Gidi Grinstein to open Celebrate Israel Series

Gidi Grinstein.

Gidi Grinstein.

Thursday, Feb. 26, 7 pm, Simon Family JCC

“In working with Gidi Grinstein and his team at the Reut Institute these past few years, we have delved into many topics. I believe Gidi is on the cutting edge of modern Jewish and Zionist thinking,” says David Brand.

Grinstein, the founder and president of the Reut Institute, Israel’s leading not-for-profit strategy and action group specializing in societal innovation including national security, economic development and technology—will lead off the Simon Family JCC’s Celebrate Israel Series, presented by Charles Barker Automotive. The program is also a JCC Beyond the Book Festival event, and is presented with support from the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Grinstein will speak both about his book Flexigidity, as well as his involvement in the 21st Century Tikkun Olam project, a global engagement strategy for the State of Israel and the Jewish People spearheaded by the Reut Institute.

Avraham Infeld, who has headed Hillel International and several other foundations and serves as a mentor for Reut, calls Flexigidity a “must read for contemporary Jewish lay and professional leaders, and for all those who seek to understand Judaism, the Jewish People and the State of Israel. It cuts across denominational lines and stands to benefit readers of all walks of life and all levels of learning and observance.”

“I cannot imagine a lay leader or professional faculty member, student or parent who will not benefit from Flexigidity,” says Brand, president and CEO of the Alliance for Global Good.

Grinstein has been a leader with several organizations, including the ISRAEL 15 Vision, which calls for Israel to become one of the 15 leading nations in terms of quality of life, and with 21st Century Tikkun Olam, which calls for the State of Israel and the Jewish world to “improve the lives of a quarter of a billion of the world’s poorest people within a decade” in areas from infant mortality to food and water safety and security utilizing Israeli expertise.

Grinstein’s impressive career began as a graduate of the Tel-Aviv University schools of law and economics and of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Israel Fellow. He established the team that turned the vision of Taglit Birthright Israel into a plan in the 1990’s. He served as secretary of the Israeli delegation for the Camp David negotiations in 2000, working from the Bureau of the Prime Minister of Israel. A leading voice on essential electoral and government reform, he established the Reut Institute in Israel in 2004.

“Ever read a book that opens your mind, soul, imagination and vision?” asked David Brand in a review posted on Amazon last year. “Flexigidity takes you through a compelling and necessary journey that combines the totality of Jewish peoplehood with the challenges of preserving that which has held together the essence of our survival and development. This is not a history book as much as it is a road map for future generations of the Jewish people… a survival guide for Israeli and Diaspora Jews.”

Brand, who utilized Grinstein and the Reut Institute Organization’s expertise in helping to launch the 21st Century Tikkun Olam project, says that Grinstein is a must see speaker. “If you are going to one event this winter, this should be it. Once in every few decades, you come across an individual who brings as many questions as he does answers, that we have to confront as Jews.”

The Simon Family JCC is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Leslie Shroyer