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April 25, 2008

Community-Wide Trip to Highlight Business Investment Opportunities
in High-tech, Bio-tech and Bio-fuels

(San Francisco, CA) – San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will join the Jewish Community Federation’s (JCF) trip to Israel taking place April 30–May 8, 2008.  The trip, organized by the Federation’s Business Leadership Council (BLC) is primarily intended to build ties between business leaders in the greater Bay Area and Israel and to provide first-hand exposure to Israel’s vast potential for investment, networking, and business partnerships. The trip is scheduled to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

Mayor Newsom will be joining the trip’s participants with an eye toward fostering greater relationships between local entrepreneurs and business leaders in the high-tech, bio-tech and clean-tech industries, and their counterparts in Israel. To that end, the Mayor will participate in a full day clean-tech showcase, designed to inform him about Israel’s innovative activities and industrial approach to alternative energy and bio-fuels.  Additionally, he will be the first San Francisco Mayor to visit San Francisco’s city’s sister city, Haifa, and will meet with Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav.  He will also meet with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, and will receive a briefing from a senior Israeli foreign ministry official.  While in Israel, the Mayor will pay his respects at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, and at the memorial marking the site of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in Tel Aviv.  He will also visit Umm el-Fahm, an Arab-Israeli town that is one of the sites for Echad – a Jewish Community Federation funded program focused on early childhood education in the Arab Israeli community.

The Business Leadership Council (BLC) is comprised of Jewish business leaders and investors throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley region. BLC programs reach thousands of participants, and its members are active across the Bay Area’s high-tech, bio-tech, and real-estate industries as well as other local industries of strategic importance.  The planning committee for the trip to Israel is co-chaired by Robert Blum and Bobby Lent.  Mr. Blum is President and CEO of Cytokinetics, Inc. a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative treatments for cancer and heart disease. Mr. Lent is the Chairman of Traiana, Inc., an early-stage enterprise software company focused on trading relationship management, based in New York with its core R&D located in Ramat Gan, Israel.  The two committee chairs will be accompanied by nearly 100 other senior level executives, and local Jewish philanthropists, including Yitz Applebaum, economic advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the founder and general partner of Opus Capital.

Participants on the trip have the opportunity to select between 3 primary tracks: Arts and Culture, History and Archaeology, and Business.  The Arts and Culture track is chaired by community leader Liki Abrams, while the History and Archeology track is being led by Fred Rosenbaum and Jehon Grist of Lehrhaus Judaica.  The Business track is further divided into High-tech (chaired by Mr. Applebaum), Real Estate and Investments (chaired by Barry Cohn), and Bio-tech and Life Sciences (chaired by Mr. Blum). 
“Substantial advance thought and planning have gone into putting this trip together," said Robert Blum. "This mission will offer an exceptional opportunity for us to bring together some of the best and brightest in Bay Area and Israeli industry as well as civic and political leadership.  With a goal of facilitating mutually prosperous economic ties, we look forward to exploring possibilities for investment and collaboration between like-minded entrepreneurs and business professionals.
Other business leaders going on the trip include:

  • James Heeger, President, CEO and Chairman of PayCycle, the leader in on-line payroll for small businesses
  • Rich Freedland, Vice President, Business Development, Laser Research Inc.
  • Denise Aptekar, Director, Risk Management, Paypal
  • Mark Schulman, Owner, CDM Holdings, LLC
  • Richard Seeley, commercial real estate investor
  • Norman Traeger, Partner, The Discovery Group
  • Dr. Ronald Cape, investor, a founder of the biotech industry
  • Sam Lauter, founder and principal of Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter & Partners, a full service public affairs firm
  • Thomas Kasten, former mayor, Hillsborough and current vice chair of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County
  • John Pritzker, founder, Geolo Capital, focusing on high-growth, consumer focused business investments. Mr. Pritzker is also the President of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation.

Also joining the mission will be Daniel J. Sokatch, incoming Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Federation.

The Jewish Community Federation’s Israel Center conceived and planned the Israel @ 60 trip, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel. Since its founding in 1996, the Israel Center has provided a cultural bridge, connecting the Bay Area Jewish community with Israel.

The Jewish Community Federation and Jewish Community Endowment Fund allocated, in the current fiscal year, over $200 million towards funding social services, educational and cultural programs in the Bay Area, in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere around the world.


For further information, please contact: Ken Lupoff, Manager, Endowment Communications, 415.512.6227, kenl@sfjcf.org.


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