BERLIN – Germany’s capital city served on Wednesday as the launching pad for the first gathering of hundreds of young Jewish professionals from Israel and across Europe, to solidify exchanges in the areas of technology innovation, business and the arts.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Tamar Shchory, CEO of the Leadel organization, which sponsored and organized the conference, said one of the goals is “to connect young professionals with the Jewish world and engage people not affiliated with Jewish life.”

Shchory, who lives in Tel Aviv, said the next step of the program is to create a mentor system that places “young professionals together with mentor success stories.”

“The aim of the event was to explore the true meaning of innovation, creativity and success in today’s challenging economic, social and political environment, and inspire the participants through hearing about success stories of Jewish innovators and entrepreneurs,” Shchory said.

The two-day conference attracted over 260 participants from Israel, Germany, the UK, France and Switzerland.

Panels ranged in topic from “A Smarter World – Trends in a Changing World” to “Cracking the Innovation Code” and “Tel Aviv as a Start-up City.”

Students and faculty from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, located in Ramat Gan, presented final projects at the event’s opening dinner.

Shahar Arad, a textile design student from Shenkar, told the Post that the college’s installation at the event’s opening at the Jewish Museum uses “six printers and takes images from 26 projects” which it converts into postcards that the printers spit out onto the floor. Shahar used a sophisticated knitting process to construct a plant-like moss design which was reproduced on the postcard.

Hila Shaltieli, a visual communications professor, told the Post that the thinking behind the installation was to show “printers as low-technology” that “constantly create leaves like posters.”

The students created artistic interpretations of their projects to fit the leaves, or postcards.

The 26 student projects spanned diverse disciplines, including graphic and art design.

MK Ronen Hoffman, Israeli singer Ivri Lider and Yanki Margalit – an Israeli entrepreneur, founder of Aladdin Knowledge Systems and currently Chairman of SpaceIL – delivered talks and presentations.

The Diaspora Affairs Ministry supported the conference.

“This was an unprecedented event bringing together some of the biggest names in global innovation and business to sit together, speak to and interact with young Jewish professionals,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress and founder of Leadel, said.

He added, “This was the ‘Start-up Nation’ meeting Europe, and I hope that the event helped the younger generation, through meeting with entrepreneurs and inspiring and successful businessmen, to connect to being Jewish through business innovation and success. Through the presentation of Jewish models of success, whose Judaism is a significant part of their identity, the event will take European Jewish and Israeli innovation to the next level.”

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