Lay leaders and Federation and Unistream Professionals at the Tedz”l and Hedy Orden and Family Entrepreneur of the Year Competition in Tel Aviv
Israel may be known as the startup nation, but without the tools to succeed, underprivileged teens from the social and geographic periphery and their communities will always be more than a step behind. In order to drastically impact the lives of those who most need our help, our Federation has created a powerful partnership with Unistream, the organization dedicated to closing socioeconomic gaps through the entrepreneurial skill-building initiative that connects young people with mentors and real-world experience they need to turn their dreams into reality.
On July 19th, over 50 members of our community saw the results for themselves when they traveled to Tel Aviv to attend the Tedz”l and Hedy Orden and Family Entrepreneur of the Year Competition.
“From the moment we arrived, we could feel the impact of the Federation-Unistream partnership,” said Rochelle Cohen, Chair of the Unistream Committee. “We spoke with alumni who shared how this program changed their lives. We met with business mentors whose relationships with the young participants is so critical. It was clear to all of us that our partnership is a strategy for success — for these young people, their families, and their communities.”
“This strategic collaboration is a prime example of how our Federation identifies and addresses our Jewish community’s greatest challenges and opportunities,” said Becky Sobelman-Stern, Federation’s Chief Program Officer. “It was thrilling to see it in person.”
Attendees included Unistream Committee members Lynn Bider, Debby Barak, Jerry Coben, and Harold Masor, as well as community members Helen, Moshe, and Ariella Sassover, Shari Weiner, Janine Lowy, and Doni Feder. Also present were young professionals from Los Angeles who were in Tel Aviv as part of Onward Israel L.A., a skill-building immersive experience in which they live and work in Israel.
The L.A. delegation served as judges for the Social Impact Award and voted in real time. Following these presentation, attendees visited booths to see 60 different business ventures — managed by 1,500 teens from throughout Israel, representing the incredible diversity of the population and the big dreams of the participants.
The main event drew an audience that included Unistreamers, mentors, Unistream centers, their communities, and leaders from the business world and the Israeli government. Chair Rochelle Cohen spoke with passion about the importance of partnership to the energized crowd. And when leading supporters Helen and Moshe Sassover and their daughter Ariella were called to the stage, representing their family in Los Angeles, they were warmly acknowledged by over 2,500 enthusiastic attendees.
“Today, we are putting the periphery in the center of business,” said Rony Zarom, Founder and Chair of Unistream. As a youth, he faced the same difficulties as the young people whose lives are being changed through our partnership with Unistream. Today, he is an established businessman and philanthropist who founded the program to give young people the skills and support they needed to change the trajectory of their lives. After 16 years of success, Unistream is proving it has the power to change the very fabric of Israeli society.
“The only way is up,” Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, told the crowd. “And you are all on the way up!”
Federation’s partnership with Unistream was born out of our Caring for Jews in Need strategic initiative and developed into an all-encompassing partnership across platforms. “We always try to identify ways we can make a difference in the long term,” said Aaron Goldberg, Federation’s Senior Vice President in Israel. “Our partnership with Unistream has become an anchor for how Federation approaches self-sufficiency in Israel.”
If the excitement in that gathering dedicated to the success of young people is any indication, this newly empowered segment of the startup nation shows no signs of stopping.
For more information about our partnership with Unistream, contact Becky Sobelman-Stern, Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer, at (323) 761-8292 or BSobelman-Stern@JewishLA.org.