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PresenTenseLA Launches Into The Night

Last week, nearly 500 people came out to support Jewish innovation and creativity at The Jewish Federation’s PresenTenseLA Launch Night at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The energy was electric and the crowd was buzzing as this year’s 11 Fellows shared their projects and vision on how to make Los Angeles, the Jewish community and our world a stronger, more inclusive place.

Click here to check out images from the event.

Our Federation’s Chief Program Officer Andrew Cushnir spoke about how PresenTenseLA provides “disruptive” and “messy innovation that shakes things up and forces us all to see things in new ways and to hear new voices.”  He went on to say that the program supports “leaders that question the status quo and invent hacker approaches that take things apart and put them back together fresh.”

PresenTenseLA is our Federation’s social entrepreneurship fellowship, supported in part by a Cutting Edge Grant from The Jewish Community Foundation. It is an intensive eight-month program that provides business development and leadership skills, as well as mentorship and coaching, to individuals with new and innovative projects that align with our Federation’s three strategic initiatives: Caring for Jews in Need, Engaging with the Community; and Ensuring the Jewish Future. 

Launch Night was the culmination event of this year’s Fellowship program where each of the Fellows had only one minute to pitch their respective projects and get people to come to their booths in the expo hall to learn more, share contacts and provide advice. For example, Sara Gershfeld, the founder of Love My Provider, told the story of a seven-year-old boy with autism who hadn’t uttered his first word because his parents weren’t able to find the right specialist. Likewise, Adrianne Pasternak, director of education at Shomrei Torah Synagogue, described her innovative model of Jewish education in which students “LIVE Judaism, not just learn it” with Jewish Learning Community, a partnership between Shomrei Torah Synagogue, Adat Ari El and Temple Beth Am.

To learn about all the impressive projects by the 2014 Fellows, visit their websites or go to www.PresenTenseLA.org for more information.

2014 PresenTenseLA Fellows

Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or, JQ International Warmline
Rabbi Jonathan Bubis, Tefillah Transformed Initiative
Lee Chernotsky, ROSIES
Joshua Cohen, Rabbinic Family Network
Sara Gershfeld, Love My Provider
Aaron Henne, theatre dybbuk
Zalman Kravitz, Nonprofit Exchange
Adrianne Pasternak, Jewish Learning Community
Ilana Ross, Share Our Stories
Joseph Shamash, One Wish Project
Leah Weiner, The Emma Project 

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