I was interviewed today about tenpartners on Israel Army Radio (Galei Tzahal). Here’s the audio of the interview:

Click to listen —-> Interview – Galei Tzahal

Wow. Hard to believe it was just last month that I was on stage at the GA in Denver as one of two winners of the Jewish Futures Competition. Since then, things at tenpartners have really started to take off. We’ve attracted some great Advisory Board members, even some donations… but the greatest validation of all is that people are signing up to start local tenpartnerships. It hit me today that here we are on the seventh day of Chanuka, and we already have seven tepartnerships forming: Allentown, PA; Atlanta, GA; Harrisburg, PA; Houston, TX; New York, NY; Jerusalem, Israel and a virtual one for Internet-based programs. Truly a miracle of Chanuka.

Want to start our eighth tenpartnership in your community, just in time for the eighth day of Chanuka? You can sign up here. Like the Chanuka story – one little flame can make a big difference.

tenpartners keeps making news! This week we are the lead story on Israel Nonprofit News. Israel Nonprofit News, published by Pamela Deutsch, covers the Israel Nonprofit scene and profiles innovative nonprofit leaders and ventures.

The article is here and the new tenpartners page on INN is here.

OK people time to have some creative fun. Can you describe Judaism or your Jewishness in ten words?

We’ve seen campaigns to compose “Six-Word Memoirs” and Six Word Stories. I even just saw a project by Smith Magazine and Reboot to invite six-word submissions for a book they want to publish on “Six Word on the Jewish Life”.

But at tenpartners we think in increments of ten. Also ten seems to be a more “Jewish” number. We’ve got the Commandments, of course. The Plagues. And when we want to count people to see if we have a minyan (another ten), some people recite a ten-word verse while counting heads (so as not to cast an “evil eye”). We like to count in tens.

So put some thought into your ten-word phrase that describes Judaism or Jewish peopleness. Tweet it out using the hash #TenJewishWords and this link, or just post them below and we’ll tweet them (in your name of course). Serious or humorous, your choice. Here are our initial submissions:

Short men, Commandments Ten, Never Again, If Not Now When

Bagels and lox, not many jocks, mostly textiles and stocks

As they say in Chicago, submit early and of-Ten!

What an absolute thrill to win the Jewish Futures Competition and be given the opportunity to present tenpartners to some of the best minds in the Jewish Communal Service business.

A huge thank you to everyone who participated for your great feedback, and in particular, to the Jewish Education Project and JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute, and the Jewish Federations of North America for recognizing the power and potential of the ideas behind tenpartners.

Now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon! Click at the top of the page to find out more information about starting a new tenpartnership or joining one in formation. And make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, pronto. Hop on board the Jewish Future.

We are a people of parables. Here’s a nice one about social entrepreneurialism I saw this week in an article by Darryl Egnal in eJewish Philanthropy titled Innovative Ideas That Change the World:

“What happens when you put three different items – a carrot, an egg and a coffee bean – in three different pots of water, and then bring each pot to the boil? The results – a carrot gets soft and an egg gets hard, but a coffee bean changes the appearance, taste and smell of the water. In this context, a Social Entrepreneur is the coffee bean. He or she changes the entire system and causes a major shift in society.”

Well I’ve been called worse but I’ll venture to say I’m a coffee bean. And if each social entrepreneur is a coffee bean, then tenpartners is a freakin’ Starbucks. We’re changing the way young Jewish people look at lay leadership and communal involvement. And while tenpartners is creating a paradigm shift or alternative way to do local Jewish communal activism, we’ve made access very easy and barriers to entry very low.

So if you are feeling more like a coffee bean than a carrot or an egg, start or join your local tenpartnership today.

We had a great time at the final event of the 2011 PresenTense Global Fellowship – what PresenTense calls “Launch Night” but it’s really a “Pitch Night” where each of us (the 16 2011 Global Fellows) “pitched” our venture in a 15-second crash-pitch in an effort to induce them to come to our tables for further discussion. For a video of all of the flash-pitches click here.

PresenTense does a great job of attracting an interesting and diverse crowd to its Launch Nights, and puts on a really professional event. I was hoarse by the end and there were plenty of interesting people that stopped by to find out more about tenpartners. There will definitely be plenty of follow-up with these newfound “Friends of tenpartners.”

For more Launch Night “press coverage” see eJewish Philanthropy’s first article in a series covering our 2011 Fellowship (and note the dashingly handsome social entrepreneur in picture #3).

I was really proud of my fellow Fellows – everyone did a great job with their pitches and table set-ups. What a great conclusion to a great Fellowship…. Or is it just the beginning……?

No joke- this launching thing is hard work.

