Darren Kleinberg and Jerry Hirsch are right on the money about start-up/establishment collaborations (“Collaboration Holds the Key,” August 24). Today, the Joint Distribution Committee and Moishe House are doing this on a global scale.
Firstly, we started from our shared vision for Jewish young adults around the world. Then a healthy dose of mutual respect and honesty eased the way: it was okay that we didn’t know each other at first. Being a new innovator wasn’t “cooler,” and being the big seasoned vet wasn’t “better.”
Second, we literally co-wrote our partnership agreement together, ensuring that common values and purpose came to the fore. This months-long process allowed us to get to know one another more deeply. For JDC, nearly 100 years old, and Moishe House, established just fours years ago, this was a very telling exercise and reflected our commitment to building strong, localized Jewish programming based on the needs of young Jews.
Third, we focused on how our individual strengths, operating models, and areas of overlap could yield maximum impact.
Sure, this kind of collaborative working model has its challenges and each side must recognize the organizational culture, speed limits, and decision making process of the other. But, in a Jewish world that is now beginning to understand the upturn in efficiency, innovation, and concrete impact resulting from these kinds of partnerships, its better to be on the right side of a turning tide.
Sarah Eisenman Director, JDC-Entwine/JDC Assistant Executive Vice President
David Cygielman Founder and CEO, Moishe House New York, N.Y.