(old) Re: Yossi
Yosef Israel Abramowitz is a writer and serial social entrepreneur 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 was recently elected to the 19th spot on the Israel Green Movement Knesset list.
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 bath-tub, 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.
He often can be reached at YosefA@aol.com or by cell in Israel 054-692-2008 (011-972-54-692-2008 if from U.S.).
When he’s not picking up his kids from school, preparing for the Torah study group on Ketura or tilling the land (his lawn), Yossi finds meaning in his work with the Arava Power Co. to help Israel be the first western economy transform from a carbon-based one to a solar one.
He had the privilege of chairing the 2006 Koret International Jewish Book Awards, and as Founder of Jewish Family & Life!, (with Sue Laden) he is responsible for content and education for BabagaNewz, JVibe, JBooks, SocialAction.com, Sh’ma and half a dozen other editorial products and services. Many consider him the founding co-father of global Jewish Social Action Month (with Aryeh Green) in Cheshvan and the internationalizer of Jewish Book Month in Kislev. He is about to sit down and write his book on Jewish peoplehood. He is privileged to serve on a number of boards and is not going to accept invitations to sit on additional non-foundation boards for awhile.
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, with the secret, strategic plan for the Jewish future.
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 since it’s a secret.
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. Yossi is a Young Judaean, having participated on Year Course in 1982-83 and received scholarships from Hadassah for camp and Year Course.
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, which they are working to bring to Israel. 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.