On March 12, Targum Shlishi sponsored a well-attended lecture at Tulane Hillel featuring Michael Kalantarov, a young Israeli high tech entrepreneur. In his lecture, “How Israel’s High Tech Sector is Changing Lives,” Kalantarov discussed his background, career trajectory, his current role in the high tech industry, and his vision for reshaping and growing that industry in new ways.
Israeli Speaker on Campus
The idea of having an Israeli speaker come to the campus to address students is one that Targum Shlishi proposed to Tulane Hillel. The impetus from Targum Shlishi’s point of view was to counter the climate of negativity towards Israel that is so prevalent on many American college campuses.
“The extreme leftist community in tandem with the Arab propaganda machine, highly energized anti-Israel professors, and many ideologues have fostered deeply damaging, erroneous, and biased views of Israel among university students. This damaging propaganda is not new, and there have been noble attempts to counter it, but nonetheless it has become increasingly widespread and has grown deeper roots,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “We felt that the simple act of bringing Israeli speakers to campuses could help reverse this trend by exposing students to some of Israel’s inspiring people and amazing achievements.”
Michael Kalantarov: Career and Background
Michael Kalantarov has been involved in multiple high-tech start-ups. He is the co-founder and COO of Visual Estate, which is a virtual interior design company that has revolutionized the design industry. He is also the community relations manager of Tech7, an umbrella organized that seeks to unify, encourage collaboration, and promote the Negev tech community. Additionally, he serves as the manager of development at Optymizer, which works to enhance the online presence of businesses.
The son of Soviet immigrants, Kalantarov grew up in the rural desert town of Arad and taught himself to program and write code when he was young. While he is involved in entrepreneurial ventures throughout Israel, he is particularly focused on giving back to his community in the Negev by helping develop high tech industries in the Israeli desert, creating a new hub for the sector and helping to build the region’s economy.
Students interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and tech companies in Israel were able to sign up to receive notification about internships and opportunities that Kalantarov will recommend.
Tulane Hillel: An Innovative Organization
Tulane Hillel’s administration worked with students to identify Kalantarov as a speaker, explains Rabbi Yonah Schiller, executive director. “The goal was to choose a speaker who would strongly resonate with the students. Michael Kalantarov is not only a very successful entrepreneur, but he connected with students in terms of inspiring and motivating them to follow their passions.”
Tulane Hillel is nationally recognized for its innovative approach to working with students and building community, which has proved extremely successful. In 2010, the organization deliberately set out to remodel itself, committing to change in the hopes of engaging the student community more deeply and more broadly. That effort proved successful, and the organization is now a model for others. Targum Shlishi has supported Tulane Hillel initiatives over the course of several years.
“Self-taught millionaire to explain how he did it,” March 8, 2018 news article from the Tulane University website.
About Tulane Hillel
Tulane Hillel is dedicated to building radically inclusive, innovative, and action-oriented Jewish community. This institutional development is determined and directed by the diverse constituents that make up the Tulane Jewish community, allowing them to inform the organizational agenda, identity and culture. The institutional approach is entrepreneurial, educational, and its attitude promotes empathy and care for all of its participants. For more information, visit Tulane Hillel’s website at www.tulanehillel.org.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter.