By COLlive reporter
Photos: Yisrael Belizovski/COLlive
“Let the games begin,” announced the entertaining California Shliach Rabbi Abba Perlmutter at the onset of the “Shluchim Innovation” session at the International Kinus Hashluchim.
The business creative opportunity was modeled after the Shark Tank reality TV show, where a Lubavitcher scored a deal with a business titan earlier this year.
In the Kinus version, 5 Shluchim were given the opportunity to pitch their creative ideas and win $10,000 to invest in their program for the benefit of Chabad institutions the world over.
Seen as a nice break from the more serious workshops and discussions, Shluchim packed the upper level hall of Oholei Torah school this Sunday, ignoring the lousy speaker system and a commercial refrigerator near the stage.
The panelists were Rabbi Chaim Mentz of Bel Air, CA; Rabbi Shmuli Brown of Liverpool, England; Rabbi Meir Geisinsky of Cedarhurst, NY; Rabbi Mendel Gerlitzky of Tel Aviv, Israel; and Rabbi Moshe Bryski of Agoura Hills, CA.
“This was never done before in Chabad,” an excited Rabbi Perlmutter said about the total of 70 ideas that were submitted to the organizers. “There is so much fire power and not enough time to showcase innovative ideas.”
5 finalists were chosen to present their ideas. They were given 4 minutes for their pitch, until disco lights signaled the panelists to ask questions, and later endorse their favorite.
The final say was given to the crowd who were asked to vote via text message on their phones.
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm, a third generation shliach from Portland, Oregon.
Idea: Do for fundraising what JLI has done for adult education – an institution for Chabad scalable fundraising solutions.
Panelist responses: Great idea but who will spearhead it?
Rabbi Dovid Weinbaum, grew up in the home of London’s Tzivos Hashem directors and current director of Living Legacy and teen programs in Montreal, Canada.
Idea: BDC – Bar Mitzvah Discovery Course, a tailor-made program to better teach 12 and 13 year old children with lessons, games, stories, welcome cards, email template.
Responses: Very doable, no geographic limitation, closest to implementation, somewhat duplicate to other programs.
Rabbi Michoel Goldin, youth and teen director of Lubavitch of Bergen County, NJ.
Idea: Creative program for youngsters connecting ‘mad science’ activities with Torah lessons and educational messages.
Responses: Cute idea, not everyone would be suitable to run such a program.
Rabbi Shua Eliezrie, Director of Chabad of Tustin, CA.
Idea: Chabad Planned Giving Initiative, coordinated marketing to community members to include Chabad in their wills.
Responses: Practical but how will this help face to face conversations.
Rabbi Avremi Schapiro, director of the Milwaukee Community Hebrew School in Wisconsin.
Idea: Mitzvah Corps, encouraging teens to do chessed and social justice.
Responses: Great idea, but far from implementation.
The winner, who garnered 59 votes from Shluchim present, was Weinbaum’s Bar Mitzvah idea.