College Students Gain from Israel’s Start-up Economy
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College Students Gain from Israel’s Start-up Economy

TAMID gives students the chance to gain real-world experience, said Allison Berman, Emory law student.

Sarah Moosazadeh is a staff writer for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

TAMID exposes students to Israeli entrepreneurs and leaders, including former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Perez.
TAMID exposes students to Israeli entrepreneurs and leaders, including former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Perez.

Real-world experiences are some of the skills third-year Emory University law student Allison Berman is using today from her undergraduate involvement with TAMID Group: experimental learning through business in Israel.

Berman, who still sits on the TAMID advisory board, is trying to bring 40 Emory law students to Israel in March 2019 to expose them to political, business and community leaders in the Jewish state.

While an undergrad at the University of Michigan, Berman served as TAMID’s executive director of programming and wrote the organization’s original programming handbook during its first national expansion to 15 campuses. That experience led Berman to start a career in Silicon Valley, but she later decided to use the skills she learned from TAMID to pursue an advanced degree at Emory.

From left: Idan Goldbroom, Nathan Gilson, Jonathan Hornstein, Allison Berman and Kevin Zussman.

“TAMID exposed me to a world that I didn’t even know existed. It allowed me to work with a nonprofit, with foundations, with entrepreneurs through technology, and exposed me to viewpoints and different experiences from what I came to the organization with. I am aware of so much more than I was at the beginning of this experience,” Berman said.

“TAMID helped me become more confident in my abilities, both personally and professionally, and helped me learn my working, leadership and management style. It also helped me realize where my strengths and weaknesses are and how to say ‘no.’”

What began as a way to attract UM undergraduates to Israel-focused programs, then-seniors Sasha Gribov and Eitan Ingall launched TAMID in 2008 to help students connect to the international economy through Israeli start-ups. Today the student-run program is spread across 46 college campuses and serves more than 2,000 students.

“TAMID gives people the opportunity to engage in something that is usually so politicized, it is toxic to bring up in conversation or to say you are involved with Israel. But this is building nontraditional engagement; this is building nontraditional allies and gives people the opportunity to see a different side of the story,” Berman said.

The program is divided into three parts: education, by teaching new business skills; experience, through work with consulting projects and Israeli startups; and immersion, which includes an eight-week fellowship in Israel that exposes students to CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders from Israel’s startup economy.

“The fact that it is taught through the lens of Israel is because it is such a good story to tell. The reality on the ground in Israel is that development, entrepreneurship and critical thinking is part of the daily life, and it makes for a phenomenal means to learn about all these very important business skills,” Berman said.

In a statement, Animation Cowboy owner Avi Graiver said, “working with the TAMID teams is an amazing experience. We work on market research for my studio and on other projects for my clients. Their research is full of insights and helped me to deeply understand my position in the market and opportunities to advance my business. TAMID leaders are very responsive, motivational and fun to work with.”

Before attending UM, Berman participated in Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s mission to Israel and took part in an ADL program that examined hate and anti-Semitism. That exposure sparked her interest to become more involved in Israel, she said. But it was not until her freshman year that Berman learned about TAMID from a flyer posted in her dormitory.

These days Berman says she is not very involved with on-campus programing at UM, but is in the process of developing TAMID’s Pro community, which includes the organization’s alumni network. Today the organization has an office in Washington, D.C. with four full-time staff members and 53 chapters, and it has sent over 220 students to Israel.

“TAMID gives students the chance to gain real-world skills in a nontraditional way,” Berman said. “The organization gives you the opportunity to learn these skills in a structured environment. It gives you international context in an increasingly globalized world and gives you hands-on experience you usually don’t get when you’re just in school.”

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