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‘Design Thinking’ For Day Schools

An Article from the Jewish Week
August 14, 2013
by Julie Wiener

What do a group of local Jewish day schools have in common with Apple?

DSC01777That may sound like the first line of a joke, given that even the most successful Jewish institutions will never have a fraction of the tech giant’s name recognition, let alone its financial resources or capitalistic ambitions.

Nonetheless, through a new program jointly run by the Jewish Education Project and Upstart Bay Area (a Jewish “social venture and consulting innovation firm”), faculty at local schools are receiving training in the “design-thinking” methodology that is credited with fueling many business innovations.

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Putting b’nai mitzvah back where it belongs: in nature

An Editorial from the JweeklyZelig
August 8, 2013
by Zelig Golden

While often providing a meaningful initiation into Judaism, today’s b’nai mitzvah experience does not meet the urgent needs of many teens, studies reveal. Upwards of 60 percent of Jewish youth consider their b’nai mitzvah to be an end rather than a beginning of their Jewish journey because it fails to touch them personally.

The Brandeis University study “Jewish Adolescents: American Teenagers Trying to Make It” concluded in 2000 that b’nai mitzvah education misses the mark because it fails to empower adolescents with appropriate levels of responsibility and accountability for their life stage.

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Appetizing challah app for kids from G-dcast

BAchallah_app_small_sizeAn article from the Jweekly
June 20, 2013

G-dcast announced this week that its latest animated app — one that teaches kids how to make challah and partake in the Jewish rituals surrounding it — is available to download for free in the App Store. 

“Let’s Bake Challah!” is the S.F.-based nonprofit’s fifth app, but the first designed for 3- to 6-year-olds. Kids using their parents’ smartphone or iPad get to interact by doing things such as dragging ingredients into a mixing bowl, rolling out dough and braiding the challah. Optional parental settings include prayers, lessons about rituals and a male or female voice.

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New UpStart groups blaze trail of Jewish innovation

An Article from the Jweekly
June 13, 2013
By Emma Silvers

UpStart Bay Area, the S.F.-based nonprofit that supports up-and-coming Jewish social entrepreneurs, welcomed three new groups into its cohort this month, while transitioning five current UpStarter organizations to “alumni” status — meaning they’ve proven to be sustainable organizations on their own. The new groups cover a wide scope of interests.

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UpStart on the Radio!


Originally Aired on Westerchester On the Level on January 23, 2013

Ms.Maya Bernstein, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.M., Columbia Colllege, Columbia University, B.A. graduate, and present Strategic Design Officer at UpStart Bay Ares, San Francisco, CA. Curiculum writer, designer, and evaluator with international teaching experience, replete with work in Russia, Israel, Germany and China. Joining her is Rabbi Ed Harwitz who earned a Masters of Arts Degree and Rabbinic Ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters from the University of Judaism and extensively studied at the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. Rabbi Harwitz has taught students of all ages in Jewish text, philosophy and theology, with particular experience teaching Talmud in Jewish high schools. 

We welcome the opportunity they afford us to follow their respective backgrounds in the passion and promise they bring to education and their continuing quest to better define and destill the best function and methodogy in dispensing  education. To that end, we learn of the catalyst that drives them to continue to explore for a ever more effective manner and find out what drives them to think outside the perrenial box, what influence the IDEO concept had in finding the answer of the day, and so forth. It will be an exploration of learning the process and celebrating their adventure.



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