A Pivotal Moment

by Elizabeth Weingarten Racing down King George Street in Jerusalem, I reached a sweaty hand into my messenger bag to grab money for the bus. I was rushing to an important meeting with an organization I hoped would be a partner in my social jewelry business, Tribelle. My fingers clawed the inside of my bag. No wallet. I dumped my bag on the cobbled pavement, and stooped over to peer inside. It was gone. … [Read more...]

PresenTense Global Laboratory: Changing the Jewish World as We Know It

Mila Finkelshtein pitches her venture, Talmud Aviv at Global Lab Venture Showcase; photo courtesy PresenTense

by Frayda Leibtag One of the lessons that PresenTense has taught its fellows over the years is the importance of the ability to upgrade and update a product, idea or organization. PresenTense is no exception to this rule and six years after the founding of the cornerstone Global Institute, the organization announced that the inaugural Global Laboratory would be taking place in July 2013. The Global Lab was developed for both emerging visionaries and returning PresenTense alumni, and consists of two tracks: Seed, for new fellows to learn how to develop ideas into viable ventures that will impact their local communities, and Scale, for PresenTense alumni who have completed a local fellowship or the Global Institute and are looking to scale their venture in the context of an international network. … [Read more...]

The Mincha Minyan

minyan

by Julie Sugar In the Jewish communal world, there is an ongoing conversation about how to activate and dazzle uninvolved or unaffiliated Jews. I think the conversation needs to be reframed; I believe that many people want to be involved, but for different reasons aren’t able to access the Jewish ritual and communal space. … [Read more...]

A PresenTense Fellow Looks to Upend Retirement Living in Russia

Our grandmothers and grandfathers, no matter how old they are, and despite any health problems they might have, are still young in their souls and the last thing they want is to feel old and helpless. by Maryna Gaidak Almost two years ago, the KAET Fellowship was launched in Moscow by PresenTense in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Unlike many other Jewish initiatives this fellowship teaches something fundamentally new to the Russian community - independence. Social entrepreneurship is a relatively new concept for Russian society, however the program was greeted with great enthusiasm by the KAET fellows. [This year's cohort who will present their projects on June 6th]. I was lucky to recently meet Lyudmila Zaharova, a KAET fellow and the long time … [Read more...]

Reflections from Moscow

We need to move beyond offering just a gateway to the Jewish community and Judaism 101 experiences but also a way for young adults to continue growing Jewishly. by Yasha Moz Ten years ago I was a university student in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Studying international relations was good, but as a local Hillel activist at the time, my most memorable education came from my involvement in Jewish life. Working at Jewish camps, going on Birthright, learning about Judaism at Hillel seminars and then sharing it with my peers and the larger community made for a very busy but also incredibly rewarding time. Still to this day, the connections I made all over the FSU form the core of my social and professional networks. … [Read more...]

Reflections: 20 Years of Hillel in the FSU

by Sanford R. Cardin In 1994, in the wake of the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Charles and Lynn Schusterman seized upon what they determined was a window of opportunity to begin rebuilding a sense of community among those whose Jewish identities had been repressed by the twin forces of the Holocaust and state-supported persecution. The Schustermans had traveled to the region several times in the 1980’s to meet refuseniks, and they knew there was a generation of young adults, embracing new identities in the post-Soviet era, who wanted to learn about their Jewish heritage and reclaim the traditions that had been too far out of reach for far too long. … [Read more...]

What Does Collaboration Look Like?

collaboration

As a "sector-within-a-sector," the Jewish innovation space must work together if we are to achieve maximal impact. Important conversations about growth, sustainability, and impact cannot take place exclusively behind the closed-doors of boardrooms or within the four walls of any one organization. by No'a Gorlin, Lisa Lepson, Aliza Mazor, Toby Rubin, Jenny Kibrit Smith, Justin Rosen Smolen and Naomi Korb Weiss Business experts tell us that the proverbial saying "two heads are better than one" is actually true. Organizations that stress cross-functional collaboration in diverse teams see the benefits of enhanced camaraderie, heightened creativity, and a greater return on investment than organizations that operate in compartmentalized silos. But thinking more broadly, what does collaboration look … [Read more...]

You’re Invited to Join PresenTense at a Local Launch Night

PresenTense Launch Night

Join PresenTense and their partners in celebrating innovation at one of 9 Launch Nights worldwide! Starting on May 21st, PresenTense and their partners are hosting 9 local Launch Nights around the world to showcase the 120 new community-transforming social ventures that their fellows have developed over the past six months. Will you be in Boston, Chicago, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, St. Petersburg or Washington DC? Join their fellows, learn about their ventures, and discover how you can help them build the future today! Click here to see dates and locations, and request your invitation! … [Read more...]