Hillel Fuld in TechCrunch: Despite Unrest the Israeli Tech Ecosystem is Growing

From TechCrunch:

Over the past few months, violence has once again scarred Israel and the Palestinian Territories, yet despite the violence and the losses on both sides of the conflict, technology companies in the region are flourishing.

Israeli rounds of financing, both into Israeli companies and from local investors are on the rise.

Several Israeli VCs announced new funds over the past two months including Pitango’s new growth fund of $250 million, Carmel’s fourth fund of $194m, and Singulariteam’s launch of a $30 million late-stage investment fund.

What is important to note is that all three of these new funds were announced during the latest round of violence, and all three bring global investors as partners of the fund.

Israel Technology Innovation

On the funding side, Israel has seen some relatively larger rounds of financing and at higher valuations, all while it attempts as a country to deal with the challenges of of violence and regional instability. SimilarWeb, a company valued at $400m announced a $25 million round of financing. Moovit, one of Israel’s fastest growing startups raised its latest financing from Sound Ventures.

In its latest report, the IVC-KPMG Survey revealed that Israeli startups have collectively raised $1.1 billion in Q3 of 2015, just short of the $1.12 billion that was raised by Israeli startups last quarter. In the first three quarters of 2015, 506 Israeli startups have collectively raised $3.2 billion, compared to $2.3 billion at this time last year. This is a country the size of New Jersey.

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Top Jewish Twitter Users 2016

William Daroff TwitterWilliam Daroff @daroff

Followers: 41.6K

Type: Politics/Jewish Washington DC and Vegan Food

Recent Tweet: “Scene at the 2015 White House Hanukkah Parties .”

William Daroff is Senior Vice President for Public Policy & Director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America (@JFederations), but he’s also become Mr. Inside the Beltway for the Jewish community. Some of his tweets are sent from inside his D.C. office, but most are tweeted from his table at the Char Bar kosher restaurant where a vegan burger is named for him, inside a policy briefing on Capital Hill or from the back of an Uber car.


rabbi-dan-ainRabbi Dan Ain @rabbidan

Followers: 54.9K

Type: New Age Judaism, NYC and Pop Culture

Recent Tweet: “Because Friday Night should be filled with good conversation, lit candles and rock stars. https://t.co/el1ck85J6a”

Preacher and connector, Rabbi Dan Ain gathers those who are open to being reached. He finds holiness in honest conversation, in the spaces where people can say what they really think and allow others to do the same. His latest project Because Jewish creates opportunities for our religious perspectives to be in genuine dialogue with our artists, our thinkers and our everyday lives.


rabbi-jason-miller-twitterRabbi Jason Miller @rabbijason

Followers: 26.9K

Type: Technology, Politics, Israel, Sports, Pop Culture and Humor

Recent Tweet: “The menorah bong makes Hanukkah a high holiday http://www.religionnews.com/2015/12/10/menorah-bong-makes-hanukkah-high-holiday.”

A Rabbi who’s also a Blogger, Writes for Time & Huffington Post, a Social Media Marketing Entrepreneur, Owns @ Technology & @.


aipac twitterAIPAC @aipac

Followers: 54.7K

Type: Israel and Politics

Recent Tweet: “Product Labeling: The Newest Attack on

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States.


Peres-Official-PictureShimon Peres @PresidentPeres

Followers: 58K

Type: Israel and Peace

Recent Tweet: Tomorrow night, the people of Israel will be able to celebrate #Passover safely and peacefully thanks to your hard work #IDF

The former Israeli President Shimon Peres and nonagenarian keeps is no longer active on Twitter (which means his staff isn’t), but it’s still a fun account to check out.

 


jewish-tweetsJewish Tweets @JewishTweets

Followers: 57.1K

Type: Jewish News and Lifestyle

Recent Tweet: “Reminder for : Light your menorah first with the blessings. Then the Shabbat candles and prayers.”

JewishTweets is a pretty good little blog, looking at contemporary Judaism and Jewish life in our crazy world. It’s worth checking out if you are interested in more religious-focused discussions than what you’ll get here at ShalomLife. But their Twitter feed is a great resource, pulling stories from the top Jewish sites around the web. Every story is either a celebration of Jewish accomplishments, important news, or just a great article about being Jewish. Jewish Tweets is simply a nice place on the internet to be, and you’ll always leave with a smile. Difficult to do sometimes in the cynical world of the internet, but Jewish Tweets does it.


estherk twitterEsther Kustanowitz @EstherK

Followers: 16.7K

Type: Jewish Women, Blogging, Humor and Pop Culture

Recent Tweet: “Now I’m on a plane in coach next to dudes with a fistful of slim jims who are talking a/b barfing on planes.

Esther Kustanowitz is a writer, blogger, and self described as “pretty darn Jewy.” Her Twitter is acts as a feed for the best articles out there for Jewish internet users more than anything else. She peruses the internet all day, everyday, finding interesting reads. Sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes thought provoking, Esther K’s recommendations are usually more than worth clicking, and always high quality.


rabbi-joshua-stantonRabbi Joshua Stanton JoshuaMZStanton

Type: Jewish Women, Blogging, Humor and Pop Culture

Recent Tweet: “Now I’m on a plane in coach next to dudes with a fistful of slim jims who are talking a/b barfing on planes.

Stanton is Assistant Rabbi at TBJ Short Hills. He’s also a co-Leader @, co-founder @, and a blogger at ‘s Religion Vertical.

 


aaron david miller twitterAaron David Miller @aarondmiller2

Followers: 12.9K

Type: Politics, Israel, Public Policy

Recent Tweet: “Talk of defeating ISIS/jihadis surreal. Can no more “win” war on terror than war on drugs/crime. Survive it w/values/security intact.”

VP & Distinguished Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Fmr. Middle East negotiator under Republican & Democratic administrations.


rabbi shmuley boteach twitterRabbi Shmuley Boteach @RabbiShmuley

Followers: 243K

Type: Politics, Torah, Israel

Recent Tweet: “Characterizing antisemitic acts as a response to something Jews did doesn’t explain antisemitism. It reproduces it.”

Rabbi Shmuley, who Newsweek & WaPo call ”the most famous Rabbi in America,” is a world-renowned author of 30 books, a broadcaster & a relationship expert.


Rabbi Phyllis SommerRabbi Phyllis Sommer @ImaBima

Followers: 5.3K

Type: Jewish Women, Blogging, Motherhood

Recent Tweet: “ we are available all day in the Kikar! Shave your head

Jewish mommy blogger Phyllis Sommer blogs and tweets about her family and their real-life Jewish living. She also writes heartfelt blog posts at SupermanSam’s blog — a blog she started about her forever-8-year-old son died of cancer. Rabbi Phyllis Sommer coined the hashtag #whatrabbisdo.


Ruth Messinger TwitterRuth Messinger @Ruth_Messinger

Followers: 47.3K

Type: Social Activism

Recent Tweet: “Wonderful to have my dear friend, extraordinary leader & winner visit today! “

President of . Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, AJWS works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.


Jewish Insider Jews Gossip


Jewish Insider @J_Insider

Followers: 16.7K

Type: Jewish Gossip, Washington DC, Social Life

Recent Tweet: “ at White House Hanukkah Party “

Part of the Jewish Journal of L.A., the Jewish Insider covers U.S. political & business news with a Jewish angle. Think of it as the Jewish version of Page Six. If you want to know which Jews were at the annual Hanukkah Party at the White House, the Jewish Insider will be your trusted source.



hadassah twitterHadassah @Hadassah

Followers: 4.4K

Type: Jewish Women and Israel

Recent Tweet: “Hadassah Hospital designed a course that alleviated stress and burnout among their staff. The results were shocking!

The power of women who heal. The power of women who advocate. The power of women who lead. The power of women for Israel. The Women’s Zionist Organization of America is an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization. Founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold.


Rabbi David Wolpe TwitterRabbi David Wolpe @RabbiWolpe

Followers: 11.1K

Type:Torah, Spirituality & Politics

Recent Tweet: “Longest Birkat Hamazon of the year tomorrow. Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, Hanukkah. Eat quickly.

Rabbi Wolpe is an author, public speaker and rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. Named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine (2012) and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post(2012), Wolpe was named one of The Forward’s 50, and one of the hundred most influential people in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine. Author of seven books and a frequent television guest,


Jewish Forward TwitterThe Jewish Daily Forward @JDForward

Followers: 37.1K

Type: Jewish News

Recent Tweet: “The hit podcast Serial is back – just in time for

Covering Jewish news, opinion, life and culture.


reuven werber edutech jewish twitterReuven Werber @reuw

Followers: 2.4K

Type: Education/Technology

Recent Tweet: “Six ideas educators can use this Hanukkah from EDUCATORS21c |

Reuven ​Werber tweets about edu-tech. He’s the Pedagogy and Content Editor of the MOFET JTEC Jewish Education Portal and a member of the MOFET International staff. He also serves as the coordinator of educational technology at Neveh Channah HS for girls.



