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Next Big Jewish Idea

March 8, 2011 | by staff

What are your ideas to help develop the Jewish community?

The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles is "looking for the next big leap forward for the Jewish community." They have developed a contest called "Next Big Jewish Idea" that will award $100,000 in funding and in-kind services to the best idea. We'd like to hear your ideas using the comment section below, and welcome readers to submit their proposals to

To help grease your wheels here's the idea reader Gil Melin, a neuro-radiologist for Renaissance Imaging Medical Associates who received his training at Yale University, submitted. It's called YES (Yelid Education Savings).

The Big Idea: The cost of Jewish Day School education has become prohibitive for many Jewish families. Traditional philanthropy has helped to establish and subsidize Jewish education. However, this is on a large scale. The individual Jewish family lacks the ability to connect with these industrial contributors. Currently most people have few alternative sources of revenue. The result is their child does not attend a Jewish Day School or even worse they attend a Private or Parochial school. Long-term studies by PEJE have shown that these children have the highest assimilation rates.

The advent of social networking has opened up an entirely new avenue for community support and charity. We are just beginning to see the dawn of a new era where there are many new and exciting methods of procuring funds. YES: Yelid Education Savings wants to take full advantage of the power of networked social groups.

YES will utilize various novel techniques in order to maximize benefits. These include: microfinance to establish peer-to-peer low (or zero) interest loans, crowd-funding to direct pooled funds for specific causes, barter programs allowing parents to exchange skills for credits, "adoption" programs directed to individuals that want to take pleasure in the nachas of a specific child's educational achievements and to fulfill tithing responsibilities.

In effect, an incredibly cohesive community will be established. If done properly, the network will actually spur its own development. The members will become the contributors of both content and funding. The goal is to become self-sustaining and ensure continuous growth and future viability. This approach also allows for incredible administrative cost-savings helping to direct more of the funds to the individual. There is no middleman with direct funding resulting in minimal dilution of funds. There is complete transparency of where their funds are going. Utilizing existing social networks can create an alternative method for Jewish Day School funding.

Click here to vote for Gil's idea. And share your ideas in the comment section below.

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