Young Indian Jews Train as Social Entrepreneurs at Szarvas

The Summer Olympics in London may be over, but Team India is just getting started.

Comprised of five young Jewish adults from India, the group affectionately dubbed Team India just came off a social entrepreneurship training stint at JDC’s Szarvas, Hungary camp. The hands-on workshops encouraged them to devise creative new ways to engage more of their peers in Jewish community life in Mumbai and its suburbs. JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow Heather Blonsky coordinated this first-of-its-kind effort at Szarvas, and joined the Indian contingent (three young men and two women) at the camp.

Here’s what you can expect to see transform India’s Jewish community in the months and years ahead—projects as diverse as the social entrepreneurs themselves:

Akiev S., a business owner with an advanced degree in engineering, plans to organize a technology conference in the coming year that will feature some of Israel’s best “hi-tech” companies. He wants to match Israelis with local Indian professionals, and make Israeli technology more accessible to a variety of local industries.

Dayan A., who is studying for a master’s degree in psychology, wants to conduct a needs assessment among young adults in the community so that Jewish programming can better reflect their needs, with a kick-off event to jumpstart the project.

Jennifer J., trained in management and marketing, hopes to create a new mentoring platform for young people. Her goal is to strengthen community bonds while providing an essential service for young adults—one that gives them access to seasoned advice and networking and learning opportunities.

Nissim P., a manager, community activist, and now a proud father, wants to fill a gap in community programming that has affected him personally by developing “Family Matters” sessions for young couples and parents. The sessions would cover topics like partnership, parenting, and Judaism in the home, while fun-filled Jewish activities would engage the children.

Judith H., a human resources manager, is aiming to reach out to Jews not currently active in the community by developing a Jewish Yellow Pages. The goal would be to connect Jews to Jewish service providers, thereby making community members more accessible to one another and encouraging mutual support.

Much work and fine-tuning lies ahead to turn these plans into reality—but we wish all of Team India the best of luck!

For more information on JDC programs in India, visit www.jdc.org/india.

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