Tablet Magazine - Jewish TwitterTablet Magazine @TabletMag

Followers: 37.8K

Type: Jewish News and Opinion

Recent Tweet: “Why is the holiday of renewable energy:

Tablet magazine is an American Jewish general interest online magazine sponsored by Nextbook.[1] Launched in June 2009, it is the successor magazine to Nextbook.


yloveY-Love @ylove

Followers: 16.4K

Type: Hip Hop, LGBT, Music

Recent Tweet: “Garrison Keillor is making fun of Donald Trump. Again. LOL. it’s cute. He’s getting thrown out the race by Bush & Cheney.

Yitz Jordan: world changer, Jewish gay MC making positive hiphop. Soc. media dev-activist. My goal: to positively impact as many lives as possible.


kvellerKveller @kveller

Followers: 9.3K

Type: Jewish parenting advice and opinion

Recent Tweet: Hebrew names that are gender neutral.


jewliciousJewlicious @Jewlicious

Followers: 21.6K

Type: Hip Jewish Culture, Music

Recent Tweet: “Fresh Post- Stephen Colbert Celebrates The Third Night Of Hanukkah with Andy Cohen

Jewlicious is a grassroots organization changing the way young adults affiliate and participate in Jewish life.


Ambassador Dan ShapiroAmbassador Dan Shapiro @AmbShapiro

Followers: 25.4K

Type: Israel, Diaspora Relations

Recent Tweet: “Today, we can be more confident that this planet is going to be in better shape for the next generation.” —

U.S. Ambassador to Israel.


Rabbi LatzRabbi Adam Latz @RavMABAY

Followers: 1.7K

Type: Jewish Life, Spiritual Progressive Activism, LGBT, Torah

Recent Tweet: “Rabbi Jacobs: “I’m proud of how we’re making an important difference in a troubled world.”

Rabbi Latz has been Shir Tikvah’s Senior Rabbi since July 2009. He brings to the congregation boundless energy, heartfelt compassion, and commitment to fostering an authentic and engaging Jewish experience.


Rabbi Shmuly YanklowitzRabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz @RavShmuly

Followers: 1.3K

Type: Torah, Social Activism, Politics

Recent Tweet: “Heard about the inspiring leadership of Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, VP ?

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the President & Dean of , Founder & President of , and the Founder & CEO .

Why is the holiday of renewable energy:

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Jimmy Carter’s Cancer Cured By Israeli Breakthrough Drug

By Raoul Wootliff and the AP in the Times of Israel

Researched in Israel by Professor Jacob Schachter of the Ella Institute for melanoma treatment and research at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Keytruda is part of a promising new class of drugs called immunotherapies, which harness the body’s immune system to help fight cancer.

The US-based Merck pharmaceutical company’s injectable biotech drug works by blocking a protein found in certain tumors called PD-1, which inhibits the body’s natural response to cancer cells.

Jimmy Carter Israel

Carter, 91, announced Sunday that doctors found no evidence of the four lesions discovered on his brain this summer and no signs of new cancer growth. He revealed in August that he had been diagnosed with melanoma and had begun treatment, including surgery to remove part of his liver, targeted radiation therapy and doses of a recently approved drug to help his immune system seek out any new cancer cells.

“I will continue to receive regular 3-week immunotherapy treatments of pembrolizumab,” he said. That drug goes by the name Keytruda commercially.

“For today, the news cannot be better,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “Circumstances may change over time or he may be in a situation where it does not recur for many years or at all.”

Carter said he will continue to receive Keytruda every three weeks in order to prevent the growth of further tumors.

Melanoma specialists credit the drug for improving treatment of the disease without the side effects of traditional chemotherapy drugs that can cause hair loss and other symptoms, said Dr. Douglas Johnson, a melanoma specialist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center who is not involved with Carter’s treatment.

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Insights from sFBI’s Natalie Edward during Content Israel 2015 Conference

By Alan Weinkrantz

Due to travel, I missed the Content Israel 2015 Conference, I really wanted to attend. If you are a startup, or for that matter, any company or organization looking at your content strategies for 2016, there’s a lot you can learn from sFBI’s Natalie Edwards.

