Social organization ZE.ZE does good business – and good deeds.

The ZE.ZE team (photo credit: ZE.ZE)
The ZE.ZE team
(photo credit: ZE.ZE)
They say that there is no such thing as a selfless act, that behind every good deed lurks a smidgen of personal gain. To ZE.ZE (Hebrew for “This Is It”), this is hardly a cause for concern.
In its own words, it is “a social organization enabling young people to create together in a unique and fun way, for the society and themselves simultaneously.”
Essentially, it encourages youngsters to use their talents and develop their skills within the parameters of a social cause. Perhaps this is what the world needs – unapologetic mutual gain.
At any rate, there doesn’t seem to be much stopping the ZE.ZE community.
The organization was founded more than five years ago in a living room by a group of friends. They expressed a wish to help a daycare center for the elderly in Jaffa that lacked funds to maintain itself. The friends wanted to raise money in a manner that they would all enjoy.
At 18-19 years old, enjoyment came from parties. So, one day, when the residents had left the center, the friends hosted a blowout bash.
Each undertook a task they were skilled at – music, marketing, etc., – and guests willingly paid for entry to support the cause.
“We knew that we had a great model,” says Yael Zelnik, CEO.
After a while, the group decided to try their hand at making a living from this concept. ZE.ZE members are keen to clarify that it is first and foremost a business. It has clients, it has a budget and it pays salaries.
“First of all, it has to be a good product, then there is the social value. It is an addition,” says Zelnick.
Not only is it a business, but a business that has been built from the ground up, by its community. The community is a tight-knit group of 50 young Israelis from various areas and backgrounds.
“We have a chance to create something from scratch, and make it happen. To do things that are bigger than ourselves. To benefit wider society,” says Zelnick.
ZE.ZE’s first official venture was the Street Philharmonic.
“We found good street musicians, and made a quality and unique band,” Zelnick explains. This band introduced said musicians back into Israel’s working world. The Street Philharmonic made its public debut with a big show at the Tel Aviv port. More than 1,000 people bought tickets, and famous musicians graced the stage. The Street Philharmonic band is now available to play at events, and its players earn a decent living from their music.
Currently, ZE.ZE is focused on two projects. The first, ZOT ZOT, is a social design and print studio. The studio prints the works of up-and-coming Israeli artists onto various products – hats, bags, mugs, etc., and are sold online at Various organizations and corporations, such as Google, are turning to ZOT ZOT for creative giveaways at conventions or company events.
ZOT ZOT is a co-op with female rehabilitation center Telem. ZE.ZE intends to “empower and bring a change to former inmates’ lives” by employing them.
Its second venture is a TED-style, annual lecture event called “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.”
“We have always heard successful yet unattainable stories [at TED-style events]. Stories of millionaires, the same types of people, and not always stories representative of the masses.” ZE.ZE, instead, invites seven “nonconventional” speakers; an Arab taxi driver narrating his life, a wedding photographer, a doctor. “We bring unheard stories to the stage,” smiles Zelnick.
Building on last year’s success in which the 2,000 tickets quickly sold out, ZE.ZE is working on making the event global, bringing five teams like theirs from all over the world to Israel next month, to train them in running such an event. Tel Aviv’s People Who Usually Don’t Lecture 2017 series is scheduled to run in April/May.
Updates regarding this event will be posted on ZE.ZE’s website and Facebook page.
For now, the best way to get involved with ZE.ZE is through purchasing its products, and attending its events. The community seems to be fairly content with its current members.
“We are working hard to define our community, our DNA.”
They hope to duplicate their success with additional communities in other areas of Israel and, eventually, worldwide. Considering their focus and many achievements to date, it seems seem that this group can do anything they put their minds to.
Keep in touch with ZE.ZE via its website,, and Facebook page: