TEDxTalpiot: Israel's Brains

A quiet revolution is going on in Israel, fueled by the country’s leading thinkers and doers, who encourage and mentor the next generation.

Chana Ya'ar , | updated: 17:19

Yoni Litt, founder of TEDx
Yoni Litt, founder of TEDx
Israel news photo: TEDxTalpiot

There is a quiet revolution going on in Israel, fueled by some of the country’s leading thinkers and doers, who are encouraging and mentoring the next generation.

To further the development of Ideas Worth Spreading, the TEDxTalpiot group brought together some of the world’s leading minds Thursday at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus.

The TEDxTalpiot was organized independently under license from TED. London-born MA candidate Yoni Litt was the event's independent organizer.

Co-sponsors of the event include ROI Community for Young Jewish Innovators, Hillel Center for Jewish Life at Hebrew University, Tzeirim BaMerkaz and Leadel.net.

TEDx – the “x” stands for the independent status – creates local, self-organized events that bring people together to share the “TED-like experience." TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Launched 25 years ago in California as a four-day conference, the annual event now invites the leading global thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes each and then makes their talks available free at TED.com .

Past TED speakers have included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, physicist Stephen Hawking, anthropologist Jane Goodall, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and others.This week’s conference “aims, among other things, to provide a unique platform for local voices, who present the frontiers of doing, research and creativity,” explains Litt.

The name “Talpiot” was added for two reasons – not only for its location in a neighborhood of that name in Jerusalem, but also because it is one of the 70 names of the holy city, traditionally explained as “the hill to which all mouths turn” (in Hebrew, tel means 'hill,' piyot means 'mouths').

 TEDx events include TEDTalks video and live speakers, which combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group atmosphere, Litt explained, adding that TEDxTalpiot is the first-ever TEDx featuring TEDTalks in Hebrew.

Israeli innovators and thinkers streamed to Jerusalem for the conference from as far away as Kibbutz Eilot in the south to Nazareth in the north.

English-language presenters included Oren Harman, chairman of Bar Ilan University’s Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society, the director of Alyn Hospital, Maurit Be’eri, M.D., Avshalom Elitzur of Iyar, the Israeli Institute for Advanced Research, and Zvia Agur, founder and president of the Institute for Medical Biomathematics. Among the Hebrew lecturers was inventor Etty Katz, founder of the Ananim Learning Institute and Israeli experimental filmmaker Yosef Joseph Dadoune.

According to Litt, the goal of the group is “to spark discussion of what really is important and meaningful to us.”