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Tikun Olam Productions

The goal of Tikun Olam Productions (TOP) is to create a unique and innovative media program, which is based on Jewish values, and sourced by the Jewish community of Toronto, yet has an extensive reach across Canada and the world. This program would use cutting-edge technology and communication mediums to produce radio, television, and documentary films with rich and meaningful content, which focuses on teaching empathy and raising the consciousness of both the Jewish and non-Jewish community to repair the world. Although TOP will be powered by Ve’ahavta, it will be open to all Jewish community organizations to be used as a media platform to share their tikun olam ideas, ventures, and experiences.

Need: 

With a myriad of reasons of why the Toronto Jewish community is divided, we can offer one that will help unite it. Jewish contributions in global tikun olam efforts have become widespread in recent years. The United Jewish Appeal’s campaign to “repair the world” demonstrates the importance of this need. TOP is an opportunity for the Toronto, and Canadian, Jewish community to unite for a common good; to use this media base to teach empathy and Jewish values. We believe this will not only strengthen our community, but also give a strong voice for our joint position in the world.

In addition, and in consideration of an increase of disengaged and nonaffiliated Canadian Jewish youth, a new media program such as TOP would provide a unique and modern means for them to connect to Judaism in a safe and open environment, which is both inclusive and relevant. Through our experience working with young Jewish volunteers, we have found that this demographic has a substantial interest and eagerness to engage in social action, locally and internationally, through a Jewish lens. They want to feel connected to Judaism and build their Jewish identity, yet also want to find their place in the world at large through global experiences and human connections. TOP would be an ideal tool for this type of multi-lateral engagement.

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

I. RADIO
Goal: To produce a radio show to teach empathy and Jewish values, provide a meaningful Jewish educational outlet for youth, and to raise consciousness and encourage individuals to play a role in tikun olam.
Objectives:
 Identify and engage partnerships for content development
 Identify and engage guest speakers and initiatives
 Source appropriate space and technical support
 Develop content
 Develop communication strategy and business plan
 Identify longer term funders
 Expand capacity from a weekly show to a daily show
 Develop two mobile shows with national content

Measures:
 Attract 5,000 to 7,000 active listeners in out first year (2012), 10,000 to 15,000 by end of the second year.
 Monitor the number of listeners who participate in one or more of the Tikun Olam initiatives
 Track youth involvement through social media communications tools
II. TELEVISION
Goal: To produce an interactive web television talk show to teach empathy and Jewish values, provide a meaningful Jewish educational outlet for youth, and to raise consciousness and encourage individuals to play a role in tikun olam.

Objectives:
 Identify and engage partnerships for content development
 Identify and engage hosts/guest speakers and initiatives
 Source appropriate space and technical support
 Develop content
 Develop communication strategy and business plan
 Identify longer term funders
 Expand capacity from a bi-weekly show to a daily show

Measures:

 Attract 5,000-7,000 viewers in the first year (2012), and 10,000-15,000 viewers by the end of the second year (2013).
 Monitor the number of “viewers” who then participate in one or more of the Tikun Olam initiatives
 Track youth involvement through social media communications tools

III. DOCUMENTARY FILMS
Goal: Provide 6 film scholarships over the 2-year period as part of the Tikun Olam Documentary Film Contest. The contest, and its submissions, will be mainly promoted and viewed through on-lines tools such as, YouTube, social media networks such as Facebook, as well as through Ve’ahavta and its partner agency websites and other on-line marketing mediums. The submissions will be judged by the public and the winner determined through a voting process, thus making it an interactive project and opening the doors for discussion and debate within the community.
These films will also be used as an educational tool for the Jewish community, as well as for non-Jewish individuals and communities interested in learning about the Jewish people and the value of tikun olam – repairing the world.
Objectives:
 Identify and engage potential participants in the Canadian Jewish community who are interested in creating a film documentary focusing on Tikun Olam
 To build momentum and interest in the Canadian Jewish community through online promotion and social media tools
 assemble committee to select nominees
 post nominated documentary films on-line (i.e. YouTube, Facebook) and engage public through the voting process
 winning documentary will be viewed at a major screening event and the winning contestant will be provided with $5,000

Measures:

 attract 20 applicants for the contest

20,000 active viewers and voters by the end of the 2-year period.

Opportunity for Involvement: 

TOP would require an advisory committee, which would include members of the SixPoints JVPF. We would encourage opportunities for the individuals on the advisory committee to play a role in securing and interviewing show guests, legal counseling, securing funding and sponsorship, building the studio and sourcing the required equipment, writing scripts, articles, and educational content, developing a marketing and communications strategy and business plan, and of course with technical and creative production. Such expertise, as listed above would only further our reach and level of success.

