Is Your Synagogue Homepage Welcoming?

welcome 2

By Molly Ritvo Your website is the front door for prospective members. They may have heard about your synagogue from their real estate agent when they were shopping for a new home, from new friends at a party or from a colleague at work. And where do they go to check out your synagogue? Chances are the first interaction they will have with you is through your website. Is your website ready to welcome them and make the best first impression? Your homepage opens the front door of your synagogue and tells the story of your community. Are you giving a warm welcome online? Below are some easy ways to create a more welcoming homepage: Create a featured slideshow or video of compelling images from your community that creates a vibrant header on your home page. Think of this area as the trailer … [Read more...]

Facebook Problems, Israeli Solutions: How My Nonprofit Leveraged Israeli Technology to Launch a Social Media Platform for Under $1,000


By Bradley Caro Cook Not long ago, Birthright Alumni experienced something of a social media tragedy when Facebook launched its new platform. Group policies shifted, and administrators were responsible for renewing their groups or they wouldn't carry over to the new and improved site. Many administrators were unaware of the new policy, and the result was unfortunate: thousands of Birthright Israel alumni who had relied on Facebook pages to stay connected watched their groups disappear, and with no follow-up framework for them to reconnect, countless relationships were lost. Hearing the stories of long-lost buses, I hoped to integrate a strong social media component into my organization, Project Beyond, a week-long personalized Israel trip extension, often tacked onto the end of a Birthright … [Read more...]

Connecting to Young Jews Like Me is an Online Experience

By Raina Blumenthal Every Jewish organization I have been involved with post high school I first found out about by looking at their website. Like many other people in my generation I’ve grown up spending a lot of time on the Internet. Statistics show that the average American teen spends 7 hours a day on their electronics (phone, computer, and tablet). While I was involved in my Jewish community as a child by having a bat mitzvah and attended JCC camp, as I got older and moved away from home, I relied on the Internet to find new opportunities to connect with the Jewish community. Through Internet searches I found and signed up to become a camp staff member, a Hillel student leader, went to Israel on Birthright and even signed for a MASA Israel program. While I was living in Israel I found a … [Read more...]

Googlers turn Jewglers at Google’s London HQ

Jewish Interactive

Jewish Interactive hosted their second annual dinner at Google HQ London last week, raising awareness of their work transforming Jewish education with technology. Having created apps that have been downloaded in 850 cities around the world so far, the evening was a celebration of the impact they are having on UK Jewish education and beyond. Hosting a panel of Jewish leaders and parents from Microsoft, Google, InTu and Skype, the topic of “Raising Jewish Children in the Digital Age” was debated and the idea of a digital Sabbath discussed. Saul Klein explained how the jobs of the future are rapidly changing, affecting the school curriculum and how children are being taught. Andy Hart, Vice President of Microsoft agreed, insisting that children are leading the way in this arena and it is … [Read more...]

The Eternal Launch of the “New Website”


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’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’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’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


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...]