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      TAMID: Connecting Students With Israel's Business World

      A new initiative connects Jewish students with Israel through long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the Israeli business world.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
      First Publish: 11/23/2009, 11:52 PM / Last Update: 11/24/2009, 12:31 AM

      (tamidgroup.org)

      A new and innovative initiative to connect Jewish university students in America with the State of Israel focuses on building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the Israeli business world.

      Student co-founders Eitan Ingall and Sasha Gribov developed the TAMID Israel Investment Group in an effort to increase commitment to Israel among college-age Jewish Americans by offering them "hands-on investment experience and meaningful professional opportunities". Both leaders of Jewish student organizations at the University of Michigan at the time, Gribov and Ingall felt that the existing options for connecting with Israel were failing to address the concerns of many of their peers. Beyond social, political and religious organizations, they believe that young American Jews could be motivated to explore Israel's dynamic and innovative business world.

      The organization Ingall and Gribov founded is currently the sole "vehicle for aligning the personal and professional aspirations of these business-minded students with the collective interests of Israel and the Jewish people," as the TAMID website explains. The program aims at nurturing "a highly interactive network of young American Jewish business leaders who have a sustained and substantive connection with the State of Israel."

      In its second year, TAMID has successfully recruited 65 business-oriented students for its three-phased program of education, portfolio management and Israel internships. The educational-seminars phase is geared towards students in their freshman and sophomore years, during which they meet Israeli and American business managers, traders, venture capitalists and start-up executives, as well as business school professors. In phase 2, the students will manage a small investment fund, giving them hands-on experiences with the Israeli markets. The students research and analyze investment opportunities, consult with Israeli investment houses and prepare quarterly portfolio reports.

      The TAMID program's third stage is a three-month internship in Israel with entities in the banking, private equity, venture capital, high-tech and consulting sectors. In addition to strengthening their ties with Israel, the internships are designed to provide students with "substantial and prestigious experience for future professional opportunities," according to TAMID.

      TAMID's Class Aleph is now embarking on the second phase of the program, fund management, while Class Bet has already started its educational seminars.

      Nathan Gilson, a freshman at the university and a representative for TAMID, informed Israel National News that TAMID's ultimate goal is to "engage college students around the country with Israel in this innovative, comprehensive manner and have a national campus presence similar in scale to Birthright." According to Gilson, the group is currently "aggressively raising funds for our endowment and fellowship program. And we are courting partnerships with Israeli businesses that can benefit from our interns this summer. We have funding for at least four interns." 

      Two TAMID seminar sessions this month at Michigan exemplified the organization's philosophy. Participating students heard from Rick Zitelman, president and founder of The Zitelman Group, a private equity firm with early-stage investments in emerging Israeli companies. He spoke about early-stage life sciences and technology investment in Israel, as well as business ethics in traditional Jewish sources.

      A second speaker brought to the university by TAMID was American businessman Joel Tauber, Chairman of Tauber Enterprises LLC, as well as Kewell Corporation, Carolina Precision Plastics and C Enterprises, along with a founder of a joint venture involving Kibbutz Yakum and an investor in Israeli venture capital funds. In addition to a discussion of his primary field of business, Tauber and the TAMID students addressed the issue of leadership in the Jewish community today.