Next Dor founder awarded Israel fellowship for social entrepreneurship

Next Dor STL Program Director, Yoni Sarason, who writes “The St. Lou Jew: A Blog for 20-Somethings,” which is featured on jewishinstlouis.org, is spending six weeks in Israel on a prestigious fellowship. From June 9 to July 24, Sarason will be immersed in a summer institute for Jewish social entrepreneurs hosted by PresenTense-an Israeli organization that helps young adults improve their Jewish communities.  While there, Sarason will file a weekly blog with video, text and photos on jewishinstlouis.org titled, “The Wandering St Lou Jew.” 

The “vlog” features interviews with people he meets, their projects and some of the new ideas he’ll glean from young Jews.  Sarason will give JewishinStLouis readers a peak at the tools, resources and skills he learns to strengthen Next Dor and the St. Louis Jewish community.

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Next Dor is a local organization that creates an active community for post-college Jewish young adults.  Since opening its doors (next door to Central Reform Congregation) in 2009, Next Dor has connected hundreds of young Jewish adults in St. Louis.

Each year, PresenTense selects a handful of social entrepreneurs like Sarason who are working to solve problems facing the Jewish people.

Sarason says he is honored to be selected. “Not only do I believe this is an amazing opportunity for personal development, I think it is really a testament to the power of Next Dor’s community and the impact it has had on the individuals involved.”  He added that PresenTense is giving him a chance to gain skills related to leadership, management, and organization development within a Jewish context that “understands and respects the uniqueness of the Next Dor project.”

Sarason hails from Cincinnati.  He attended Washington University in St. Louis where he earned a bachelor’s in psychology. In just three years since graduating, Yoni co-founded Moishe House in St. Louis with Ross Silverman, launched his blog, co-created HipHopInspires.us, and co-founded Next Dor. After he returns from Israel, PresenTense will continue to work with Sarason and Next Dor through the Institute’s Venture Development Services.