TAMID AT Yeshiva University
By: Ezra Kapetansky
I keep asking myself the same questions. Why did I choose to spend my time drafting an email to Tiana or Joseph, or any one of the nationwide TAMIDniks with a question or proposal instead of studying for my exam coming up the next day? On a weekend, why would I choose to get on a conference call with my chapter board members to discuss micro-issues (like improving chapter programming) or macro-issues (like ensuring the continuity of our TAMID chapter) instead of going downtown with my friends to have fun?
It doesn’t make sense! TAMID didn’t pay us to start a chapter. It didn’t require us to go above and beyond national TAMID expectations. Yet, for some reason TAMID managed to creep into my life and consume my thoughts. I’m not joking. At one point or another, TAMID was all I could think about. Words like “ta-meeting”, “ta-mazing”, and “ta-mingle” found their way into my vernacular. Where did this phenomenon come from?
Let’s back up a little. I first heard about TAMID in 2013 from my resident adviser in the dorms. When he mentioned “Israel” and “business,” I immediately wanted in. His name was Ilan Regenbaum and he had been building up the Israel Business Club for the past couple years and was then graduating and didn’t have the time left to make a TAMID chapter. (Interestingly, Ilan is now living in Israel working at Elevator Fund—a TAMID Fellowship host company.) His efforts laid the framework for Ariel Mintz, Rebecca Saragossi, and I to create TAMID at Yeshiva University in 2014.
There are hundreds of other clubs on campus at Yeshiva University. To me, though, a club wasn’t about occasionally attending an interesting speaker event. It was about being a part of a common mission and feeling a sense of camaraderie and community. A community that would continue with me beyond college. The TAMID structure as a national, student-led organization offered me an opportunity to combine my passion for business and Israel with a network of students who felt the same way.
TAMID at YU has accomplished a lot for being a rookie chapter. Our fund members won 1st place in the Fund Competition in 2015, our consultants have worked diligently on 10 consulting projects to date, and we sent 3 members on the 2015 Fellowship. Our current President Saadia Tuchman and TAMID veteran Rebecca Saragossi compiled a comprehensive handbook for our chapter’s protocols, guidelines, and expectations. Our longstanding veteran and Director of Education Daniel Goldsmith developed and implemented an entrepreneurial-focused program for the education semester. Educational seminars were presented by industry professionals and then TAMID members (within smaller groups) applied what they learned to building their own startups. At the end of the semester, 8 startups pitched their companies to two venture capitalists. Goldsmith took the approach of ‘how can you consult a startup if you don’t know what it’s like building one yourself?’ His approach paid off and the feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of this new program.
A unique feature of TAMID is adapting to the rapid leadership turnover while maintaining the quality and passion. Considering college is only about four years, there are always students coming and going. We realized early on that teaching a chapter is just as important as leading one. Within a few years, we would be gone and new students would need to step up to the plate in authoritative positions.
As we transferred leadership to a new board at YU, I also took a new position as the first ever Regional Director of the NYC and International regions. I’ve had a wonderful time so far strengthening the sense of community within our region, collaborating on events, and being another source of information to pinpoint problems and work towards solutions. I am eagerly awaiting our upcoming inaugural NYC TAMID banquet where NYC members, TAMID donors and alumni will be coming together to cap off a great year.
In TAMID, you go from being a follower to a leader and from a leader to a teacher all within a few years. Now I can understand why I was so attracted to it in the first place. TAMID is a thrill ride. Always moving. Always changing directions. The best part of it all is that that direction is steered by the students for the students. We’ve created a crowdsourced organization of sorts. Ideas are flowing from chapter to chapter, advice is given from president to president, and the best part is anyone’s voice can be heard.
As I near graduation in a few months, I reflect on what TAMID at YU has accomplished and the massive progression of the national organization. I dream of the day that every single Israeli knows of TAMID Group and what it is doing to strengthen engagement with their country.