The Eternal Launch of the “New Website”

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In the same way department stores dress their windows each season, showcasing new merchandise and reflecting global trends to sell their wares, our virtual shop window needs constant attention, investment and redevelopment. By Louise Szczerb Recently I found myself in a meeting of Program Directors at Pardes and I reported that we were shortly due to be relaunching our website. A colleague quipped, “You always seem to be re-launching the website.” At first, I questioned the statement and then said, “Yes we are, and isn’t it fantastic!” Shortly after I joined Pardes six and half years ago, we embarked on a major branding overhaul. It was a mammoth task: finding the right design agency, getting budgets approved and involving those at every level including board members in Israel and … [Read more...]

First Jewish App Released for New Apple Watch

A much-anticipated Jewish app for the new Apple Watch was released on Wednesday night by Chabad.org’s app team, the first of its kind. (Concept Image)

By Menachem Posner Watch out! Watch this! Many clever lines will draw attention to the novelty of the upcoming Apple Watch, but right now, all eyes can turn to the first Jewish app for the new gadget, which will make the technology even handier for many users. Released on Wednesday night, a much-anticipated Jewish app for the watch was launched by Chabad.org’s app team, bringing together the 3,000-year-old Jewish calendar with the hottest new item in technology these days: wearables. The first of its kind, the “Hayom” app (Hebrew for today) for the Apple Watch harnesses Apple’s latest product with Chabad.org’s extensive Torah knowledge. The amalgam of the two was a natural. After all, the observance of Judaism’s rituals revolves heavily around precise adherence to the clock: Make a blessing … [Read more...]

“Mobilegeddon” is Almost Here; Is Your Organization Ready?

Google Developers screenshot; April 15, 2005

Jewish Federations of North America; Chicago, Los Angeles and New York Federations among a multitude of organizations not prepared (confirmed by Google Developers April 15, 2015) The event that the Search industry has dubbed “Mobilegeddon” is almost upon us. Beginning April 21st, Google will be updating its algorithm to increase its emphasis on “mobile friendliness” when ranking search results. If your site is not mobile-friendly, it could be penalized and not appear up high in Google search results. If a potential supporter or a client in need is searching for you using their phone, they may not be able to find you easily. Remember, user experience is key! (Nothing is worse than having a site visitor click through and be unable to navigate to where they want to go.) … [Read more...]

Jewish Day School Educators, Tech Professionals and HS Students to Prototype New Ways to Use Technology

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The Atid Day School Innovation Challenge, a joint initiative of PresenTense Group and The Jewish Education Project with the support of UJA-Federation of New York, is hosting a Hackathon to highlight and encourage innovation in Jewish day schools. The Hackathon, which will be held at Impact Hub on Monday, May 18th, will convene day school educators, technology experts and high school students for a day of prototyping and testing innovative solutions to educational challenges using the principles of Design Thinking. The day-long event will focus on a core question: How might we use technology to enhance Jewish day school education? Participants will pitch ideas and form diverse teams around shared interests. With guidance from an experienced Hackathon facilitator and support from staff and mentors, … [Read more...]

New Report Identifies Emerging Nonprofit Digital Strategy Landscape and Trends

Digital Outlook Report 2015

Digital is, now more than ever, an inherent component of effective organizations. A new report offers seven steps for nonprofit digital strategy success in 2015. The findings - released by Care2, hjc, and NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network - compiles responses from nearly 500 individuals that work in the nonprofit sector about their outlook for 2015 in regards to their staffing, strategies, tools, and more. The findings reveal that despite digital strategy being a growing priority in nonprofits this growth is not consistent across organizations in terms of staffing, tools, and strategies. 56% of survey respondents (all from nonprofit organizations) reported that they do not have any staff dedicated to digital strategy, but some of it has to do with size, where 66% of respondents from … [Read more...]

Technology and the Jewish Holidays: Insights from Text Me: Judaism and Technology

By Dr. Jeffrey Schein On March 6-7 there will be a national focus on an unplugged Shabbat, spearheaded by Reboot and a coalition of other organizations. We ought to celebrate this effort. I share none of the cynicism of a colleague who remarked somewhat quizzically “well, didn’t we have Shabbat before we had “unplugged Shabbat?” Nor was it really helpful when a more philosophically minded colleague pointed to Abraham Joshua Heschel’s volume Shabbat as having captured the value message that goes well beyond the behavioral dimension of Shabbat, a back-handed compliment to the unplugged Shabbat efforts if there ever was one. Learning new behaviors like turning off our technology on Shabbat requires a creative surround for the greater part of Jewry for whom shemirat Shabbat is neither organic nor … [Read more...]

It’s Official: Chabad.org Facebook Page Tops 100,000 ‘Likes’

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Content attracts followers from all over the world, who have responded to the content postings By Karen Schwartz Tuesday, Feb. 3 wasn’t just any day for the Chabad.org Facebook page. For one, it was the start of 15 Shevat that evening - the New Year of the Trees. If that wasn’t enough to celebrate, that same day also made a bit of Chabad history: It counted 100,000 Facebook users who had clicked the Like button. The milestone highlights Chabad.org’s ongoing role in current and emerging platforms to reach people around the world. “Thank G-d, we’ve been blessed with an engaged community - 100,000 people who want to learn, want to share and want to explore Judaism online,” says Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone, the 30-year-old social-media editor at Chabad.org. “I think it’s a chance to reflect … [Read more...]

Pew Releases Social Media Update

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In a new survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds that Facebook remains by far the most popular social media site. While its growth has slowed, the level of user engagement with the platform has increased. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn saw significant increases over the past year in the proportion of online adults who now use their sites. Facebook’s large base of users continues to be very active. Fully 70% engage with the site daily (and 45% do so several times a day), a significant increase from the 63% who did so in 2013. About half (49%) of Instagram users and 17% of Pinterest users engage with their respective platforms daily, although neither of these represent a significant change from 2013. Some 36% of Twitter users visit the site … [Read more...]