Jewish Foundation Helps Xavier University Send Students to Study in Israel

March 7, 2013

Thanks to a generous grant from The Jewish Foundation, Xavier University will take students – both undergraduate and graduate – to study in Israel in May. Information sessions will be held Mar. 6 and 12 at 4:00 p.m. in Smith Hall room 137. Websites with details will be available later in March.

These are the first trips of this kind offered in this region. The trips are available to MBA and undergraduate students from Greater Cincinnati studying at any University. The trips are also unique in that business and religion are taught together. Israel is the seat of all three Abrahamic religions and No. 1 in the world for innovation and start-up companies.

“Xavier’s goals for this initiative are very well aligned with the Jewish Foundation’s objectives to strengthen Cincinnati’s connection to Israel and attract more Israeli business talent and investment in our region,” said Jewish Foundation Executive Director Brian Jaffee. “We have had many successful collaborations with Xavier University in the past and are delighted to be partnering with them in this latest effort. We believe it will enhance our investment in the Cincinnati Chamber’s multi-year initiative to drive local innovation and jobs through economic development partnerships with Israel.”

The graduate course for MBAs, Doing Business in Israel, will be offered from May 1-10, 2013. Students will receive briefings from several senior Israeli leaders on the country’s economic, political, and cultural environment. They will tour major religious sites and visit several companies, including Star Tau, Ginger Software, Google and Standard Textile. They will be hosted by the president of P&G - Israel, where they will explore the global innovation center. They will meet with their MBA counterparts at the Tel Aviv University to compare notes. When the students return, they will prepare a business plan for bringing an Israeli company to Cincinnati or helping a Cincinnati business establish itself in Israel. These will be presented to business leaders in the community. Participants will pay the tuition cost, but the Jewish Foundation grant will help subsidize what each student pays for the trip.

The trip will be led by Art Shriberg, professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Xavier. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to go to the start-up nation, as Israel is known, and experience how Israel’s rich culture and tradition interact with a vital business community,” says Shriberg.

The undergraduate courses, “Interfaith in Israel: Abrahamic Religions Past and Present” and “Doing Business in the Middle East: Israel”, are taught from May 13-29, 2013. They are open to college sophomore - senior level students who meet the requirements. Students from institutions other than Xavier are welcome to apply as long as they are accepted for admission in Xavier’s summer program and chosen for the trip. Students will explore social, political, and economic realities of modern Israel and observe how people with distinct beliefs co-exist. They will attend pre-trip sessions to learn more about Israel’s religious history and business environment. They will travel to Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem, visiting businesses and seeing holy sites. In Netanya, Cincinnati’s sister city in Israel, students will work on a service project. When they return they will participate in an initiative with Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber to further Cincinnati’s business ties with Israel. Again, thanks to the Jewish Foundation grant, each student’s trip cost will be partially subsidized.

The business course will be taught by Shriberg and the religion course by Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director of Xavier’s Center for Interfaith Community Engagement. “Israel is a land of stark contrasts from the footsteps of Jesus to the Night Journey of Mohammad; from high tech to biblical archeology,” says Ingber. “It is a land steeped in history and fraught with the clash of civilizations. In the Middle East it has been an epicenter of conflict and a laboratory for what can be done to bring resolution. To journey through Israel is to journey through Jewish history and to celebrate the rebirth of the Jewish people in their own land. Xavier students will enter into the mix and experience the Abrahamic religions in situ in the Holy Land and meet with interfaith leaders who are trying to keep it holy. There is no other place in the world comparable in experiences of the past and the future relative to the dialogue among religions.”