I am Gidi (Gideon) Grinstein and I welcome you to this website, which brings together and tells the story of my professional journey over the past twenty-five years.
Societal Entrepreneurship is the best way to describe what I do. I am an Israeli Jew, but also a citizen of the world. My identity and journey combine and balance both. Inspired by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l, I hold my particular identity to inspire and be essential for my universal work and vice versa.
My mission has been to lead on issues that are critically important for my society, and to make a significant and distinct contribution to humanity.
Hence, my work has evolved in three concentric focus areas: my country, my people and the world.
In this journey, I launched multiple innovative organizations and initiatives, as well as authored and co-authored hundreds of documents, articles and policy papers.
In 2014, I authored a book titled Flexigidity: The Secret of Jewish Adaptability and the Challenge and Opportunity Facing Israel.
Flexigidity summarizes my personal and intellectual journey to make sense of the Jewish world and to answer Marc Twain’s brilliant challenge: “All things are mortal but the Jew; all forces pass but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
The book was uniquely envisioned to inspire and support a broad discussion about the condition and direction of the Jewish People through a “21st century exercise of talmud.”
I believe in building lasting institutions that offer a unique value proposition. In 2004, I founded the Reut Institute as a platform for policy-research, strategy and leadership on the key challenges facing my country and society. In 2014 we launched TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers as a platform for making a significant and distinct contribution to humanity. In addition, I have been involved in multiple additional initiatives such as Yesodot (foundations) for government reform and the Leapfrog Center to advance social and economic development.
Through Reut, TOM and other ventures I have been involved in and led game-changing and ground-breaking efforts that serve Israel’s long-term prosperity and security. Reut uniquely combines tools for diagnostics, knowledge-creation, strategy, vision and leadership. Some of its bold initiatives include“The ISRAEL 15 Vision for Israel’s long-term social and economic development; Firewall Israel to combat antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel; and Civil Resilience Network to enhance resilience in times of national crisis.
Currently, TOM is my platform to support humanitarian innovation in design and technology, inspired by the moonshot goal of helping 250 million people who are poor, elderly, wounded vets and living with disabilities. TOM’s research and development center is at Impact Labs in South Tel-Aviv, which is one of Israel’s leading makerspaces that Reut co-founded in 2017 with WeWork Israel. My vision for Impact Lab has been to become a national and global center for innovation in assistive technologies. Both TOM and Impact Labs originated from another bold initiative called Cross-Lab Network (XLN), that was looking to leverage the revolution of 3D printing toward addressing acute social problems.
A highlight of my earlier professional life was my work on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from 1995 to 2001, which led me to participate in the Camp David Summit of July 2000, led by President Clinton. My role was Secretary of the Israeli Peace Delegation in the Bureau of the Prime Minister of Israel, which is where I served from July 1999 to March 2001. During these years, my work spanned supporting economic cooperation among Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians, as well as leading extensive policy-planning efforts toward peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Another major highlight of my earlier career was founding the team that turned Birthright Israel from a vision to a plan. We worked for four years, originating some of the formative ideas of the greatest running Jewish program of our time.
One of my goals in founding Reut and in TOM have been to inspire a cohort of leaders that will carry on my vision. Hence, I have strived to turn our team members into life-long Reutniks through a formative personal and professional ‘Reut experience’, and I am extremely proud of their on-going contributions to society. Nowaday, we are doing the same also in the TOM Leadership Program.
I am a proud veteran of the Israeli Navy and a graduate of Tel-Aviv University Schools of Law and Economics, as well as of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Israel Fellow. While nothing of what I do was learned in school, my learning has been essential for everything I do. Therefore, I am grateful for my great education.
In case you were wondering, I happen to have a personal life as well. I am proudly married to my awesome wife, Betty, and we parent five children, who have begun to bless us with grandchildren. I deeply appreciate my community-life and my circles of friends. I have a passion for history and for running, especially in the very early mornings, and have run eight marathons. When I can combine a running tour with a roving history lesson, I am elated.
Overall, I am deeply grateful for being blessed with a great life.