From January 13 to 20, 2019, Susan Bauer, executive director of the Yeshiva University Career Center, escorted twenty undergraduate students over their winter break to visit some of Israel’s most dynamic companies and meet with leading Israeli entrepreneurs.
The trip was developed in collaboration with Yeshiva University in Israel and designed to give the students the chance to hear about careers and opportunities in Israel as well as get a firsthand look into the economic ecosystem of the “Start-Up Nation.”
“One of the foundations of Yeshiva University’s strategic vision moving forward is to continue to build the YU-Israel Superhighway,” said Stephanie Strauss, executive director of YU in Israel. “By bringing students to see these companies and absorb their entrepreneurial energy, we make it easier for our students to envision their own futures in Israel and help them build connections and knowledge to make this future possible.”
Students visited more than 15 tech companies working in such industries as medicine, agritech, biotech, cybersecurity, finance and artificial intelligence; they even had the chance to visit Facebook and Google. Many of the men and women they met are YU alumni, including executives at companies such as OurCrowd, Vayyar, Innovation: Africa, Wix, Hometalk and Freightos.
“Being part of the YU network has been a key factor in my career,” said Ovi Jacob ’05SB, director of business development at Vayyar.
“Having the opportunity to engage with today’s students and showcase the work that we are doing here was especially rewarding because we want to see ourselves as mentors to the next generation of leaders just as we had mentors to help us achieve our success.”
In addition to visiting an array of companies, the group heard shiurim (lectures) from several of the YU roshei yeshiva (school leaders), who delivered lectures on the synergies between Torah wisdom and contemporary business ethics. Dr. Yehudit Abrams, a former NASA researcher who is now CEO and Founder of MonitHer, makers of an at-home hand-held monitor for early detection of breast cancer, delivered an inspiring address to the group as well. The students visited the Zomet Institute, an Israeli high-tech nonprofit organization specializing in IT equipment and electronic appliances designed to meet the requirement of halakha.
“Being here with the students on my first trip to Israel has enabled me to learn so much about the beliefs and values that bring them here,” said Bauer, “especially the humanitarian ideas and products that will make our world a better place for so many people. I believe this trip has increased the likelihood of both current and future students pursuing opportunities in Israel.”
This month, in collaboration with Yissum, Yeshiva University is opening the YU Innovation Lab, a NYC- based hub for Israeli startups, YU students and faculty that will provide access to the NYC startup ecosystem for Israeli startups. The Lab will serve as a launching pad for Israeli entrepreneurs in NYC, providing them with business infrastructure, access to talented students, and access to YU’s network of expert mentors. The Lab will host professional workshops and events, fostering economic development and building local community partnerships with the wider NYC tech ecosystem. The synergy between YU students, faculty, Israeli startups and the greater YU network, together with access to NYC business resources and local stakeholders, will create a launching pad for the startups to jump-start in the US.