General Assembly, Jerusalem, November 2013

Getting ready in Israel

By Merav Barr Grindlinger, Marketing Associate of the Federation’s

Israel-based staff The Federation’s Israel office is gearing up for what promises to be an event-filled month, as we prepare to host members of the Federation’s leadership here in Israel during the General Assembly, to be held on November 10-12. Every five years, the Jewish Federations of North America highlight their commitment to Israel – and the issues affecting world Jewry – by convening their annual General Assembly in the Jewish homeland.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse our Bay Area-based colleagues and allies in the wonderful work we are doing here with our grantees. Several pre- and post- GA events are planned, designed to strengthen an already tight bond, and we will spend considerable time meeting with and visiting grantees and projects of interest locally.

The visit to Israel comes on the heels of our hugely successful Day of Philanthropy, held in San Francisco on October 29, which was attended by the Federation’s Director of the Israel and Global Network, Barak Loozon. Barak contributed to the roundtable discussions with Donor Advised Fund holders, specifically inviting funders to explore the many exciting opportunities to be found in Israel.


Barak also touched on the changing face of Israeli philanthropy, one of the many topics to be further explored at the upcoming GA. An issue currently in flux, Israeli-driven philanthropy is finally starting to take hold in a young country whose beginnings were wholly funded by the global Jewish community. Offi Zisser, Director of Advisory Services at the Jewish Funders Network in Israel, just returned from a presentation she gave at the Federation in San Francisco in the framework of the our new lecture series, the Jewish Peoplehood Project, where she illuminated the landscape of giving here in Israel.

“Today Israeli philanthropy is gaining momentum as more Israelis are achieving sustainable wealth, maturing from Israel’s historical socialist mindset and benefitting from emerging philanthropy-supporting infrastructures,” said Zisser.


Another GA topic to watch for is Federation Innovation. Our own Siggy Rubinson, Program Officer of Israel and Global in San Francisco, will be presenting on our Israel Impact Grants Initiative (IGIs) at a breakout GA session entitled FEDovation: How Federations Are Pioneering Change, Community by Community. With venture philanthropy at its core, the IGI approach to grantmaking is now being implemented in both Israel and San Francisco – with a new Israel cohort launching soon – and could change the way Jewish Federations fund organizations and work toward positive social change.

Siggy will be speaking about how this new process of grantmaking is not only effective for building organizational capacity and reach, but also deeply engages donors who may not have been previously involved in the Jewish community. Sharing these types of successes with other Federations is what the GA is all about.


Finally, on November 18 our CEO, Jennifer Gorovitz, will speak at the Israel Venture Network’s annual conference on the topic of social ventures and the importance of this growing new sector for Israel and globally. Joining a group of international leaders in social business development, Jennifer’s talk is sure to be prescient and captivating.


Stay tuned for frequent posts covering the Federation’s visit here in Israel over the next two weeks.



November 05, 2013