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taking the language of innovation to the places that need it most

“the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”

Marcel Proust, La Prisonnière


In the 21st century one cannot escape the popular notions of entrepreneurship and innovation – media celebrate it, the business world emphasized it, governments foster it, nonprofits spread it and academia teaches it in various ways and forms.

Entrepreneurship – the process of creating new solutions to existing problems, and innovation – the thinking behind it – became such powerful buzzwords and concepts that they should no longer be treated as subjects, topics or fields – but rather as mindsets and languages. They should be understood as ways of seeing the world, understanding and changing in it, as modus operandi that sees opportunities instead of challenges and as perspectives or lenses which are deeply rooted in culture.

We believe that this is a new form of literacy – and that speaking the language of innovation and entrepreneurship is as important today as knowing how to read, write or use a computer.

In an era which is dominated by the “innovation economy,” knowing what innovation is, what it is not, how to make sense of it, and how to apply it to different aspects of life, becomes critical. When the only constant is the accelerating pace of change, understanding change, and knowing how to use change-management tools and skills in a supportive cultural setting is vital.


We expose people to the language, mindset and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, while taking advantage of all that NYU has to offer in terms of content, brand, location and resources.  We use NYU’s worldwide platforms and provide access to the knowledge, experience and networks that make the language of innovation and entrepreneurship understandable. We invite participants to familiarize themselves with the key concepts, mechanisms, structures and vocabulary of innovation. We do not expect them to be fluent in this language immediately, but we offer an introduction that will enable our students to navigate it with increasing ease, and feel encouraged to continue cultivating their new skills in their own way and time. 

We focus on two key elements: 

intrapreneurship – the use of entrepreneurial methods, mindset and powers inside existing organizations (as opposed to creating new ones).

impact – the new technologies and tools that are being used to rebalance the scales, to improve lives and the planet. Impact mixes profit and purpose, business and social reform. 

The combination of these two elements captures best the spirit of innovation and enables newcomers to familiarize themselves with this new world.


Our methods are hands-on and practical. We teach innovation and entrepreneurship the way that others teach management or leadership: we introduce definitions and typologies, explain history and context, discuss trends and trajectories, analyze relevant case studies and narratives, and invite guest experts who share insights and lessons. 

Our educational interventions consist of experiential learning and workshop practices, as the only way to learn such skills is by trying, doing, asking and assessing. Similarly, we draw on the plethora of knowledge and skills available at NYU, which contains a multitude of disciplines, ways of thinking, contexts and backgrounds.

Some of our past and present activities include:

  • Certificate in Spiritual Leadership and Social Impact for Rabbinical Students (in collaboration with Yeshivat Chovevei Torah): We have partnered with YCT to create a unique academic certificate teaching rabbis to think and act as entrepreneurs, while introducing them to leading religious thinkers and practitioners in the field – as well as scholars, grant-makers and activists. 

The Certificate’s Objective

An Op Ed regarding the thinking behind it

  • Entrepreneurship Lab and Certificate for Human Trafficking Survivors (in collaboration with Restore NYC): We were approached by Restore NYC – a leading organization fighting sex trafficking in New York and were happy to collaborate with them in a first entrepreneurship course and certificate of its kind in the US. We believe that teaching entrepreneurial tools to those who were rescued from the sex industry is an effective way to help them in their long and difficult journey.

An Article about it 

  • Knowledge Partner of OurCrowd Venture Capital: Together with OurCrowd, Israel’s most active Venture Capital firm, we educate investors and corporate leaders on topics and notions essential to their work. In short and longer master-classes, in Israel and elsewhere, we add an academic and applicable backbone to their dealing with start-ups, disruption, proof of concept processes and corporate scouting. 

  • Founding Partners of G100 Think Tank: We collaborated with G100, a much needed international network of visionaries aiming to “re-imagine the future and to implement creative initiatives to improve it.” We helped launch a think tank that rethinks impact investment and its ability to combine more social change with better value creation.




