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South African confab brings together Jewish innovators

JTA

February 13, 2012 | 11:19 am

A conference in South Africa brought together young Jewish innovators from across the country.

More than 60 leading innovators from an array of business and social enterprises attended the first South African Young Jewish Innovators Gathering in Johannesburg on Feb. 11-12.

Guy Lieberman, who attended a young entrepreneurs gathering last year in Jerusalem known as the ROI Community, arranged the South African gathering in conjunction with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which had sponsored the ROI meeting.

Lieberman told JTA that the aim was “not to form a new organization but rather to act as “a revised set of synapses between individuals and institutions within the Jewish community.”

Lynn Schusterman, the foundation’s chair, said South Africa is a vital hub of the global Jewish community and “we are engaging with young people because they are writing the next chapter of South Africa’s Jewish life.”

“You not only have the challenges of the Jewish world,” she said. “You have the challenges of creating a better world and a better South Africa.”

Keynote speakers included Helen Lieberman, founder of Ikamva Labantu, a local grass-roots organization founded in the apartheid years. Ikamva Labantu has more than 1,000 sustainable development projects in the poorer areas of the country in education, child care and senior centers.

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