Screen Agers: Growing Up in the Digital Age

Join Barrack & Perelman for a special screening of Screen Agers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.

This award-winning film depicts the messy struggles that teens and parents face over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction. Authors and scientists provide insight into how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

At 7pm there will be refreshments, and the program will begin at 7:15pm.

Should My Husband’s Text Messages Be Private?

— by Aron Moss, rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and a frequent contributor to Reprinted with permission of, the Judaism website.

Question: Are text messages private? My husband and I have a major disagreement over this. He gets furious when I look at his phone, saying I have no business reading his private messages. I feel that as a married couple we should have nothing to hide from each other. I am not saying I am at all suspicious of him, I completely trust him. But should his inbox be totally out of bounds to me?

Answer: The answer to your quandary is right there in front of you — on your finger. Just look at your wedding ring.

[Read more…]

Colorado Governor: Trip to Israel was “Most Remarkable of My Life”

— by John Tackeff

Last month, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper visited Israel for the first time. In an interview with the Colorado Statesman, Governor Hickenlooper shared a few thoughts about what he called “the most remarkable” trip of his life:

You know, it was the most remarkable seven-day trip of my life, without question. I wouldn’t say it was the most relaxing. You can’t travel for seven days and be completely relaxed. But it was the most remarkable […] on so many different levels. There’s so many things that we don’t really understand. You can read words in a book, [but] when you actually see it and experience it, especially when you’re meeting people […] I really feel that I went as one person and I came back as a very different, hopefully more improved person.

More after the jump.
Later in the interview, Governor Hickenlooper shared that his state has a lot to learn from Israeli technological advances:

Well, I think some of the things that they’re really good at — software development, geospatial technology, aerospace and defense. We want to try to connect some of those dots. There’s also how do you approach agriculture and water conservation in a semi-arid climate. They’re world leaders in that. I forget what they said, 55 or 65 percent of the water they consume every day is recycled, the next highest country on earth is like 25 percent. I mean, they’re the world leaders on a lot of these things.

At the end of the interview it was revealed that the State of Colorado will be investing in Israel Bonds, and Governor Hickenlooper stated that he is hopeful that Colorado and Israel will be able to work together in the future:

I think that there are so many ways that Israel and Colorado can work. I mean we’re sort of the same […] Colorado’s almost five and a half million people, Israel’s just about eight million people. I mean they’re not that much bigger than we are. They’re a long way away but they have similar needs […] in terms of their agriculture and their water use, and they also have the challenges of assimilating all these different people from all over the world that we have. They have just recently the potential to become energy independent, which is similar to us. They have a huge entrepreneurial kind of startup mentality […] How do we start more businesses? I think the more we cross pollinate the two places, the better.

B’nai B’rith to Host Top Israeli Biofuel Researchers

Fuel prices in Germany in Euros per liter.
US equivalent would be $4.87/gallon for bio-diesel and $5.51/gallon for diesel.

Today, B’nai B’rith International will host a welcome reception for 15 of Israel’s top biofuel researchers as they kick off a week-long scientific dialogue in the United States. The visitors, winners of the U.S.-Israel Bio-Energy Challenge, will begin their program with a briefing at the White House, followed by the event at B’nai B’rith headquarters.

Sponsored and coordinated by two not-for-profit organizations, The Israel Energy Partnership (TIEP) and the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation (USISTF), the U.S-Israel Bio-Energy Challenge fosters a scientific exchange between Israeli experts and their counterparts in U.S. government agencies and private industry. The goals are to build bilateral energy cooperation between the two countries and to spur research and development on alternative fuels that can replace fuels derived from imported oil.

“We applaud the organizers of the Bio-Energy Challenge and we’re excited to be hosting some of Israel’s top minds in the field of biofuel research at our event,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said.

Israel is a global leader in cutting-edge R&D in this area, so we hope the dialogue they begin with American experts during their trip here will help both countries advance their common goal of independence from traditional fossil fuels.

Continued after the jump.
The Israeli delegation’s trip will includes stops in Washington, D.C., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Emeryville, Calif. The visitors will meet a number of senior officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, NASA and other agencies, as well as top private and academic researchers.

“It’s important the United States and Israel work on this issue together,” B’nai B’rith Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said.

For too long, the U.S. and its allies have relied on fuel from countries whose interests are adverse to our own. This oil dependence threatens our national security and we welcome increased cooperation between the U.S. and Israel in tackling this issue.