Rabbi Yehuda Sarna serves as the University Chaplain and Executive Director at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University. He is a Senior Fellow at the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU, where he designs educational experiences and curricula to train the next generation in interfaith action.

Rabbi Sarna was one of the principal subjects of Chelsea Clinton's 2014 documentary, Of Many, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and aired nationally on ABC in 2017. The documentary is utilized as a teaching tool for universities and high schools around the country seeking to establish norms of religious and spiritual diversity within their institutions. The Of Many Institute designed an award winning training module, Faith Zone, to train university students, staff and administrators in religious literacy. Rabbi Sarna was appointed to the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, a project of the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, to lobby for legislation increasingly vigilant of hate crimes.

Within the Jewish community, Rabbi Sarna is known for his innovative disposition in launching new initiatives. In 2007, he started the Jewish Learning Fellowship, a ten-week course in Jewish thought for college students, which has since been replicated on dozens of campuses. In 2010, he helped develop the Jewish Disaster Response Corps (JDRC) which mobilizes the American Jewish community to provide direct support to communities recovering from natural disasters. In 2016, the Bronfman Center incubated Knock Knock Give a Sock, a student led initiative to break the stigma of homelessness which has since launched as an independent venture.

Rabbi Sarna has recognized for his outward looking and innovative approach. He was awarded the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence from Hillel International in 2008 and was the honoree at the Orthodox Union/Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus Awards Dinner in 2009. In 2009, he was listed as one of“36-under-36 Change-makers” by the New York Jewish Week. 

He is the editor of The Koren Shabbat Evening Siddur (2011) and Orthodox Forum Series: Toward a Jewish Perspective on Culture (2013). Rabbi Sarna is married to Dr. Michelle Waldman Sarna, a psychologist, and they have six children.


Dr. Nir Tsuk is a seasoned practitioner, academic and facilitator with over 20 years of international experience in the fields of social capital, entrepreneurship and culture of innovation. Serving as a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at University of Osaka, and NYU’s Global Distinguished Scholar, Nir is the founder of i³. 

Prior to this, Nir has served as the head of growth at – the world's largest social online talent acquisition platform, and brought Ashoka –  the world's largest social entrepreneurship organization – to Israel, after serving as a Ashoka's Global Fellowship Director in Washington DC, connecting more than 3000 social entrepreneurs in 72 countries. Nir holds a PhD from Cambridge University in social and political sciences – where he wrote his dissertation on social networks, social capital and intentional communities (such as the Israeli Kibbutz and the English Garden City). Previously, Nir led policy research initiatives at the Community Development Foundation in London and at the Committee for Social Affairs in the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem. 

 He has been, among other things, a curriculum developer at the Rabin Centre and the Israeli national authority for Holocaust remembrance, the editor of Israel's bestselling computer magazine, a restaurant manager, and a street cleaner. Nir advises and lectures citizen organizations, entrepreneurs, government bodies, and companies. He is also a compulsive tea drinker and a fan of animated movies.

advisory board


Prof. Batia Mishan Wiesenfeld is the Andre J. L. Koo Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Management and Organizations at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University. She received her Ph.D. in Management and Organizational Behavior from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Her teaching and research interests focus on the management of organizational change. She has examined organizations in various industries (e.g., banking, technology, telecommunications, public utilities) undergoing downsizing, restructuring and reengineering programs, exploring how to maintain the productivity and commitment of remaining employees. She also studies virtual work and telecommuting initiatives, online communities and the careers of top executives and directors. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals, as well as manager-oriented journals such as Harvard Business Review. She serves as a Senior Editor of the journal Organization Science, and she has been quoted in newspapers and magazines such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal and she has appeared on television and radio programs such as Good Morning America.


