1. How did you get involved in leadership and organization strategy? 
I fell in love with jewish outreach and inclusion as a grad student at brandeis.  i was the only student in my class without a strong background and felt lost and very alone in almost every setting. i reached out to a classmate a year ahead of me who was observant and asked her for help. she welcomed me with enormous hospitality, knowledge and open arms and by doing so, changed my life forever.  our deep connection has lasted to this day.  i believed that there were many thousands of people like me who wanted access to our rich and beautiful tradition but had no way of finding it and made inclusion outreach a life passion. In my first professional role in the Jewish sector, I was a Hillel pro on campus and saw early on that outreach really only works when it is paired with leaders who empower others. And that  leadership only works when it is paired with strategy that is directed but flexible; creative but in touch with its audiences; and fueled by passion and tenacity but not over-aggresiveness.  i then fell in love with leadership and strategy as tools for inclusion and have never fallen out of it. 

2. What has been your most enriching experience during your years of Jewish communal work? 
Building strong, eclectic and outstanding teams to accomplish huge visions.  My 3 favorites are directing the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps for 10 years,  leading the team that developed the birthright israel trip for global hillel in 1999/2000 and founding the professional leaders project in 2004.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon? 
Building a community of educators who have the power to shape a far better, more innovative, contributory and educated jewish world than we have now - but they will need each other to do it.
Rhoda Weisman, a recognized expert in leadership and organizational strategy, coached and trained thousands of professional and volunteer leaders. She has been at the forefront of Jewish innovation for 24 years. As Hillel's Chief Creative Officer, she implemented 15 initiatives including Birthright Israel for students and recent grads,. Selected as the ED of PLP conceived in 2004, Rhoda was an early advocate of multigenerational mentoring and Gen Y leadership succession. Rhoda currently consults with non-profits across the USA.
Find out more about Rhoda's work at: http://www.linkedin.com/rhoda-weisman
Follow her on Twitter: @rhodaweisman

1. How did you get involved in experiential Jewish education?
Growing up in Israel, I was involved from a very young age - but never really assumed that it would turn into a career. It was only when two of my chanichim were killed in a terror attack in the height of the second Intifada, that I knew that my responsibility towards the rest of my chanichim, who had just lost two of their best friends, extended far beyond a Shabbat or camp activity. I began designing what we called "informal therapy" - using informal education techniques as a means of therapy. Within a year I, along with a group of incredibly passionate and dedicated peers, was working with hundreds of teens from all around Israel. I recognized that the impact of what I was doing did not stem from being a trained therapist. It stemmed the relationships that I learned to form as an experiential Jewish educator.

2. What do you hope to accomplish as the Director of Service Learning and Experiential Education for Yeshiva Universities Center for the Jewish future?
I hope to see many more Jews of all ages and of all backgrounds immersing themselves in issues of social justice and Gmilut Chasadim. 
I hope that the spirit of volunteerism grows and that it becomes more and more authentic - that we learn to see ourselves as agents of change Lishma - and not in a self serving manner. 
I hope that Jews who are involved in acts of kindness recognize that they have a responsibility to learn with great rigor the context for the work that they are doing; and that Jews who are immersed in learning recognize that their learning must translate into acts of kindness.
I hope that the spirit of volunteerism is given the time and place to be reflected upon and internalized - so that it becomes an integral part of Jewish Identity.
Finally - in regards to Experiential Jewish Education - I hope that all of the passionate educators out there, who are doing incredible work in youth movements, camps, campuses and classrooms, recognize that Experiential Jewish Education is not just a passion - it is a profession. I hope that they take advantage of training programs that can help them professionalize their passion - such as the YU Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
There are many ways to develop the field of Experiential Jewish Education. One of these ways is by creating conferences that celebrate the uniqueness of the field and create a strong network of professionals. I'm excited that YouthCon is doing exactly that: I look forward to celebrating Experiential Jewish Education with hundreds of like minded professionals.

Shuki is the director of Service Learning and Experiential Education, and previously served as the CJF’s Israel liaison. In his roles at YU he founded the
Certificate Program in Experiential Jewish Education, the Innovators Circle and Counterpoint Israel. He has overseen the explosive growth of YU Service Learning Missions benefitting communities world-wide.
Previously, Shuki worked at the Koby Mandell Foundation were he founded and directed innovative and experiential therapy programs for Israel teens affected by terror.

Visit the website for the Yeshiva University program for Experiential Education: http://www.ejewisheducation.com

Follow Shuki on Twitter:

1. What attracted you to begin working with Tribe?
To be honest, I had never planned on it! Whilst I was in my final year of study for my bachelor’s degree, I was youth director in Muswell Hill United synagogue and became involved in Tribe through that. Towards the end of the year they invited me to join their central team and I’ve been there ever since.
That said, I am so glad I decided to give it a go. The United synagogue (in the UK this is the main orthodox body)has values that I really identify with – we’re authentic, inclusive and modern. We provide a vibrant Jewish infrastructure for our membership of just under 100,000 Jews of the 270,000 in the UK.

