On May 22nd, community members joined together to celebrate the official launch of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ major partnership with Unistream in Israel.
“Together with Unistream, our Federation is empowering thousands of Israeli youth from underprivileged areas in Israel and equipping them with the tools for success. I am extremely proud to chair a committee dedicated to achieving such goals that will forever impact the lives of these students their families, their schools and their communities,” said Rochelle Cohen, Chair of the Unistream committee at the Federation. She continued, “This new strategic collaboration, which we are excited to launch at today’s event, is a prime example of how our Federation identities and addresses our Jewish community’s greatest challenges and opportunities. We focus on Los Angeles and we serve as a Jewish leader doing essential work in Israel and throughout the world.”
The evening began with a video that mapped the journey of a Unistream student, describing the way the organization’s three-year immersive and experiential program acts as a springboard for teenagers’ confidence, skills, and overall success, and how the Federation is dedicated to enhancing and multiplying that success.
Event attendees then had the unique opportunity to participate in that process: they watched and voted on various aspects of three actual Unistream presentations recorded by groups from Netanya, Akko, and Tzfat. Each group presented their unique startup ideas, which included a specialized portable toilet seat cover, an affordable allergen-testing device, and a drone-controlled emergency kit.
Participants of the event watched these videos and then voted online in different categories such as innovation, presentation, and feasibility.
Jay Sanderson, Federation President & CEO, then sat down for a conversation with Unistream founder Rony Zarom, Unistream CEO Batsheva Moshe, and Federation’s Senior Vice President of the Israel Office Aaron Goldberg.
Rony Zarom, an established businessman and philanthropist in Israel, described his own personal journey to success after growing up in Ramle, a city in Israel’s socioeconomic periphery. He detailed the difficulties that many Unistream students face that prevent them from dreaming big and his desire to create an initiative to give back to the community from which he came. He said he hopes that Unistream will not only fuel students’ lifelong success, but will also instill them with the confidence to come back and help their own communities.
Batsheva Moshe also described the path that took her to Unistream’s leadership — after moving to Akko seven years ago and seeing first-hand the level of poverty there, she discovered Unistream in her search for meaningful nonprofit work and climbed the ranks to eventually become its CEO. “I fell in love with the combination between the social world and the business world (that Unistream promotes),” she said. “Our program is based upon those two sides of the equation — every group establishes both a business startup and a long-term social project for their communities.”
Aaron Goldberg expanded on the development behind this exciting partnership, describing how it was born out of the Federation’s Caring for Jews in Need (CJIN) strategic initiative, and developed into an all-encompassing partnership across platforms. “We always try to identify the real challenges facing Israel and where our involvement can really make a difference in the long term,” he said. “(The CJIN committee) recognized that Unistream is an organization that’s doing it differently. That it thinks about how we can develop people’s dreams, self-esteem, values, and energy, and develop a vision for their own futures.”
As a result, he said, Unistream has become an anchor for the way the Federation approaches self-sufficiency in Israel, and he detailed some of the specific ways the Federation is doing so.
The evening concluded with the results from the vote taken earlier during the event: Akko and their project SafeAllergy! This group of teens will soon meet with the Federation delegation to Israel this July.
Thank you to everyone for making this event a night to remember. This partnership is the first step on a continuous journey toward sustained and inspired change in Israel.
Stay tuned for stories about Unistream! To learn more about the Federation’s partnership with Unistream, please contact Alana Weiner at AWeiner@JewishLA.org.