Creating a Global Jewish Community of Doers

We’ve all read articles or heard speakers about how the divide between American Jews and their Israeli counterparts has never been wider – but what’s anyone DOING about it? 248 CAN (Community Action Network), a Partnership2Gether program of the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation (and a few other North American Jewish Federations), in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, seeks to answer that question.

248 CAN was envisioned as a way to help Israelis, Jewish Americans, and Jewish Doers all over the world see past their differences and identify ways to showcase the collective power of a global Jewish network. 248CAN seeks to teach skills to Jewish Leaders in communities worldwide, as well as a context in which to work toward developing programming addressing specific topics or issues for Jews and their communities. The goal of 248CAN is simple to name, but difficult to define: “248 is a Glocal Network of Jewish Doers. We’re about building (Jewish/Israeli) community locally, and about using a network to encourage the replication and adaptation of innovative ideas and practices globally. We are targeting Israeli and overseas Jewish Doers who have an interest in building community, in Jewish issues, and in the power of the Jewish collective.” Through this marriage of local communities and a global network, 248CAN will create a glocal community of Jewish Doers.

Whether it is online seminars that teach out-of-the-box thinking techniques (like those presented by SIT) or philosophical discussions about what it means to be a Jew, 248CAN offers its participants opportunities to expand their minds with the goal of spurring discourse and introspection – all leading to a series of initiatives that can be rolled out in different communities around the world.

Minneapolis volunteered to participate as a pilot city for the 248CAN program, now about halfway through its first cohort. The Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, through its Partnership2Gether platform with its sister city in Israel, Rehovot, stepped up to the plate to give the program a whirl. Libby Parker, Greg Arenson, and Josh Awend are the local folks here in the Twin Cities who make up the Minneapolis cohort. They’ve spent the last seven months developing skills, having deep discussions, and brainstorming what their initiatives could look like.

The next phase of the program is for all 248CAN Doers around the world to meet in Israel for a Hackathon through Jan. 21, where they will share their ideas with one another and develop them even further. Upon returning home the third phase begins: Implementing their ideas. Finally, in May of this year, the entire global group will convene once again, this time in Minneapolis, to showcase the results of their implementation. Join us for the 248CAN Global Summit on May 7. Watch this space for location and time in the coming months.

Charley Smith works for both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Jewish Federations as the Young Adult Engagement Manager.