2. How does Jewish life differ in the USA versus the UK?
Here in the UK the Jewish community is significantly smaller. As such, the community is more close-knit and tends to be situated in small pockets. The demographics are largely the same as in the USA and in recent years our rates of intermarriage are beginning to match those over the pond. This means there’s a lot of work for us to do.
One great advantage we have is that because most Jews are members of United Synagogue, even if they are not practicing, non-orthodox conversions tend to be less common and it’s much easier for us to substantiate peoples’ Jewish identities.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I’m keen to meet like-minded professionals from the United States and further afield to share ideas and best practice.  I am sure I will learn a tremendous amount and am looking forward.

A born & bred Londoner, Avi studied for two years at Yeshivat HaHesder Yerucham before reading History of Art in University College London. Having sat for a year as a Nivchar Hanhallah for Bnei Akiva, Avi served as Tribe youth worker in Muswell Hill and thereby began his career to date with Tribe. Avi is the Tribe / US Living & Learning Programmes Manager, providing educational content for young people of all ages and across our 64 shuls.
Avi also lectures in Jewish philosophy and runs training for Jewish educators across London.

Check out his website: http://www.tribeuk.com

Follow him on Twitter: @avifriedmann

1. How did you get involved in social action?
My generation  produced the spokespersons and activists  who responded to the needs  of  many diverse populations and  never consciously "got involved" but rather did what had to be done because the need was there. We were not of that genre that thought about "getting involved." Learning about the "silence" that "screamed" in the post Holocaust years, we understood that it was up to us to be the spokespersons, activists and assertive citizens that would never remain silent while there were people in need of support.  I have found new ways to enable our students  to mobilize and address the issues confronting them.  "Standing idly by" is not an option, no matter the crises and Never Again is no longer a reference to the Shoah only. While 21st century tools are different and make "getting involved" much  easier  the courage and motivation to act  has become harder and I am steadfast in my dedication to pursue the goals implied by "getting Involved."

2. How have social action initiatives for youth changed since you began your work?
Our students are passionate young people and when motivated will respond.  They have, however, become far more insulated which seems odd in that electronic  communication has enabled us to cross time zones and continents easily.  Virtual communication has enhanced our students social networking skills but  has also somewhat dulled their senses. It is interesting, though , when we see how the recent revolutions in the Middle East were a result of the same electronic tools that seem to be thwarting our students'  hearing  the "call to action."

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
At YouthCon, I am eager to hear from the professionals who are spearheading new organizations that are succeeding to use virtual communication tools to attract  rather than distract.

DeeDee is responsible for developing multidisciplinary, theme-based educational programs that encourage dialogue and activism. She has planned and led student missions to destinations that offer challenging opportunities for interaction with diverse populations. DeeDee has also structured and implemented service programs for our students at hospitals, NY soup kitchens and at agencies that service children and adults with special needs. She has designed interactive music workshops with culturally diverse teenagers to promote tolerance.

Visit her website: http://www.ramaz.org/school_upper/index.cfm

1. How did you get involved in Jewish education?
My first real experience in Jewish education was through working in sleepaway camps.  I started as a Music Director and then worked my way up to being a Program Director and eventually a partner in Camp IBA.  While working summers in camp, I was pursuing my doctorate during the school year which required me to teach on the undergraduate level as well.  A few years later I came to Yeshiva University where I was given the opportunity to combine both sets of experiences.  I was hired to teach Jewish History to undergraduates and to help on the administrative end with their Boys High School. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was Associate Head of School at MTA and then Head of School at the Margolin Hebrew Academy.

2.You completed a doctorate in Harvard focusing on the works of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, why did you choose that focus and how has it influenced your career?
  I've been fascinated with the Neziv since the first time I encountered Ha'amek Davar in yeshiva many years ago.  Perhaps what I find most intriguing is the combination of his bold, creative, and non-conformist commentarial approach with his position at the helm of the world's largest and most prestigious institution of Torah learning of his time, the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Volozhin.  There is no question that his rare blend of passion, intellectual rigor, creativity, and leadership - as well as his confidence to break new ground and explore new horizons - have played a central role in shaping both my career and my educational philosophy.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I think that as parents and formal educators we don't spend nearly enough time thinking about the educational experiences our children have outside the four walls of our classrooms.  As the traditional classrooms of our youth quickly become obsolete, however, the importance of real-world, experiential, and service learning is only becoming greater.  Therefore, I'm excited to spend some time talking to the people on the front lines of this important work and gleaning wisdom from their experiences that I can bring back to my students and my community.  

Rabbi Perl has served as the Head of School of the Margolin Hebrew Academy, a PreK-12 Day School in Memphis, TN, for the past four years. Before moving to Memphis, Rabbi Perl was the Associate Head of School at Yeshiva University High School for Boys as well as an instructor of Jewish History at Yeshiva College. Rabbi Perl has a bachelors degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters Degree and PhD from Harvard, and semicha from RIETS. He lectures and writes widely on Jewish education as well as Modern Jewish History.

Visit his school's website: http://www.mhafyos.org
Follow him on Twitter: @gperl

1. How did you get involved in Israel education?
I got involved in Israel Education two years ago to address the strong anti-Israel bias that i was seeing in my job as a high school teacher. The ultimate catalyst for me was seeing that the strongest voices attacking Israel were coming from uninformed Jewish teachers and students. I felt that the way Israel was being portrayed was a real injustice for both Israel and Judaism. The vast majority of the time there was a hyper anti-Israel focus in the media that was unjustly one sided. I believe as a teacher that this approach robs students of their ability to make an informed free willed decision on the issues.

2. How has the digital age effected Israel education?
For one it has affected how I teach. There is so much multimedia available and the world has become a much different place with the explosion of social media and communication technology. Events can be recorded with a phone, posted on YouTube and sent to millions around the globe in minutes. So education has in many respects become more 'live' rather than history. This means as a teacher you have to be much more in touch with daily events because things can happen in the blink of an eye. Students can come into class to ask me about something that happened just minutes before.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I was raised in a secular Jewish home and wasn't really connected to Israel and Judaism even though I went to a Jewish day school up to Grade 8. I didn't really make an informed decision when I distanced myself from Judaism. What I look forward to at YouthCon is to have an opportunity to share with others why I think Israel, as complicated as it is, is a place Jews can take pride in.


Richard Bass, a high school teacher with 30 years experience in education and training has designed an Israel Education curriculum to combat the global anti-Israel campaign in the media, education, politics and beyond. The modular curriculum, created by a teacher for teachers is designed for use in formal accredited high school and college courses and informal settings such as Jewish Student Unions (JSUs), camps and synagogues. A former U.S. college football coach and professional golfer, Richard and his wife Ellie have two children.

1. How is planning a career in Jewish experiential education different than planning a career in formal Jewish education?
Not incredibly different actually. A common misconception is that Jewish educators who work in environments where experiential approaches to learning are most prevalent don't need as much training. (i.e. The misguided question of “why do you need graduate training to be a camp counselor or youth director?”) This misconception is dangerous as it wrongly infers that a career path in Jewish experiential education isn't real or legitimate.
    On the contrary, Jewish experiential educators need a rich understanding of pedagogy and Jewish content knowledge similar to all other Jewish educators. In addition, experiential educators must gain firm grasp, be able to apply and reflect on how people learn experientially. Experiential educators also often rise to leadership roles (for example, Camp, JCC or Hillel director, trip leader, service-learning coordinator) and as a result require advanced training in leadership, management and administration. Thus, in a planning a career, experiential educators also need field experience and mentorship to help them reflect and learn from their experiences. To be a summer camp, Hillel and youth group staff are great laboratories for emerging educators to experiment and grow professionally.
    A mix of academic study and relevant field-work is essential for all Jewish educators. Ultimately, individuals must identify and follow their passions, expand and nurture their network of contacts and seek professional development opportunities that fit their needed areas of growth in order to successfully plan and advance their career. We will discuss these points further during our roundtable at Youthcon!   

 2. You have worked as a human resources (HR)  professional, how did that help you prepare for your current involvement in experiential education?
    Great question! My job at the Davidson school is to design and implement experiential learning programs for graduate level students and in service professionals. This requires a lot of administration including recruitment of staff, mentors and of course students, creating and reviewing contracts, setting and implementing budgets, presentations and correspondence with colleagues and partner organizations, working with lay leadership and facilitating professional development workshops, just to name a few.
    Many of these tasks would also aptly describe my HR professional roles both within and outside the Jewish organizational world. HR professionals, like experiential educators, must pay close attention to detail, know how to work well with a diverse set of constituents, be able to multitask and prepare for the unexpected, employ a customer service attitude, and be able to set priorities while not losing sight of your institution’s overall mission, whether it be servicing your staff or educating Jewish youth and adults!    
    Last but certainly not least, I know what it is like to be on the other side of the desk reviewing a candidate's resume and at a job interview. Knowing what to look for has helped me educate both experiential learners and educators in the skills they need to be successful in the workforce and the techniques that will help find their ideal professional role.

