Connecting via The iCenter: A Chicago-Based Organization's Innovative Ways and Means of Getting Young Jews to Put the 'i' in Israel

January 28, 2011
The CJN writes of the Chicago launch event for the iChallenge Ideas Incubator, focusing on activating creativity. At the end, participants were invited to submit proposals for grants for dynamic ideas in Jewish education, five of which will ultimately be chosen for grants of $30,000. The event was sponsored by the iCenter, a Chicago based non-profit educational organization aimed at developing and enhancing the field of Israel education. More than 100 Jewish educators, gathered into small groups, chattered and buzzed in search of the next big idea in Jewish education - or maybe just something that would get the kids they teach excited about Israel.
The participants came from Chicago and the suburbs and represented day schools, congregational schools, Jewish Community Centers, camps, synagogues, Jewish agencies, youth groups and more. Participants came from nearly 25 synagogues, plus day schools, camps and community organizations, and such specialty groups as Limmud Chicago, Mummies and Masterpieces (a program designed to bring more members of the community into museums), Pushing the Envelope Farm, a Jewish farm project, Shorashim and Kfar Jewish Arts Center.
iCenter's iChallenge Ideas Incubator says:
"We are looking for paradigm-shifting ideas, ideas that take chances, ideas that can be tested and then adapted. We are looking for the idea that you dream of - and hope that one day you’ll figure out how to make it a reality. We want to support you in taking big chances; in being creative and thinking of old problems in new ways."

The iCenter serves as a national address and advocate for high-quality and meaningful Israel education. The iCenter is dedicated to developing and enhancing the field of pre-collegiate Israel education in North America, in both formal and informal settings. By building upon existing strengths in the field, the iCenter supports the work of Israel educators; identifies compelling educational resources and initiatives; and fosters the creation of a cadre of lay and professional champions of Israel education.

Updated: Feb. 13, 2011