Jewish/Israel News: All the News That’s Fit to Tweet

October 21, 2009
Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

Source: Flickr, Just.Luc

The air is popping, molecules are dancing, you can practically feel the crackle in the air– alive with energy in the world of Jewish philanthropy and innovation. The New Jew is here to bring you the news that can’t be missed.


  • Israel President’s Conference— Today is the first day of the 2nd annual President’s Conference, founded by President Shimon Peres. This year’s theme is “Tomorrow’s Future.” To get live updates on Twitter, click on this link where I have collected all the relevant resources for you

(Flickr photo link via Just.Luc, Creative Commons)

In the Media


  • Free Press Index— Israel’s Free Press Rank plummets on Reporters Without Borders’ index due to tightened government control over the media during Operation Cast Lead (Gaza 2008/2009) and during the elections. Israel dropped 43 places to #93. (The US is #20, up from #40 last year)
  • Human Rights Watch: Anti-Israel— In this New York Times op-ed, Robert L. Bernstein, former chairman of HRW criticizes the group for repeatedly singling out Israel for human rights violations without holding other Middle Eastern countries to equivalent standards
  • Shalom, Al Jazeera— An Egyptian newspaper broke the story that Israeli billionaire Haim Saban was set to acquire the Arab world’s news station. The story is yet unconfirmed
  • Palestinian Jews? It’s not Pre-State Deja Vu— The Wall Street Journal’s James Woolsey asks if we have Israeli Arabs why can’t there by Palestinian Jews?
  • Our Israel? — A raging debate between The Forward’s Jay Michaelson and the Shalem Center’s Daniel Gordis centers on the question of how we perceive Israel as a Jewish state and as our state. Michaelson complains: “My love of Israel has turned into a series of equivocations,” in reference to his stance toward Israeli politics, peace, and Palestinians. Gordis counters, “But you know what I love about this place, Jay?  I love that all the political baggage is mine.” (Don’t forget to read the comments as well)

Jewish Connectivity


  • Assessing Birthright Israel— It’s been 10 years. Where does Taglit-Birthright Israel stand after a decade of hard work? Here are the statistics: Birthright has brought 200,000 young Jews to Israel so far– 10,000 will come this winter. Philanthropic  dollars: $80 million raised: 55% from individuals; 22% from Jewish communities and the Jewish Agency; 23% from the Israeli government

— Interested in Jewish Connectivity, Israeli Technology & the Environment, Israel’s Economy & the Jewish Community Landscape, Innovation & Education? Read on. —

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Three Ways to Improve Birthright’s Impact: Outreach, Trip Customization, Strategic Thinking

January 10, 2008


Birthright Israel– we’ve all heard the hype and some of us think Birthright lives up to it while others don’t. As Birthright’s unofficial poster child, I’m here to offer three suggestions for how Birthright could improve its stickiness by increasing its outreach and maximizing its impact on program participants.

“Stickiness” is a word we use a lot in blogging and that is only just beginning to be used in the real world. In blogging, our blogs are sticky if a user comes to a site and then returns or subscribes. In other words, something about the concept of the website is attractive to the viewer, making her want to learn more. I hope that we will soon come to think of our nonprofits, foundations, and programming the same way.

Birthright’s Stickiness

Let’s use Birthright as an example. The key to Birthright’s success should be stickiness. Get those kids to Israel and make them care. Caring will change their Jewish identities, Jewish communities, and eventually Jewish continuity. Right?

But so far we’ve only gotten as far as to get them here and cross our fingers that the rest will happen. We’re so happy that we’ve managed to do that, that the philanthropists who have made it happen and those of us it’s worked for are busy sitting around congratulating ourselves instead of thinking about what needs to be done to make Birthright better, to maximize its effect for full impact.

I challenge the Jewish community to do more.

Keep reading for three ways to improve Birthright and my suggestions for follow up programming.

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