Time Frame: 

The attached budget outlines activities over a two-year period (2012-2013). The first year of the program (2012) would focus on the establishment of the “brand” and building a “fan base”, while courting and stewarding potential donors and supporters.
The second year of production (2013) would focus on program growth and reach, as well as developing the various communications tools utilized.
By the end of the second year, we will have secured committed donors and sponsors to support us through the transitional period when the SixPoints JVPF funding period comes to a close. By this time, we will have developed a clear and strong fundraising strategy that would guarantee sufficient and reliable financial backing for TOP for years to come.

Sponsor/Staff: 

Ve’ahavta: The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian and Relief Committee would be the organizational sponsor of TOP. The project staff would include mainly President Avrum Rosensweig as the main radio and television host, Ve’ahavta Board Member, Bruce Cowley as TOP Chairperson, and Manager of Marketing and PR, Robyn Segall as Producer.

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

The project would be headed by Ve’ahavta President and Founder, Avrum Rosensweig, who has 10 years of experience in hosting, producing, and writing for radio and television productions, including a ten-year run of “Marty and Avrum: The Food Guys” on Talk640, CFRB and CHFI. Avrum starred and produced in a number of food shows including a reality show called ‘The Moveable Feast”, which still airs today.

Avrum has extensive experience interviewing people of all backgrounds and interests, including national hockey players, business moguls, Hollywood and musical celebrities such as Michael Buble, Harry Belafonte, Jeff Healey, Jose Felicino and James Carvel.
Through various Ve’ahavta initiatives, Avrum has developed strong working relationships with celebrities such as Elie Wiesel, Mia Farrow, Mariane Pearl, George Stroumboulopoudos, as well as Sir Bob Geldof. Avrum hopes to involve these high-profile figures in the TOP project to further our goals of teaching the shared value of empathy and tikun olam.

The TOP Chairperson in consideration would be Ve’ahavta Board Member Bruce Cowley, who is a Producer and Creative Head of Digital Channels at CBC. As Creative Head of Digital Channels, Bruce is responsible for running bold and documentary channels at CBC. He returned to the corporation in 2008 after a successful tenure at CTV where he headed up Animal Planet, Discovery Civilization Channel, and travel and escape. Under his leadership, these services became among the most successful new specialty channels in Canada. Bruce’s professional expertise along with his dedication to tikun olam would make him an ideal Chairperson for TOP.

The current Producer of Tikun Olam Productions is Robyn Segall, Ve’ahavta’s Manager of Marketing and PR. Robyn has worked at Ve’ahavta for the past 7 years and has a strong grasp and understanding of the young Jewish demographic in Toronto. She brings passion, creativity, a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit to Ve’ahavta, and specifically to TOP.

With the potential growth of TOP, and with funding from SixPoints JVPF, we would be able to hire a Project Coordinator to manage the associated administration, booking interviews, implementing the advertising strategy, researching and securing equipment and materials, coordinating fundraising and sponsorship efforts, among other supportive administrative duties.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

INNOVATION: Jewish media environments have yet to set a new modern trend in media use and approach to communication within the Jewish community.
With a progressive Jewish media environment, and a topic that we believe is attractive and compelling to the next generation of Jewish leaders as well as to the general public, we feel that the impact of TOP would be limitless.

SUSTAINABILITY AND FINANCIAL LEVERAGE: The funding provided by the SixPoints JVPF would enable Ve’ahavta to launch Tikun Olam Productions and allow us to build a valuable “product” which would attract donors and sponsors. Our strategy would be to secure sponsorship from foundations, Jewish media organizations and professionals, as well as corporate donors who could use our platform to advertise their own products or service.
Once TOP is reasonably established and has a loyal following, we will be able to consider a “subscription” model in which viewers/listeners pay a nominal membership fee, which would provide steady and reliable project revenue.

SCALABILITY: TOP would begin primarily as recorded internet (podcast) radio and web television. With the opportunity for growth, we would venture into live commercial radio, which would include an interactive component allowing for listeners to blog or call-in to engage in the discussion. WebTv could potentially develop into broadcast television on a local network, which again, could allow for a live studio audience and an interactive component. However, with these developments, we would consider maintaining the podcast and webTV editions, which could compliment and support the concurrent expansion of those mediums through social media and other on-line tools.

REPLICABILITY: The TOP model is one that does not currently exist (as far as we know) but can easily be replicated with strong ‘talent’, quality content, appropriate equipment, and professional expertise. Ideally, the host would have a significant Jewish educational background so as to be able to maintain inspiring Jewish-focused content and have strong interviewing skills.
The hosting party would require the appropriate technical equipment for an in-house studio, or may opt to rent outside studio space. With the right strategic planning and support, such a model could be replicated within any Jewish, or non-Jewish, community with a desire to engage its members in a unique and modern mode of entertainment and communication.