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.
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.
The cow rose gently into the air, looking robust and healthy until, with a brief spray of blood, its head separated from its body and both parts fell. Moments later a second cow flew up. This cow, sickly green and with a bandage on one leg, fell unmolested, not worthy for sacrifice to God.
Learning the rules of sacrificing digital cows popping up and down on the iPhone screen along with doves and bags of oil and flour may not be quite the same as how the ancient Israelites did things but there's a lot of Torah in this brand new game, the first from G-dcast Entertainment, aptly named "Leviticus!"
Will Schneider, in his recent eJejewish Philanthropy piece “Innovation to What End?,” states that “Innovation is a strategy toward a larger goal, such as creating Jewish community, increasing Jewish literacy, or improving the North American Jewish community’s relationship to Israel.” It should not be perceived of, or utilized as, an end in and of itself. It is simply a mindset, and set of tools, that allow us to achieve our overall shared purpose more effectively. It can be utilized within and beyond the walls of established institutions, and it should also be handled responsibly; if something ain’t broke, there’s no need to push innovation at it and try to fix it. And therefore, “we don’t encourage funders to support the new over the necessary – provided they don’t fund the existing over the effective.” Funders and practitioners alike should focus on purpose: what is it that we’re trying to accomplish? And what are the most effective and creative approaches and methods we can employ?
G-dcast.com is a poster child of the Jewish startup sector, the grass-roots movement that aims to reach the disinterested and unaffiliated by offering new ways – such as record labels, bike rides and online Shabbat services – to connect with Judaism. Over 3,000 educators around the world use G-dcast’s funky parsha-of-the-week videos, which have been viewed over a million times on the web, the group says.
Why, then, is G-dcast about to find itself out on the street?