An incubator for Jewish innovators
The “buzz” word today in the Jewish community is “innovation.” A new generation of young, social entrepreneurs is creating cutting edge organizations which are engaging the Jewish people in ways not seen before. This reality has been highlighted by a recent study about Jewish innovators by Jumpstart, the Natan Fund and the Samuel Bronfman Foundation. The study was looking at the impact of those who attended a Jewish educational, leadership or service-oriented program, either in Israel or in North America, and how that experience served as a catalyst for them to be inspired to be “innovators.”
A few examples of innovators who got their start at Livnot:
- Matt Bar – Bible Raps
- Yoni Stadlin – Eden Village Camp
- Eileen Levinson – Haggadot.com
- Eric Rosenthal – Disability Rights International & 2013 Bronfman Prize Recipient
Year-long programs such as Hebrew University and Pardes topped the list at 12% each, and Livnot (12th on the list) accounted for 3% of all the Jewish innovators who attended a program included in the study, ahead of programs such as the Wexner Heritage Seminar and Mandel Fellowships.
That Livnot alumni were included among the innovators is noteworthy for several reasons:
- Quantitatively, Livnot alumni represent a miniscule number of participants compared to the other larger organizations that were part of the study.
- Most of the Jewish innovators in the study had attended multiple Jewish programs, both in North America and Israel, had attended Jewish day schools and Jewish camps, and had previous affiliations with mainstream Jewish organizations such as Hillel.
- In contrast, Livnot was the only program in the study whose participants came from little to no Jewish background, and in most cases, were disconnected from their peers or the greater Jewish community.
The study highlights the fact that young adults participating in a Livnot program are so impacted by their experience that they are applying their creative talents to the Jewish world, when beforehand, being Jewish was not a high priority. We credit this phenomenon to the intenseness of the Livnot program – to deliver an eye-opening and soul-searching experience in what it means, to each participant, to be Jewish and be part of a Jewish community.