Israeli “Waze” Wins Best Mobile App Award at Mobile World Congress

Waze, the popular Israeli GPS navigation app, won the Mobile World Congress‘ Judges’ Choice Award yesterday for best overall mobile application, beating other top contenders such as Dropbox, Flipboard and Square, the electronic payment service.

“This is a huge win for our community — thanks Wazers, for making us number 1!”, Waze wrote on its Facebook page. The company added: “It takes 40 million drivers to make a great service that impacts the world, and that’s just the beginning. Imagine what we’ll able to do at 100 million.”

Waze was among four other Israeli applications nominated in the competition under different categories. The other Israeli apps were MyCheck, Intucell, Isracard and uTest.

The awards, presented yesterday by British funnyman David Walliams, are part of the Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona. The congress said the awards “recognize and celebrate all the contributions made to the ever-evolving and developing mobile industry.”

Waze benefited hugely from the Apple Maps app fiasco last year, with thousands across the world complaining about the app’s flaws. Amazingly, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook even recommended Waze as a good alternative. And it seems many took his advice. In total, 36 million Waze drivers in 110 countries shared 90 million user reports (including traffic and road condition alerts) last year.

Waze was founded in 2008 by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar and is led by CEO Noam Bardin.

This article was first published on – Israeli Innovation News.

Lots New at NewCaje Jewish Educators Conference

This is not your Hebrew School experience. NewCaje is the conference where Jewish educators, famous and little known, come to teach one another all that’s new, deep and meaningful, and emerging in the rapidly changing field of afternoon school Jewish education.

More after the jump.
Session titles include lots of technology:

  • “How to use Facebook to teach the Amidah”
  • “Torah Tweets”

and youth culture:

  • Hip Hop Chevruta

and empowering methodologies:

  • Jewish Montessori

and tachlis about new, effective methods for teaching Hebrew, administration, teacher supervision, re-visioning Jewish education and hundreds of sessions more.

The networking opportunities have proven incredibly valuable and well-structured via affinity groups at meals. Evening events were first class, standing ovation showcases including stunning new talent and many headliners like Peninnah Schram, Sam Glaser, Naomi Leis, Kol b’Seder, the Baal Shem Tones, Doug Cotler, Ellen Allard, Saul Kay, & comedian Kenny Ellis, and many more.

Also widely on-stage and visible is this year’s team of Jewish storytellers in honor of Peninnah Schram and the release of Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning, published by Reclaiming Judaism Press in her honor. (pictured with Peninnah Schram are Cherie Karo Schwartz, Jennifer Rudick-Zunikoff, Rabbi Dan Gordon, Gerald Fierst, Rabbi Janie Grackin, Penninah Schram and Rabbi Goldie Milgram.  

We’ll be posting footage from some of the sessions during the coming week — be in touch if you have innovations to share next year or a question or research topic in Jewish education and want to know to whom to reach out. Kol haKavod to Cherie Koller-Fox for the NewCaje renaissance!

March 23-24: The Evolving Shabbat Manifesto

— by Rabbi Goldie Milgram

What a happy coincidence. As author of What Is Shabbat: A Time Manifesto, I’m thrilled to learn that Reboot, “a New York-based nonprofit that reinvents Jewish rituals and traditions for a new generation, has developed an annual tech detox as a modern day Sabbath to encourage young, hyper-connected, and frequently frantic people to take a respite from all things digital.” Reboot is offering an Unplugging Pledge that asks people to take a tech detox for the 2012 National Day of Unplugging. Those who take the pledge on can easily share it with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Reboot reports they root their support for the National Day of Unplugging, March 23-24, in their Sabbath Manifesto.

The Time Manifesto and the 10 Principles of the Sabbath Manifesto follow the jump.

The Ten Principles

1. Avoid technology.
2. Connect with loved ones.
3. Nurture your health.
4. Get outside.
5. Avoid commerce.
6. Light candles.
7. Drink wine.
8. Eat bread.
9. Find silence.
10. Give back.

What is Shabbat? A Time Manifesto
by Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram as first published in Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice: Holy Days and Shabbat.

Once normal to civilizations,
The observance of holy days
Has become a radical spiritual act of self care.
Sacred time is shareware.
It’s free.
The only condition is you have to use it before you go,
There’s no refund at the finish line.

Are you willing to say to employers,
and politicians:

“Today is set aside as holy,
Not to be diluted away by overdoses of work,
Paying bills,
telephone solicitations,
television commercials.
This time is my birth right! You can’t have it!”