Prof. Benjamin Hary is the Director of NYU Tel Aviv and Professor at the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Up until 2014 Hary was the Winship Professor of Hebrew, Arabic, and Linguistics and the Director of the Program in Linguistics at Emory University. Hary is the author and editor (and co-editor) of Multiglossia in Judeo-Arabic (1992); Judaism and Islam (2000); Corpus Linguistics and Modern Hebrew (2003); Esoteric and Exoteric Aspects in Judeo-Arabic Culture in 2006; Translating Religion (2009); Daily Life in Israel (2012); and Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present (2018). His Sacred Texts in Egyptian Judeo-Arabic will appear in the near future with Brill. He also published over 50 articles on Judeo-Arabic, Arabic and Hebrew linguistics. His research interests include Jewish languages in general and Judeo-Arabic in particular, Jews in the Islamic world, the politics of Arabic language use in Israeli society, corpus linguistics, Language and Religion, dialectology, and sociolinguistics. He has recently focused his research on issues such as why and how Jews (and for that matter, Christians and Muslims as well) speak and write differently from people who are not Jews or Christians and Muslims. 

Lisa Sasson .jpg

Prof. Lisa Sasson is the dietetic internship director and a clinical associate professor in the department of nutrition and food studies, and the Associate Dean for Global Affairs at NYU Steinhardt. She has interests in dietetic education, weight and behavior management, and problem-based learning. She also is a private practice nutritionist with a focus on weight management. She is the co-director the Food, Nutrition and Culture program in Florence, Italy. She has done a number of media interviews both print and television for publications such as Self Magazine, Allure, New York Times, and Prevention Magazine. Her professional activities include: consultant for Nickelodeon , New York State Dietetic Association and Greater New York Dietetic Association (past president and treasurer)


Prof. Paul C. Light is NYU Wagner's Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service and founding principal investigator of the Global Center for Public Service. Before joining NYU, Dr. Light served as the Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, founding director of its Center for Public Service, and vice president and director of the Governmental Studies Program. He has served previously as director of the Public Policy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts and associate dean and professor of public affairs at the University of Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.  

Light is the author of 25 books, including works on social entrepreneurship, the nonprofit sector, federal government reform, public service, and the baby boom. His most recent book is Government by Investigation: Presidents, Congress, and the Search for Answers, 1945-2012 (2014).  His award winning books include The President's Agenda: Domestic Policy Choice from Kennedy to Clinton (1998), Thickening Government: Federal Hierarchy and the Diffusion of Accountability (1995), The Tides of Reform: Making Government Work, 1945-1995 (1997), and A Government Ill Executed: The Decline of the Federal Service and How to Reverse It 2008). A Government Ill Executed received the American Political Science Association's Herbert Simon Award for the most important book on public administration in the preceding three-to-five years upon publication. Light is also a co-author of a best-selling American government textbook, Government by the People. His research interests include: bureaucracy, civil service, Congress, entitlement programs, executive branch, government reform, nonprofit effectiveness, organizational change, and the political appointment process.


The Edgar M. Bronfman Center envisions a Jewish community which is deeply rooted, open and connected, and empowered and innovative. It is a pluralistic home for Jewish students as well as a Jewish center for the entire University, operating as a unit within NYU, serving its students, faculty, alumni and beyond. The Bronfman Center aims to provide transformative experiences to young Jews at the most pivotal times in their lives by harnessing the unique conditions of a large and diverse Jewish student population, the creative energy of New York City, and NYU’s global network. The Bronfman Center is a local Hillel and a global Jewish platform with programs throughout NYU’s Global Network University (GNU). Recognized as a leader in transformative education, it currently seeks to broaden its influence by developing a training program for emerging spiritual leaders who seek to make positive social change in the world.

The Bronfman Center has significant expertise in training undergraduate and graduate students through internships, fellowships, co-curricular, work-study opportunities, utilizing connections to faculty and administrators in other departments within NYU. Executive Director, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, also serves as a University Chaplain, a faculty member of the Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service, and a Senior Fellow at the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership. He has developed successful academic programs in collaboration with NYU schools utilizing the Bronfman Center as a training platform, such as the Minor in Multifaith Leadership (Wagner School for Public Service and Silver School of Social Work), the Professional Diploma in Leading Spiritual Diversity in Higher Education (Steinhardt School of Education), and the Multifaith Chaplaincy track of the EdD in Higher Education (Steinhardt School of Education).

contact us.

For more information about i³, please contact Nir at