Si3 Mission: June 2019
by Hila Katz
Communications and Research Associate, UJIA Israel office
As told by her, in her own words, during the trip.
Today, UJIA professionals, the investment committee and advisers joined together and visited projects that are supported by UJIA’s social impact investment initiative (Si3).
We started our day with a guided tour in the neighbourhoods of Bnei-Brak, the most crowded neighbourhood in Israel, the lowest on the sociology-economic level, as well as the happiest and healthiest in the country. Afterwards, we visited Ampersand’s headquarters, which is a shared working space for Haredi men and women who join the high-tech industry. Ampersand is led by the two amazing visionaries Moshe Friedman and Avremi Wingut.
The group finished the evening at Habash, a colourful restaurant established by an Ethiopian family with a vision to connect people through food. The dream that started when they arrived to Israel came to be thanks to the amazing work and funding provided by the partnership programme between UJIA and Koret, who give micro-loans to Ethiopian entrepreneurs. We thoroughly enjoyed the food – And of course didn’t pass up the opportunity to learn some Ethiopian dance moves!
Through Si3, we get the chance to support entrepreneurs that dream big. We get the chance to be a part of their journey as they show their passion and great ideas that have so much impact on others.
The philosopher and Rabbi Maimonides said it well in his eight levels of charity, where each is greater than the next:
“The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand so that he will not need to be dependent upon others . . .”
Our second day of exploring projects in Israel started with a walking tour in Haifa. There are many aspects to this city; from its historical significance as the first Jewish neighbourhood of the north to the many ethnic groups residing in it.
We were impressed by the young entrepreneurs living in Hadar, a neighbourhood trying to revive itself to its glory days. One of them is the owner of Goldmond Bookstore who shared with us how important it is for him to provide activities and gathering opportunities to keep young people in Hadar. Following that, we met with the founders of the Hadarim Fund, a new urban regeneration project with the aim of creating affordable, eco-friendly, long-term housing solutions. One of their supported projects is Robin-Food (get it?), who provide quality food with minimum waste, which is very refreshing to see in the food industry these days.
Also in Hadar, we visited Enosh Centre. Enosh is a leading non-profit that supports people with mental health difficulties as well as their families. UJIA is a proud supporter of Enosh who is breaking ground with innovative and friendly ways to help people, raise awareness on the subject and bring mental health issues into the mainstream.
It was truly amazing to meet all of the entrepreneurs and learn about the innovative ways in which they help people and make an impact – not only in their lives but in our other communities too.
For me, this trip was an opportunity to get inspired, to see how I can support people with ground-breaking ideas that help my people, your people, and eventually our world-wide community.
As Rabbanit Dena Weinberg once said; “There are no problems, only opportunities for growth”, and these opportunities are truly ones to invest in.