Announcing First-Ever Dual Hackathon for Israel and the Jewish World

Friday-night-hack-e1373438119895Friday Night Hack, the first-ever dual hackathon focused on Israel and the Jewish world, will take place simultaneously in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv on July 19-20. More than 120 hackers are expected to participate in the 24-hour event, which is designed to leverage open data to foster greater collaboration, engagement and transparency. It is supported by the Schusterman Philanthropic Network and Israel-based Hasadna – The Public Knowledge Workshop.

Friday Night Hack will bring the do-gooder hacking culture of creating open-source, open-data software and applications for positive change to community projects related to Israel and the wider Jewish world. It will also begin to build a global network of hackers committed to devoting time and talent to strengthening communities across the Jewish world and Israel. For more information, please visit the Hackathon website at:

Hackathons, also known as codefests, bring together developers, designers, programmers, coders and others with expertise in software development to collaborate intensively on building innovative technology-based applications for public use. Hackathons are often designed to address specific social, business, civic and education challenges.

“Our support for Friday Night Hack is rooted in our belief that technology, innovation and entrepreneurship have a key role to play addressing global challenges,” said Seth Cohen, Director of Network Initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which is part of the Schusterman Philanthropic Network. “It is an amazing opportunity to bring together the innovation capitals of Tel Aviv and the greater Silicon Valley to hack for a good cause and to open up a flow of ideas between the innovation sector and the power, drive and creativity surfacing in the Jewish world.”

Friday Night Hack will feature projects within two main channels – one focused on strengthening the global Jewish community and the other on Israel. Hackers in each location can choose which channel to work on.

The event’s organizers are currently accepting proposals for the Jewish Channel, looking for apps that will engage young Jewish adults around the world. One project that has already been selected is “Open Dorms: College Roommate Finder App,” an application being developed to help Jewish students to find roommates in college with similar backgrounds and interests.

One of the tasks the hackers will take on for the Israel Channel is a collaborative push to work on the design and coding for “Open Muni – Open Budget,” an application created to make Israeli municipal budgets more transparent and accessible so local citizens can know more about how their funds are allocated and spent.

Friday Night Hack will open with a Shabbat dinner in each location and close 24 hours later with presentations during a wrap-up event. In the Bay Area, the hackathon is hosted in partnership with the innovation committee of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. Because participants will work with open-source code, there will be opportunities following the hackathon to continue building on what is developed.

“Open Muni – Open Budget will strengthen leaders and citizens alike in Israel’s local municipalities by providing a platform that will allow sharing and social interaction with the budget and spending,” said Yuval Admon, CEO of Hasadna. “The technology behind it can also be adapted and adopted in municipalities around the world to provide a similar type of transparency. It is another example of how hackathons are a great way to get developers, coders and content creators together, working on building ideas into web and mobile applications and channeling creative energy into making our communities a better place.”

To submit a proposal for the Jewish Channel, please visit the Hackathon website at:

Print Friendly
Pin It
Send to Kindle


  1. Michael Jankelowitz says

    What a shame that this event is taking place over Shabbat.None of the numerous Shabbat observant “hackers” will be able to participate in this event.There is a consensus among all the major recognized Jewish organizations and religious streams that Shabbat is not publicly desecrated.The Schusterman Foundation is the major funder of Hillel,AIPAC’s college program,ROI community and other programs for young Jewish adults which all refrain from publicly desecrating the Sabbath.Why this sudden break from the consensus?

  2. Daniel T. Allen says

    I’m with Michael Jankelowitz. The best Jewish coders I know (who are most involved in Jewish communal life) are Shabbat observant. Would it be that challenging to host a motzei shabbes hack? I guess it doesn’t sound as cool?

  3. Shayna says

    Again, embarrassing that is over Shabbat. In addition to the scores of amazing computer people it excludes, this program goes against Jewish values, of the importance of rest and reflection on Shabbat. Shabbat is the ultimate hack on modern life, and I wish Schusterman would understand that. Really unfortunate.

  4. Lisa (From Chicago) says

    Clearly, this event is for people who couldn’t participate in such an important event on any other day of the week. My son works in hi-tech and I can say this as a fact.
    What would you suggest: to cancel the whole thing just because it’s during Shabbat? Shouldn’t we be proud and joyful of the fact that these young talented Jews, most of whom are not religious, are doing something remarkable for the Jewish people?

  5. Bob says

    @Lisa (From Chicago)…

    Your argument doesn’t hold water. They could just as easily run the thing from Saturday night through Sunday. Or scheduled it for a 3-day weekend, or run it from Friday through Sunday with an option to attend only part of it, or any number of other options.

    To deliberately exclude Sabbath observers from an event like this is just insensitive and demonstrates a lack of creativity or interest from the conveners to engage with anything but a tiny sliver of the Jewish community.

  6. Dvir says

    No, Mr Bob, your argument doesn’t hold water. Didn’t someone ever tell you that people work on Sundays in Israel?

  7. Bob says

    @dvir: The conveners could have run it from Friday through Sunday with an option to attend only part of it, or run the “Israel Channel” track starting Friday night and the “Community/Jewish Channel” starting Saturday night.

    Your post is 100% correct, but it shows that the organizers were much more concerned about attracting secular Israelis and Americans than the wide swath of the Jewish community the claim to be hoping to enable.

    Frankly, that’s their prerogative — but they can’t and shouldn’t pitch it as helping to build a “global network of hackers committed to devoting time and talent to strengthening communities across the Jewish world and Israel” when they’re by design excluding a portion of the community.