Fun Inc.

“Who here has a teenage daughter?”

Hands shoot up around the room.

“When was the last time you did something fun with your daughter, just the two of you? No errands, no siblings, just the two of you.”

The hands slink down. There are some embarrassed laughs, some helpless shrugs.

Yaffi Carmel, a petite dynamo, gives a knowing smile. “I know how you feel,” she admits. “Recently, my daughter needed some clothing, so we went shopping. As we left the house, I could not stop smiling. I tried to figure out why I was excited — and I realized I hadn’t been out alone with my daughter in ages. Even though we were only going shopping, I was so happy to be able to spend time with her one-on-one.

“When our kids are little, we naturally spend a lot of time with them. But once they hit the teen years and get consumed by school and friends, we can go far too long without truly connecting with them.”

Yaffi wants to change that. And Temech wants to help her.

Yaffi is part of “Imahot Yozmot” (Initiatives from Mothers), an incubator program run by Temech in conjunction with the Jerusalem Municipality. Over eight workshops, the women are given the tools to implement the program they envision.

Yaffi envisions a program in which mothers and their teen daughters will meet up monthly in the high school. At each get-together, the mother-daughter duos will take part in a joint activity, enjoying each other’s company with no distractions.

She dreams of a having an Italian cooking night in which the mothers and girls create pasta from scratch, and then have a lavish supper together. Another get-together might feature jewelry crafting. Yet another could include an outdoor hike.

“By the time a girl hits seventeen and is barely speaking to her mother, it’s almost too late,” she explains. “We need to open the channels of communication earlier, to build strong ties that can withstand the turmoil of the teen years. Temech is giving me the tools and connections I need to make this program a reality.”

Yaffi is a big believer in the power of fun. She worked for the Ministry of Culture for years, distributing a budget of eighteen million shekel for performing arts programs.

Her passion, though, is her side business, Gameboy.

In a previous job, she arranged afternoon programs for people with disabilities. There, she created a plethora of enjoyable activities with a special focus on group dynamics and enhancing social skills.

“I realized every child could benefit from these activities,” she says. She created games with specific educational goals, and gave workshops for teachers. Her next horizon was families; working for the Jerusalem municipality, she ran Mommy and Me weekly get-togethers.

Today, she offers team-building activities for group of all sizes and ages. She can run a workshop for a high-tech company one day, and do a series of zany outdoor relay races for a large family the next.

Recognizing her leadership skills, Temech invited her to run one of their networking groups. “Even though I’d been running groups for years,” says Yaffi, “I learned so much, both about group dynamics and about building a business, from Temech’s group-leading workshops.

“My networking group included women from so many fields. We had a hydrotherapist, a writer, an actress, someone who gave courses in UI/UX, a marital therapist, a graphic artist, and more.

“It showed me the difference between a business owner with fire in her eyes — and the one who doesn’t have that passion. And I saw how the energy of the group galvanized those who had become apathetic. My own business took a big leap forward as I implemented what I was teaching.”

Yaffi keeps dreaming. She’s meeting with people who may bring her mother-daughter get-togethers in their communities. Her next vision is creating a religious theater troupe for women with disabilities. With Yaffi’s drive, and Temech’s tools, it feels like anything is possible.

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