As you may know, this summer tenpartners has been part of the PresenTense 2011 Global Summer Institute. Yours truly has been workgrouping, groupspeaking, workshopping, and clustering at the PresenTense Hub in Jerusalem with 15 other leading Jewish social entrepreneurs from around the globe. We’ve heard from amazing guest speakers, done (most of) our homework, and best of all, helped each other refine and polish our ideas for making the Jewish world a better place.

Now it’s time to take the tarp off and release our creations to the world. Join us on Thursday July 28 at 7:00pm at the Rabin Youth Hostel for “Launch Night”. Use this link to register – it’s free! Hope to see you there.


“We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.” – Robert Wilensky

Well, that may be true (does that mean this blog is contributing to the monkey-chatter?) but it’s also true that there is a ton of fascinating Jewish content on the Internet. Here’s an idea for a tenpartners program – find a suitable space and host a temporary “Jewish Internet Café.” You’ll need a location with Wi-Fi access (or if it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, look into temporary wireless data options), such as the JCC, a school or synagogue, or perhaps even rent out a real café If that’s possible. Bring someone knowledgeable about interesting Jewish sites to lead the group, and invite participants to bring their (wireless-enabled) laptops to take the virtual tour. Food and drink will make the event even more entertaining.

(Remember to make sure there’s enough capacity on the wireless access point(s) to handle many people surfing at the same time.)

Cost and revenue example: $200 equipment rental + $400 refreshments = $600 => 40 attendees x $15 participation fee per person

Credit: Alan Wiener

tenpartners has launched its beta version, and if you’re reading this, you probably have a few questions about what tenpartners is all about, how it works, whether you should get involved, and what’s in it for us. The www.tenpartners.org website has much of the information you’re looking for but I’ll use this first post to explain a bit more about what we do and why you might want to join the party.

We came up with tenpartners based on a few obesrevations: We think there are too many Jewish people who are not affiliated or don’t feel like contributing members of their Jewish communities. Jewish communities are growing increasingly fragmented as members of similar affiliations cluster around each other. Jewish communal service is very institutionalized, and while these institutions provide all sorts of important local services, the “average” person doesn’t have a lot of say in what these programs provide or accomplish. Many people, particularly young people, aren’t involved in community service because the only way to have “say” is either to give gazillions of dollars or spend gazillions of hours at endless board or committee meetings, which we don’t have. Communal service is often donor-sponsored and rarely has a business model or recurring revenue stream, so when donations drop, programs suffer. And finally, there are all sorts of Jewish values and programs that appeal and apply to everyone, regardless of their affiliation. If you agree with these points, read on.

Tenpartners is a grass-roots, nonprofit effort created by businesspeople and lay leaders who care about Jewish values and continuity, to address all of the issues I described above with a unique, simple, and engaging innovation. TEN partnerships are nondenominational, local nonprofit partnerships, made up of ten people from a local Jewish community, preferably of various affiliations or not even affiliated at all, who organize and run programs for their local Jewish communities that promote positive Jewish values and experiences. These ten partners fund the local TEN partnership with relatively small, equal, one-time “investments.” These funds are used to run the programs selected by the partners. And the programs are designed not to bleed cash, but instead to actually recoup their costs; not so that anyone profits, because the partnership is not-for-profit, but simply to make sure that the TEN partnership can keep running programs without having to raise more money. One of our premises is that communal service and enrichment doesn’t have to be charity; there are plenty of valuable, fun, entertaining, and enriching programs that people in the community would pay to participate in. It can be much more than just lectures, bus trips to Jewish points of interest, and pre-Passover car washes, though those are some easy examples – there is limitless room for creativity.

And being a tenpartner doesn’t require the type of investment of time you’d expect from a Jewish communal service venture. We’ve solved that by building our own, streamlined collaboration website where partners evaluate, discuss, vote on and take operational responsibility for potential programs – no meetings required, ever. Of course, we’d love for tenpartners to get together every once in a while, but you don’t have to. An individual tenpartner could spend an entire year just checking email and clicking or voting on potential programs on the collaboration site, and maybe taking responsibility to manage one or two of those programs he or she really likes or feels connected to. We believe you can be a lay leader and have dinner with your kids too.

What’s in it for us? As of now, nothing more than seeing what we think is a good idea through to fruition, and doing what we can to promote positive Jewish experiences, new Jewish lay leadership, and cross-denominational interaction and experiences. TEN Partners International, which runs tenpartners, is a grass-roots non-profit with no full-time staff at this time. Most importantly, the funding put up by the local partners stays in that TEN partnership’s local bank account, to be used and re-used for local programs; it’s not handed over to us.

Whoosh – I don’t expect future posts to be this long. Thanks for hanging in all the way to the end! Take a look around the tenpartners site, watch the videos, and think about the issues we’re raising and whether they appeal to you. We’re looking for diverse, special, creative people to set up and join local TEN partnerships all over the world. Apply to start or join a TEN partnership today, and if you have any questions, drop us a line. To paraphrase Hillel, If not now, ten other people might beat you to it.

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