Coding the Next Iron Dome?

It is clear that there is every possibility that one of the people in the room could be the next Iron Dome inventor, and that their time in Israel has made them even more connected to the possibility of doing something big. Photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

A group of young 20-somethings stand in a Soho-like loft space in a tech incubator in South Tel Aviv, presenting the future of traffic to a panel of the Start Up Nation’s leading lights. The CTO of PayPal Israel is there (they are sponsoring the event), as is a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office, and so are several experts on the emerging field of smart cities. by Sara K. Eisen "Building Brilliant” is the theme of the day-long hackathon now culminating in what was supposed to be a rooftop cocktail party, but is now a modest meet and greet, because there is a war going on. But the participants are chill. “When the siren sounds we go and code in the shelter, and then we just move on,” says Kevin, a software engineering student from Montevideo with a shrug. Resilient, … [Read more...]

Just Released: A Guide to Synagogue Management Updates for 2014

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UJA-Federation of New York has released Volume 7 in their series of Innovations and Strategies for Synagogues of Tomorrow - A Guide to Synagogue Management: Research and Recommendations Updates for 2014. This report serves as an updated overview of the market for synagogues looking to implement new data-management systems, or those that want to learn more about how their current system compares to others on the market. Even as synagogues look to better understand the many ways technology can help them interact with and manage their congregations, the marketplace is changing, with new software options available all the time. UJA-Federation of New York, along with the Orthodox Union, Union for Reform Judaism, and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, retained Idealware to conduct research in order … [Read more...]

Buyer Beware: The Hidden Costs of Free Software for Nonprofits

by Gretchen Barry The Appeal and Illusion of Free When it comes to purchasing new software, many organizations do so to increase efficiency, save time, and reduce costs. This is particularly true of nonprofits, which often have limited staff and busy schedules. Enter “free” software: on its surface, a simple, cost-effective solution. However, free software isn’t always free, and nonprofit executives often learn this the hard way: after incurring costs from implementation, consultants, ancillary features, support, and ongoing maintenance. These costs add up to more than a solution with an upfront cost but long-term savings. Below are pitfalls to avoid and tips to help you select something that will be a better fit for you, your nonprofit, and your budget over the long haul. The … [Read more...]

Informing Ourselves: The 2014 Social Media Marketing Report

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I love benchmarks - it guides our industry and those of us working in it. A good set of benchmarking data informs future social media marketing decisions and helps us to rethink others. Social Media Examiner recently released the 2014 Social Media Marketing Report detailing how 3,025 business marketing professionals conduct social media marketing activities. The report reveals what platforms marketers are using, how much time they are spending on them, the perceived return on investment, what marketing jobs they outsource, and which marketing activities complement social media. How much time should we spend on social media? I’ve written that the “minimum viable” social media presence for an organization is a .25 FTE. NTEN’s 2012 Nonprofit Social Benchmarking Report confirmed that the majority … [Read more...]

The Ten Commandments of Social Media

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Reinventing my Social Media Presence: A Jewish Educator's Rant by Rabbi Arnold Samlan A hallmark of my work as a rabbi and Jewish educational leader has included the use of social media, be it as a blogger, and as a user of Facebook and Twitter. Social media gives me the tools to stay in touch with colleagues and former students, to share and learn from others, and to test out new ideas. At the same time, I use it as a social network and have developed some meaningful friendships that have become part of my “real life.” Over the period of a few months, I became increasingly sensitive to the “dark side” of social media. In a few seemingly innocent discussions, friends of mine were told that they were behaving “Nazi-like” or “like Capos”. And I noticed that more frequently posts or comments … [Read more...]

The Role of the Educator and the Selfie at Auschwitz

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by Sharna Marcus A headline in an Israeli news website today reads, “Facebook page ridicules Israelis’ selfies at Auschwitz.” Someone created a Facebook page filled with pictures of Israeli teens taking either photos of themselves or others posing at death camps. The photos were taken from social media sites and then added to this page. I went to the page itself and expected to see documented evidence of inappropriate behavior, but I was wrong and so is the person who launched the page to mock the teens and so are the commentators who are using this as ammunition for the tired cliché, “What is wrong with this generation?” A little background: Many Israeli and Jewish teenagers from all over the world make a pilgrimage of sorts to sites in Europe where Jewish communities existed and to the … [Read more...]

Why Do We Love Chabad.org? Let Us Count 613 Ways!

Chabad.org homepage, June 3, 2014

by Robert Evans This July 1st, the third of Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar, marks the 20th Yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe, as he is most often called, is one of the most influential, far thinking, and yes, controversial (others might say: misunderstood) Jewish leaders of the modern era, and is widely credited for creating the concept of Jewish outreach. This milestone anniversary will certainly be marked by a flurry of events and activities in Jewish communities worldwide but this year also represents another less well-known but important milestone: it has been 20 years since Chabad-Lubavitch began using the chabad.org domain name to educate Jews around the globe. (I’m told that Chabad.org is actually one of the last big projects the Rebbe gave … [Read more...]

Using POST to Create a Social Media Strategy

The POST method is an easy-to-remember framework for creating your strategy.

by John Haydon There seem to be countless tools available for social media marketers. Tools for managing social media, measuring it, and even for creating content that looks amazing! Yes, technology can seem like a godsend. But if you don’t have a solid strategy, you’re going to waste a lot of money on a lot of tools that promise a lot of results. What does a social media strategy look like? The POST method (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) was originally coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book Groundswell (Harvard Business Review Press) is a proven framework for developing a social media strategy. People You can’t achieve even a basic level of success on social media if you don’t understand your people. No one will like, retweet, or repin your blog post if … [Read more...]