Glean: Investing In Spiritual Entrepreneurs And New Models Of Faith In Action

At a moment in which roughly 4,000-7,000 churches and synagogues close each year, there has been a promising upswell of emergent models of spiritual connection that has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the headlines of institutional religion’s decline. While the success of these new models is promising, the lack of support – training, funding, coaching, and in-kind services – available to them is alarming. Should the faith-based philanthropic world continue to funnel funds primarily into sustaining legacy institutions, not only are these entrepreneurs and their ventures at risk, but so too is the ancient wisdom upon which they are founded.

Glean is the world’s first incubator and network for spiritual entrepreneurs. We not only provide the entrepreneurship education of a leading venture incubator, but we also incorporate an integrated layer of spiritual development for our multifaith cohort that is largely absent from this emerging field. And through a one-of-a-kind partnership with Columbia Business School, Glean equips its entrepreneurs with the highest-level training to seize the abundant opportunity in this time of great change in American religion, and build sustainable ventures that will flourish for years to come.

About Glean

Who We Serve

Glean is designed to build and grow a network of spiritual entrepreneurs.

Spiritual entrepreneurs are leaders seeking to embrace the abundant opportunity in today’s shifting religious landscape by building new ventures that work toward character formation, human flourishing, and communal wellbeing.

How We Serve

Glean SHIFT: A 7-week intensive equipping participants with the mindsets and tools to embrace the realities of American spirituality today, and the skills to build for tomorrow.

Glean START: A 10-week Certificate in Spiritual Entrepreneurship course with Columbia Business School taught by CBS faculty and other field experts.

Get Involved

Are you a faith-rooted leader, seminary student, or spiritually-integrated entrepreneur? Learn with Glean.

Are you an affiliate with an organization or denomination looking to spark new models? Partner with Glean.

Are you a professional with skills and wisdom to offer our network? Share your expertise with Glean.

Glean And Clal

Glean was founded in January 2017 by Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a think tank and resource center that is building a world where Jewish wisdom is a public good accessible to all.

Championing Clal’s commitment to religious pluralism, Glean sees its unique positioning in a multifaith space as one of its most valuable assets.

Our Team

Director of Innovation
Elan Babchuck

Rabbi Elan Babchuck is a rabbi and entrepreneur who spends much of his time exploring the rich intersections between these two traditions. He’s committed to leaving behind a world that is more compassionate, connected, and just than the one he found, and – in pursuit of that commitment – he is the Director of Innovation at Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the Founding Executive Director of Glean Network, an incubator, and network for entrepreneurs who are building new models of faith in action, which partners with Columbia Business School.
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Irwin Kula

Rabbi Irwin Kula is a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker. A 7th generation rabbi he is Co-President of Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership a do-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. A thought leader on the intersection of innovation, religion, and human flourishing, Irwin has worked with leaders from the Dalai Lama to Queen Noor and with organizations, foundations, and businesses in the United States and around the world to inspire people to live with greater passion, purpose, creativity and compassion.

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Director of Innovation Training and Curriculum
Rabbi Julia Appel

Rabbi Julia Appel is known for creating welcoming and diverse Jewish spaces for exploration and empowerment. Rabbi Appel creates and leads Clal’s city-wide and graduate training programs in innovation and Jewish entrepreneurship. Ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, she is passionate about creating Jewish community that meets the challenges of the 21st century – in which Jewish identity is a choice, not an obligation. She recently founded the start-up Bina Community Circles, a new spiritual project fostering Jewish personal flourishing and communal change through deep relationship-building circles.

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Director of Rabbinic Programs
Shelli Aderman

Shelli Aderman comes to Clal from a varied and exciting background, where she started learning to code computers as a child. As an adult, Shelli continued her fascination with all things behind-the-scenes in a career of theatrical stage management and administration. As the Program Administrator for many of Clal’s varied projects, including Glean, Rabbis Without Borders, and Stand and See, she gets to use all of her backstage skills in the support of rabbis.

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Glean Faculty
Jack McGourty, Ph.D.

Jack McGourty Ph.D. (Columbia) is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation, and product innovation. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School, Jack was Vice Dean for Columbia’s Engineering School.

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