The conference got off to a pretty nifty start, as JFN hired Aylon Slater, a cross-cultural trainer and consultant, to facilitate a high tech getting-to-know-you session for attendants.
Slater, who works as a facilitator to help companies and organizations from different cultures work together, gave each person in the David Citadel’s ballroom a little white remote control polling device with nine numbered buttons. (Eh, it’s a Jewish conference, is it alright if we call the remote control a kvetcher?)
He then asked a series of personal, multiple choice questions that participants answered by pressing the corresponding number on their kvetchers. Slater’s computer tallied all the answers within a few seconds, creating something of an instantaneous poll.
I played along for the first few of questions:
Where are you from? Of the 200 or so who replied, 34 percent were Israeli, 54 percent North American, 7 percent European or from the former Soviet Union, and 3 percent were from South America or Australia.
Are you male or Female? 52 percent male, 48 percent female.
How old are you? Five percent were 20-29, 15 percent 30-39, 22 percent 40-49, 33 percent 50-59, 29 percent 60-69, and 5 percent were 70 or older.
I had to stop playing at question four: How much money did you give away last year? 21 percent gave in the lowest category $25,000-$99,000, 23 percent gave $100,00-$499,000, 5 percent $500,000-$1 million, 17 percent gave between $1 million and $4.9 million, 10 percent gave between $5 million and $9.9 million, 11 percent gave between $10 million and $19 million, and 17 percent of the 200 plus that answered gave more than $20 million.
I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure that the sum total of those gifts is more than the $800 million or so the Jewish federation system brought in through its annual campaigns last year.