Creative Zionism, take 2

One of the primary objectives of eJewish Philanthropy is to introduce our readers, and the broader community, to the many exciting and dynamic endeavors taking place and spearheaded by a new generation of communal innovators.

One of the programs we feel very strongly about is the Jerusalem based PresenTense Institute. We are honored that we have been allowed to make the first public announcement of the 2008 Fellows.

You heard it here first!

The PresenTense Institute for Creative Zionism (PICZ), an intensive six-week summer Fellowship program

based in Jerusalem, is getting ready for season number two. PICZ, as it is affectionately known, enables socially-minded young entrepreneurs from around the world to come together and begin turning their envisioned projects into reality.

They bring together innovators on the cutting edge of Jewish creativity: programmers and designers, informal educators and rappers, nonprofit managers and biotech visionaries, pioneers with a vision and a portfolio of innovation. Through PICZ, fellows are introduced to the best and the brightest of Israel’s hi-tech, social, artistic, and political circles; giving birth to a network of Zionist thinkers and doers: Chalutz 2.0.

Last year’s founding group of fellows have already launched several projects including Eli Winkleman’s Challah for Hunger, Matt Barr’s Bible Raps Project and Avi Bass and Jason Lustig’s vision, Impact Aliyah: Zionist Leadership Development.

Summer 2008 looks just as promising with participants selected from the four corners of the world. Here’s a look at just three, in no particular order, of this summer’s crop of envisioned projects:

New Yorker Chari Pere who defines her project, Hey Yiddle Diddle Productions this way:

“It’s out with the old and in with the renewed with Hey Yiddle Diddle Productions. Old, outdated, outmoded Jewish jokes, stories, and sources of creativity get a fresh outlook with fun, whimsical, cartoons and illustrations in a way that appeals to today’s generation.”

From Hong Kong, Tanya Cawthorne, with her project,

“A cross-platform arts marketing and PR firm based in Israel with the aim of promoting the creme de la crème of Israeli artistic talent internationally. Tanya’s organization will represent artists from a range of disciplines (theatre companies, musicians, dance companies, visual artists and craftspeople etc) and put her years of marketing and PR experience to good use.”

And checking in from Jerusalem, PICZ’s home town, Rafi Gabbay and his project Designing Jewish life:

“Why are all Jewish objects aimed at my grandmother’s taste? Isn’t it time to redefine “Judaica” in both form and content? Rafi is currently developing products to enrich the Jewish experience, both functionally and aesthetically.”

We can promise you these are but three of the stars we will hear a great deal about as the summer enfolds.

Here is a brief look at the entire sophomore class of this summer’s Creative Zionism Institute.


BTW, The PresenTense Institute for Creative Zionism is one of the flagship programs of The PresenTense Group, a recipient of the recently announced first cohort of new Fellowship awards from the Avi Chai Foundation.

about: PICZ is dedicated to transforming the way the Jewish people think, program and work. We’re inspired by the vision of Zionist thinkers across the ideological spectrum, such as Ahad Ha’am, AD Gordon and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who foresaw Israel as the laboratory for the renewal of the Jewish People and the reinvigoration of Hebrew culture.