Updated Re: Yossi


yossidesert2.jpgYosef I. Abramowitz is a writer and seriel social entrepeneur in the Jewish and social justice realms whose long string of successful ventures means he is one of the luckiest people around.  A father of five, he lives in the Arava Desert along the path that the Israelites followed on the way to the Promised Land. 

He’s often the guy behind new Global Strategies for Systemic Renewal of Jewish Life, but you’d never know it since he’s not a snazzy dresser and he lives in a really tiny house without a stove or a bathtub, far from the major conferences and power centers.  He’s a terrible shmoozer but loves to think and talk about the role of the Jewish people in the 21st century, which is, by the way, to be An On-Going, Distinctive Catalyst for the Advacement and Evolution of Morality in Civilization.

When he’s not picking up his kids from school or tilling the land, Yossi finds meaning in his official work for the Jewish people:  He currently chairs the Koret International Jewish Book Awards, and as Founder of Jewish Family & Life!, he is responsible for content and education for BabagaNewz, JVibe, JBooks, SocialAction.com, Sh’ma and half a dozen other editorial products and services.  He’s hoping to find time to write a book really soon.

But he keeps getting distracted by visions of how to transform Jewish life, so here’s a picture of one of his big, white boards in his offices, which are located in the Arava Institute. Image086.jpg

These pages are supposed to also list accomplishments and roles, so here’s some stuff.  It’s far from comprehensive. But it is safe to say that he is one of the few people who can marry Big Picture vision with a strategic plan and the ability to actually implement successfully, if he’s excited by the mission and team. Hey, 25 years of leadership and raising over $30 million begins to add up to something. What’s next for Yossi is the most interesting, however. But that’s not for now. Below appears some of the past and the present, which will be updated and edited at a later date.

 He is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author, a frequent contributor to the Chronicle of Philanthropy and publisher of Sh’ma, the independent intellectual journal of the American Jewish community. In 2004 he received a Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education and he has a pile of journalism awards. He has recently been appointed Chair of the Koret International Jewish Book Awards.  Yossi was also recently appointed to President Moshe Katzav’s World Jewish Forum Peoplehood Committee.

Yossi is a recognized innovator in Jewish life and one of the most successful social entrepeneurs of the past decade. Over the past decade, Yossi has helped fulfill JFL’s vision—to kindle the Jewish values and life renaissance worldwide– by pioneering many cutting-edge educational programs including: MyJewishLearning.com (with Edgar M Bronfman and Hebrew College); Jskyway.com with Jon Woocher and JESNA; Jewish Web Week with Martin Kaminer; and BabagaNewz (with Mem Bernstein and The AVI CHAI Foundation , a values-based magazine, book club website and teacher’s guide for 1,400 participating middle schools.

Yossi has been a social activist since high school when he won a scholarship to college based on his activism work. He was active in the anti-apartheid and divestiture movement at Boston University, he led the Jewish community’s successfully campaign to reinstate $7 billion to the federal budget as corrections to the Welfare Reform Act.  He also serves as the president of UCSJ:  Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, has been co-nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, and keynoted Russia’s national human rights convention in 2004. Along with his two oldest daughters, Aliza and Hallel, Yossi co-founded WorldManna.org, whose mission is to support the UN’s efforts to cut world hunger in half by 2015. He helped to establish the Atid Echad political party in Israel, is a proud member of Kol Dor and the Wexner Alumni community.

He is lucky to be married to Rabbi Susan Silverman and to be blessed with five children.

Additional information others have gathered can be viewed by clicking here.


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