And what if they say:
“Take ownership of your own time?
You can’t have it!
We must use your life to feed our bottom lines!”

Can you imagine yourself joining in leading
the spiritual (r)evolution with a response
that might sound something like:

“Oh, no, I won’t give all my precious time to you.
We Jews build beautiful meaning-making
experiences in time,
we savor festival meals,
engage in soul refining rituals,
in order to live consciously,
we take time to reflect and refine how we act,
how we live,
how we love
and how we work.

I am writing the Torah of my life with each lived day!
I want to ripen deliciously in the sun of life,
Not race whipped to the finish line.

I have every right to experience these Jewish holidays
in their deepest intentions:
nurturing my relationships,
celebrating the journey,
rejoicing in and respecting the power and diversity of Creation.”

And if they say:

“No reason to think, no need to reflect.
Feel your feelings?

You look up at the stars and express the awe you feel?
You stop to question the ethics of your own actions?
You say you’re not coming in tomorrow
so you can sit with your children or friends
in a sukkah and meditate on the fragility of life,
the beauty of nature?

You’re late because you stopped to
say a memorial prayer for your parents?

The work ethic is your spiritual model!
Our company is your family.
What’s all this about freedom and Jews?”

And you’ll say?

The Eternal Power of Torah to Awaken and Transform

Whether Reboot, or Milgram, the important source is Torah. Do we ever need Shabbat now! It is our stimulus and solace for facing the pharaohs of contemporary life – the corporations, employers, work-a-holism, e-mail addiction, lifestyles beyond one’s means, this is pure teshuvah, the Jewish mitzvah of returning to healthy and holy alignment. However this precious Torah of awareness comes to you, may you be blessed to go for it! Unplug this Shabbat and, as the Talmud teaches, experience 1/60 of paradise. I’m thrilled at Reboot’s many creative programs. Let’s take the pledge!  

PELIE Now Accepting Applications for Technology Fellows

— Andrea D’Iorio

International Society for Technology in Education Conference

  • Application deadline: April 28, 2011
  • Conference: June 26-29, 2011

The Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education (PELIE) is now accepting applications for a fellowship to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2011 conference, which will take place from June 26 to 29, in Philadelphia. ISTE’s annual conference and exposition is the world’s premier educational technology event, where 20,000 education and technology professionals from 60 countries unite for four days of professional learning and collaboration.

Individuals involved in part-time Jewish education for children are encouraged to apply. Applicants can come from all aspects of complementary Jewish education whether they are rabbis, educators, lay leaders or volunteers in synagogue schools, community programs, JCC initiatives, or youth groups. Fourteen fellowships are available.

More after the jump.
“By providing these awards, it is PELIE’s hope that fellows will have the opportunity to learn how the use of technology can impact their work, develop communities of practice with like-minded Jewish educators and contribute to building the field of technology and Jewish education,” says Adena Raub, PELIE’s information manager.

Fellows must apply in teams of two, in order to send more than one champion for educational technology back to each community. Once they return to their home communities, team members can support one another in working toward shifting the culture of their Jewish educational community.  

Selected fellows will have the opportunity to participate in keynote presentations, “bring your own laptop” sessions, poster sessions, the global gallery, demonstrations, affinity group meetings and more. The seven teams will attend a group dinner at ISTE, as well as the Jewish educators’ affinity session. Plus, as registrants of the ISTE conference, fellows gain one year of ISTE membership.

Fellows are required to provide a written essay about their experiences, teach what they learn to their colleagues upon their return, and participate in two webinars during the 2011-2012 school year. Both team members must commit to attending the entire ISTE conference. Each selected team will receive conference registration for both members, plus $700 per pair for expenses.

Click here to download the fellowship application. Applications must be submitted electronically to Adena Raub at [email protected] on or before April 28, 2011. Award recipients will be notified by mid-May. For more information about the conference and ISTE, visit… For questions, please contact Adena Raub, PELIE’s information manager at [email protected]

About PELIE:

Founded in 2007, The Partnership for Effective Learning and Innovative Education (PELIE) works to improve complementary (part time) Jewish education in multiple settings throughout the nation. PELIE accomplishes this through advocating, consulting, and researching the field; by highlighting and adapting models that work; and by funding with local partners to bring change to their communities. PELIE also works to bring technology into Jewish education along with a variety of other “tools” – assessment, organizational, and experiential – to impact the ever-changing field of complementary Jewish education.