New Jewish Community Center means business

- You may have seen the old armory transformed into a new Jewish Community Center, with sparkling new facilities.

It's helping to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood, but now the reach extends farther.

"I'm on the phone and email with Israelis," says Rakefet Bachur.

She was born in Israel, but now works here at the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center. She helped establish the Florida Israel Business Accelerator.

"We have a very unique program," she says. "Our program is designed to help Israeli start-ups to bring their technology to the US market and help them access the market.."

Meanwhile, Israel is booming with technology. For instance, the popular Waze navigation app was developed in Israel and Sandisk storage devices has its roots there. The are 74 Israeli companies on the NASDAQ with more start-ups every day.

"We hope that these companies will establish their US susidiary here in Tampa," says Jack Ross, executive director of FIBA.

The accelerator and shared workspace will soon be open to other entrepreneurs through membership. Tampa is the first Jewish community center in North America with an accelerator program. People here hope Israelis looking to locate a business here will feel at home, with the new Jewish community center an important part of their pitch.

"You're right here in the community. You can interact with community members who come here every day," says Bachur.

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