Tarbuton is a San Diego based 501c3 founded in 2006.  In San Diego, only 15% of the 100,000 Jews are estimated to be engaged in Jewish life. Tarbuton, an independent Jewish social venture, offers programs not offered by any other organization and successfully reaches over 2000 households, most of whom, were not engaging in Jewish life in any other way. We hope to inspire more Jewish social entrepreneurs to do the same, opening piloting and launching programs and successfully engaging a greater % of our community in creative lasting ways.

Mission of Tarbuton: to engage the Jewish community, educate our next generation, connect all ages to Israel, and bridge the local Jewish and Israeli-American communities.

Mission of Startup18: to inspire and support entrepreneurs impacting the world in positive ways based on Jewish values.

Tarbuton makes Jewish and Israel connections for 200-300 San Diegans weekly or bi monthly, with cultural Jewish enrichment for youth and adults. Volunteers offer programs generally related to Hebrew language, Israeli cooking,  film and literature and hobbies such as hiking and dance.

Fueled by grants and active volunteerism we offered, through 2016, an Israeli-style after school and Sunday program with as many as 140 students in 4 locations, and as many as 20 part time teachers and staff.  Tarbuton founders also offered “Tzofe San Diego” incubating what became the local Tzofim Shevet and supported the creation of a Hebrew language charter school.

Startup18 was launched to offer fiscal sponsorship and inspire social entrepreneurs to launch their own projects to engage the Jewish community and/or benefit the public through Jewish values. We hope by providing an address and support for social entrepreneurs we will have an even greater impact in the community.


Our founders, wanting to build Jewish and Israeli identity in their children growing up in the US but with strong connections to Israel, began organizing Hebrew and Israeli-style activities including a Hebrew speaking playgroup, Hebrew story times and community holiday gatherings such as apple picking outings at Rosh Hashanah, hikes at area forest preserves at Tu b’Shevat and bonfires at Mission Bay for Lag Baomer.

As the children grew, a week-day and Sunday program was offered incorporating Hebrew immersion classes and enrichment, Jewish holiday classes and celebrations in English and in Hebrew year round. A dance troupe and singing group formed and performed annually at Yom Haatzmaout, Yom haZikaron and at the House of Israel’s lawn event.

The programs immersed our children in Hebrew and contemporary Israeli culture while adults enjoyed evenings with Israeli films, literature, lectures and plays and social opportunities in English and Hebrew.  We created a little Israel in San Diego that reflects the roots many of us share with family and friends there, the passion we all have for Israel from San Diego, that keeps us and our next generation connected.  We nurture the Hebrew speaking community that supports the language connection for our families and keeps Israeli culture alive in our hearts and we welcome and build programs for the community at large.