Miami Entrepreneurs Blog Day 3

September 26th, 2016

Miami Entrepreneurs Blog Day 3

Editor’s Note: Brian Siegel, Director of of AJC’s Miami and Broward County Regional Office, is in Israel with Project Interchange’s delegation of influential Miami entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech start-up community is in Israel with AJC Project Interchange, to learn from the country’s thriving tech and innovation sector while sharing best practices and making connections.

We awoke to a beautiful and cool day in Jerusalem (a nice change from humid Miami). We started with a tour of the Western Wall tunnels, and members of the delegation remarked at how they were amazed by the complex history of Jerusalem.

Honoring the past is an essential feature of Israeli life and identity. Visiting Yad Vashem (Israel’s national Holocaust museum and memorial) and learning more about the darkest chapter in Jewish history was a challenging yet meaningful experience for our group. After touring the large historical section of Yad Vashem, the PI delegates walked out onto a large, quiet outdoor deck with a landscape view of Jerusalem — a symbolic view that captures the importance of Israel as a safe haven for Jews in their cultural homeland after two millennia without a state.

A highlight of our day was a visit to United Hatzalah — Israel’s revolutionary community-based emergency response system — providing trained volunteers as the first-responders to medical emergencies and terrorist attacks. United Hatzalah uniquely involves volunteers from all religions and backgrounds in its emergency response services designed to respond within 3 minutes anywhere in Israel.

Our guide, Daniel, explained the philosophy and background of the organization in a heart-warming session about the value of saving lives and gave some amazing stories about his own background and involvement. He explained the infrastructure, history of growth, and future plans of the organization. He also demonstrated how the use of technology (an online application they created, use of drones, etc.) are being used to save lives. In doing so, he allowed our group to see one powerful example of how Israeli innovation is being used to save lives in emergency situations.

We finished the day with an extraordinary Shabbat dinner at the home of Joseph Abraamowitz, co-founder of the Arava Power Company and his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman, a writer, activist and speaker. Among the other dinner guests were a beautiful family of 5 and Bishop Rucyahana John, President of the National Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda. After a delicious Shabbat dinner and a stimulating conversation, one participant commented “Jerusalem is now my spiritual home.”

All in all, an exceptional day and a beautiful way to start Shabbat!

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Project Interchange.