A few weeks ago, we inaugurated the Jerusalem Community Mobile Innovation Lab – JLM Makers on Wheels – a collaborative project with the Machsheva Tova Association, which works to reduce social disparities in Israel and creates social mobility by making technology accessible to all. JLM Makers on Wheels will operate in various Jerusalem neighborhoods – both east and west – and will literally drive innovation to each neighborhood in order to strengthen the community through technology. Children and teens will be able to experiment with 3D printers, laser cutting, robotics and advanced computers. This mobile innovation lab was made possible through a gift from a very special supporter, Della Worms, in memory of her late husband Fred Simon Worms OBE. For many years, this amazing family has been supporting education, culture and social welfare projects in Jerusalem leaving indelible footprints at institutions including the Israel Museum, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, the Hebrew University and many more.
We are delighted that donors who have supported the Jerusalem Foundation from the very beginning are choosing to join us in ensuring the future by supporting such an innovative project symbolizing the renewed focus of the Foundation toward the next decade. The dedication ceremony for this special initiative was held in the Kiryat Menahem Community Center, where we have been partnering for many years with both the community council and the Machsheva Tova Association in strengthening the neighborhood. The permanent lab at the community center was the inspiration for the new mobile lab.
Ronnie Silfen is the Director of the Community Council in Kiryat Menahem – a true community leader. He has worked tirelessly to improve the Kiryat Menahem neighborhood, including partnering with the Jerusalem Foundation’s “Springboard” neighborhood improvement project over recent years. Ronnie is himself a resident of the neighborhood. On Tuesday, on his way home with his 6-year-old son Dan who is a first-grader at the Hirschel IASA School, they stopped by the innovation lab at the community center. On Tuesday afternoons the innovation lab is open for neighborhood residents of any age to experiment with activities under the supervision of teens from the neighborhood who have themselves studied in the lab and now share their knowledge with other residents. Ronnie only meant to check that everything was fine, to say goodbye for the day and to continue on home, but instead he and Dan ended up staying for hours … The three-dimensional software of the computers drew them in and then they experimented with the laser machines and 3D printers. They finally left with a new sign for Dan’s room and a new keychain for Ronnie.
JLM Makers on Wheels was almost the last program that began its operations in 2019 with our support. It represents the hope we felt throughout 2019 and helped us to look forward to a future of innovation and creativity which will be at the center of the Foundation’s activities in 2020. These values are the cornerstones of our long-term planning for the coming decade in the “Jerusalem 2030” master plan.
Teddy Kollek’s vision when he founded the Jerusalem Foundation 53 years ago, was to see Jerusalem as a multicultural city made up of different communities living side by side. This vision is more relevant now than ever. Looking to the future, the challenges facing us require that our projects resonate with the city’s needs. Accordingly, we will focus on three areas:
Communal Strength – The Jerusalem Foundation ensures that Jerusalem’s diverse residents can continue to build a modern, open and vibrant city together. With a special focus on the social and communal needs of the city’s most vulnerable populations, we effectively strengthen the social fabric and community support systems of Jerusalem.
Creative Culture – The Jerusalem Foundation leverages the city’s diversity and unique history to shape its future as a modern, thriving metropolis by providing platforms for its varied populations to find expression through creativity. Creative initiatives breathe new life into the city, enhancing its vibrancy and openness, and ensuring that it continues to be a source of inspiration around the world.
Future Leadership – The Jerusalem Foundation focuses on developing leadership and excellence in the city through its involvement in community activism and investment in the next generation. By promoting young civil leadership with a long term commitment to the city, and guaranteeing that all diverse communities have access to opportunities to excel, we safeguard the future.
In this spirit of innovation, renewal and creativity, I would like to wish all our friends and supporters in Israel and all over the world a happy and healthy New Year in 2020. May it be a fruitful year of accomplishment, a year that opens an inspiring new decade with the Jerusalem Foundation leading the city into a promising future.
Jerusalem Foundation President