Jonathan Berneman is a Coordinator for the Macabi Jewish group in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also the founder of ZooM, the Macabi youth group that offers year-round activities that are compelling and attractive to the institution's young people. Jonathan’s idea to host an event for all of the youth from Jewish institutions in Buenos Aires, with the idea that they could brainstorm and catalyze communal projects, was chosen to receive a #MakeItHappen micro grant! #MakeItHappen asked young Jews from around the world to submit ideas for what they would do to create a meaningful experience in their Jewish communities. With the support of several community partners, more than 150 ideas were selected to receive a $1k or $5k micro grant to help them go from dream to reality!
Describe your #MakeItHappen project idea and how it came to life. The goal of the project was to gather young Jews from all the different Jewish institutions in Buenos Aires. The idea came about through ZooM, a Jewish youth group that I have been involved with that organizes events and different activities for other young Jews in our community.
What was your favorite moment from your #MakeItHappen event? Definitely when we came to the outdoor area in which people were having beer and pizza and you could see Jews from 18 years old to 30, all talking to each other and having fun...not to mention all of the awesome bands.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in putting your idea into action and how did you overcome this? Money was the big issue because the venue rental and the costs of the food and beverages were too high for us to be able to host this event. Thanks to the #MakeItHappen micro grant we were able to cover part of the costs and pull it off.
If you could plan a follow up event, what would it look like and why? We wanted to hold another event at the beginning of this year to show that we are kicking off 2014 with more awesome activities. It would be in an outdoor space, also with pizza, games and would gather several music bands and some stand up comedy acts.
What does your future hold? My idea is to be able to grow to be a director of a informal education institution, I have a passion for informal education. As a personal project, I could see being some sort of coordinator between different institutions in the Argentinian Jewish community in order to strengthen the bonds between them.
If you could have invited anyone from history to your event, who would it have been and why? Arik Einstein. In Argentina we never really get to hear modern Israeli music, instead we just have access to Israeli children's music or older music. Would be great to have Arik perform some of his songs.
If you could invent a new Jewish holiday, what would it celebrate and when would it occur? JewsAllAround. It would celebrate that even though we are spread all over the world, we still have our Judaism connecting us. It would occur around March and the idea would be for Jewish people to gather and party and it would be mandatory to connect through Skype to other Jewish parties in other parts of the world. Read more about Jonathan's project here!
The Schusterman Philanthropic Network is proud to empower emerging leaders to explore their values, identity and new ways to strengthen their communities. We believe that as we work together to repair the world, it is important to share our diverse experiences and perspectives along the way. We encourage the expression of personal thoughts and reflections here on the Schusterman blog. Each post reflects solely the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation, its partner organizations or all program participants.