Daily Forward, the … [Read more...]

The Jewish Pulitzers for 2008

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The Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, the most prestigious accolades in Jewish media, have been announced. Known to some as the ‘Jewish Pulitzers,’ the awards were initiated in 1980 to promote quality Jewish journalism and are given out at the AJPA’s annual conference every June. And, keeping up with the times, the AJPA recognizes Outstanding Websites as one of the fifteen categories. We salute the winners in the Web-only publications division: First Place  InterfaithFamily.com, Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts AJPA comments: A fabulous resource site that answers the easy and tough questions surrounding an interfaith family life. The site is easy to use, accessibly written, and discrete when necessary. This site makes a valuable contribution to the Jewish … [Read more...]

Networks of Collaboration

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The Jerusalem offices of both PresenTense and ROI are in full swing finalizing preparations for their summer fellowship programs. Two weeks ago, we introduced the PresenTense Institute 2009 Fellows. Today, the (mostly complete) list of those who will be attending this summer's ROI Summit. Selected from almost 600 applicants, this cohort's participants - all first time ROI attendees - call 29 countries home (up one from last year). Sharing a passion for Jewish life, community and innovation they represent the best of our next generation of 'doers'. Here's philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, 'doer' extraordinaire, on ROI: "The aim of the summit is to promote innovation in the global Jewish community, while developing the participants' managerial and innovation skills. Our assumption is that their … [Read more...]