 3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
    I love meeting new people, learning new things, sharing experiences and being challenged by peers and leaders. I hope and frankly expect all to be a major component of Youthcon. It is so important that the Jewish community as a whole work together to further professionalize the field of Jewish experiential education. These educators and leaders are among the most important individuals to our shared future. They create, transform and inspire all Jewish learners, and this should not only be celebrated, but supported through networking and shared learning. I applaud Youthcon for organizing this conference to do just that!

Mark has worked as a human resources (HR) professional, Jewish programmer and experiential educator for nearly a decade. Prior to JTS, Mark served as asst. dir. of HR for Episcopal Social Services and HR and volunteer programs manager for NYC's 92nd Street Y. Mark also served several years as song leader, Judaic director, and staff-in-training director at the JCC Camp Wise Overnight Camp in Cleveland, Ohio, . Mark has a BSc from McGill U. in Montreal and an MPA in Nonprofit Management and MA in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from NYU.

Follow him on Twitter: @msy226nyc

Visit his website: http://www.jtsa.edu/davidson

1. Why did you decide to start your organization, Causil?
After spending several years in the Jewish nonprofit space and then in the tech sector I recognized a natural synergy between the two.  Travelling across the country representing the global technology company I worked for, I attended conference after conference where I heard from amazing speakers, developed relationships with great companies and fostered my own personal and career growth.  The glaring thing missing from these events were nonprofits - especially Jewish nonprofits.  With that in mind I set out to create the Future of Jewish Nonprofit Summit Series (#FOJNP), inviting the best speakers, topics and technologies from those other events to our niche-only environment.  Now on our fifth global event, I hope to see many hopeful, creative and motivated people in New York on the morning of August 24, just after YouthCon - http://ny.fojnp.com

Causil is the company I formed to produce these and other events as well as consult on logistical and web strategy based needs for our clients.  

2. Your organization convenes the Future of Jewish Nonprofit Summit.  What was the most common issue Jewish Nonprofits were grappling with at the summit?
While every organization is different, we so often see our attendees grappling with the realm of the web. How do you know what platform to invest your time and money in? Is social media overrated? What is the return on investment of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Can I raise money here?

Social media and the web as a whole has changed the way everyone operates. The transparency and immediacy the web affords to user means everyone is accountable in one way or another. With so many choices how can a certain nonprofit differentiate and remain relevant to its donors, members, those it helps and its staff?   We try to show off great examples of organizations, brands and people doing just that. Whether it is operating above and beyond in this "Thank You Economy" or tweeting openly from the office of the executive director - there are many ways to experiment and succeed today.

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
Catching up with old friends and sharing in thought provoking discussion with the foot soldiers on the ground.  The important work being done by YouthCon attendees cannot be minimized.  I only hope that by sharing some of my successes and failures as well as tips and tricks from the Causil playbook we can all.

A serial social entrepreneur, Dave is CEO of Causil which helps organizations engage in the best practices of communications, marketing and technology.

Causil produces the Future of Jewish Nonprofit Summits (#FOJNP) bringing together the best speakers, ideas and companies in order to inspire movement, facilitate change and spark creativity. The New York Jewish Week responded: “be sure Dave is on your radar.”

Often tapped for his opinion, Dave is listed among the “Top Influential Personalities Online” by the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

Dave is looking forward to meeting you in person.  Follow him online to start the conversation now:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/daveweinberg
Google +: gplus.to/daveweinberg

Visit Causil: http://causil.com

1. How did you get involved in youth social action?
While recently serving as the Community Service Chair for the Orthodox group at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, I realized how much I enjoy leading social action campaigns and inspiring others to get involved. I fell in love with DoSomething.org, the organization that I currently work for, when I discovered their website and strongly identified with their mission of empowering youth to take action.

2. How has teen engagement in social action changed in the digital age?
Digital media has presented many new opportunities for connecting with youth and leading them towards activism, and DoSomething.org is all about using these tools to power offline action. In addition to the our website, Facebook and Twitter, we recently started using text messaging as a means of communicating with our members and letting them know about upcoming campaigns. With teens receiving an average of over 3,300 text messages each month, it is crucial to take advantage of the tools that youth are already engaged with and consider how we can become a part of these social outlets instead of competing with them!

3. What are you most looking forward to at YouthCon?
I am really excited about hearing from others who use social media about their experiences, challenges, and particularly what methods they have found to be most effective.

Shoshana Bar-David works in the Youth Outreach Department at DoSomething.org, an organization that activates youth across the nation to engage in social action. She works closely with the Do Something Clubs program, encouraging teens to take action in their communities and providing them with the resources to do so. Shoshana attended SAR High School and studied for a year at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem. She is currently a Senior at Barnard College and an active member of the Columbia campus Hillel.

Find out more at DoSomething.org