The Alliance and the initiatives it has created and/or funded reflect some of the best aspects of the centuries old tradition of “Tikkun Olam.” Loosely translated, the words mean “repairing the world.” Each generation is responsible for grappling with the world’s most pressing issues in an effort to enhance the overall global condition. As we repeatedly observe, there is no time to waste in addressing the world’s challenges.
Building upon the work done in 2011, the Alliance’s initial year of funding initiatives, the Alliance and its program partner Reut Institute have launched the two organizations’ program for 21st Century Tikkum Olam, a/k/a “21CTO”. The details of the implementation plan are still being developed, but the overall structure of the program is available in the Executive Summary. The program was developed following interviews with experts in a variety of fields, all of whom generously provided guidance and observations that resulted in the current effort. A roundtable discussion about the program with Jewish professional and lay leaders was written up in the May 30, 2012 issue of the New York Jewish Weekly.
21CTO seeks to harness Israeli expertise in critical areas such as neo-natal health and infant mortality, de-desertification and food and water security, and entrepreneurship and couple it with efforts by Israel and diaspora Jews to improve the lives of a significant number of the world’s disadvantaged within a decade.
A 21st Century Tikkun Olam themed mini-conference was held within the 2012 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America which met November 11 – November 13 in Baltimore, MD. More details are available in the mini-conference booklet and in an article about the miniconference that appeared in the “GA Daily”.
Sponsored by the Toronto Jewish Federation, as well as the Alliance and its Founder, Leonard Kaplan, many young adults attended as a result of a specific grant provided by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network in celebration of 25 years of igniting the passion and unleashing the power in young people to create change. The mini-conference explored some of the intellectual and cultural underpinnings of this initiative, and began the realization of its ambition to positively impact 250,000,000 of the world’s most underprivileged within a decade.
The program consisted of three discussions”— a Global Discussion, the Israel Discussion, and the American-Jewish discussion. Panelists for these sessions included:
- Sandy Cardin, president of the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network
- Bill Drayton, Founder & CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
- Gidi Grinstein, Founder & President of the Reut Institute
- Dr. Micah Goodman, Founder & CEO, Ein Pratt – The Academy for Leadership
- Ruth Messinger, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service
- Anne Heyman, Founder of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village for Rwandan Orphans
- Will Recant, Director of JDC International Development Program
A second program focused on whether the goal of tikkun olam is creating a meaningful volunteer experience, or maximizing impact on beneficiaries. Moderated by the Alliance’s own David Brand, panelists included:
- Martine Fleishmann, Chair of JAFI Project T.E.N. (Tikkun Empowerment Network)
- Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, CEO, Tevel B’Tzedek
- Dana Talmi, Repair the World
- Daphna Kaufman, Head of the Tikun Olam Task Force, Reut Institute
- Jesse Rabinowitz, University of Maryland, a student perspective
The third program of the mini-conference asked whether the Jewish world can leverage Israeli expertise in the developing world. Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, opened this session with introductory comments, and panelists included:
- Aliza Belman Inbal, Director of International Development and Senior Pears Fellow at The Hartog School of Government & Policy, Tel Aviv University
- Rabbi Yossi Ives, Founder of the TAG Institute for Jewish Social Values
- Shahar Zahavi, Founder & Executive Director of IsraAID
- Yosef Abramowitz, President and Co-Founder of Arava, Israel’s First Solar Field, named by CNN as one of six global “Green Pioneers”
- Roy Keidar, CEO, the Reut Institute
The mini-conference closed with a call to action by Avraham Infeld and Gidi Grinstein.
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