Natalie is Marketing Director for sFBI, a Tel Aviv-based startup studio that’s building startups that solve everyday problems. She’s currently at work on Pulse Play, a smartwatch for racket sport players, Bosco, a parental insights app, and Carehood, a platform for helping loved ones in their times of need. She can be found on Twitter at @natalieanneink.

I caught with Natalie through an email interview and here’s what she learned and shared.

What were you doing at Content Israel 2015?

My training is as a journalist and I’ve always felt like I get the most out of conferences when I write about them.

It also gives me an excuse to talk to everybody.

Natalie Edwards - Israel

Of course, since I’m working around the clock as a Marketing Manager at a startup studio, any conferences I go to better be aligned with my day job. I offered to write a few stories for the Content Israel organizer and he accepted.

What can people learn for their content strategy in 2016?

There’s no excuse for not thinking strategically about content marketing.

Tools are plentiful and inexpensive, and the content marketers behind marketing software are there giving out free advice left and right.

You need to watch out, of course, for the fluff: “be authentic,” “write engaging content,” etc, but over time you develop a hawk-eye.

I spoke to Matt Barby from Hubspot, Chris Moody from Oracle Marketing Cloud, and Carlos Abner from 3M – they are all very nice guys that all marketers should follow.

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Robots and Drones Get the Gift of Israeli Machine Sight

By David Shamah in The Times of Israel

Robots that move around and do the heavy lifting, drones that drop off stuff you ordered on-line an hour before, self-driving cars, even self-driven vacuum cleaners that don’t bump into the furniture – it’s all part of the big technology revolution that 3D vision is on the verge of bringing to the world. And according to Igal Iancu, a senior manager on Intel’s RealSense 3D vision tech team, based in Haifa, none of it is going to be possible without a heavy dose of made-in-Israel technology.

“Israel is a hub of innovation in machine vision, chip development, and 3D technology,” Iancu told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview. “Israel was the natural place for the development of RealSense, which combines hardware and software to bring human-like senses to personal devices, so they can experience the world like we do.

Brian Krzanich, the chief executive of Intel

Brian Krzanich, the chief executive of Intel

The idea of RealSense, said Iancu, is to enable devices to “see” in the same way humans do. “When we look at the world around us, our brains automatically build a 3D model of our surroundings,. They identify objects like people, animals, and pieces of furniture and figure out how big and far away they are. By introducing Intel RealSense 3D cameras, Intel is enabling devices to see like us, so they can understand the people using them and the world around them. This will allow us to interact with our devices in a much more natural way and have an immersive experience.”

RealSense sees the distance between objects, separating objects from the background layers behind them. This gives much better object, facial and gesture recognition than a traditional camera, according to the company. This visual data, creates a touch-free interface that responds to – and understands – hand, arm, and head motions as well as facial expressions.

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8 Great Jewish Apps for 8 Nights of Hanukkah

Let’s make Hanukkah a chai-tech holiday and list 8 great mobile apps for the Members of the Tribe. From the silly to the practical, here are 8 apps you’ll want if you’re a Jew in the Digital Age:

Best Jewish Apps1) BETA MIDRASH (Download from Google Play for Android)

BetaMidrash is revolutionizing the mobile Torah learning experience with one of largest libraries of Torah and Jewish texts on a mobile device. It has tens of thousands of English translations, and half a million connections between the texts. It boasts a user friendly design, easy jumping between connected sources, and advanced searching to help you find what you’re looking for quickly, it is the best places to study Torah on the go. (The text library is from Sefaria.org).

 

2) SYNAGOGUES FINDER (Download from Apple Store for iOS) (Download from Google Play for Android)

Are you a wandering Jew? Are you searching a community? Are you looking for a synagogue Hebrew School to send junior? Whether you’re traveling or new in town, Synagogues Finder shows you the closest shuls in the area.

 

3) YIDDISH SLANG  (Download from Apple Store for iOS) (Download from Google Play for Android)

Don’t be a schmuck and just download this Yiddish app! Yiddish is a mashup of Hebrew and German and is a pretty colorful way to put things. It has definitions and quizzes to make sense of the mishigas that is Yiddish. Be warned that there’s no pronunciation guide so you might end up sounding like a shlameel.

 

4) IS IT KOSHER? (Download from Apple Store for iOS) (Download from Google Play for Android)

There are over half a million kosher certified products on the market and dozens of trustworthy rabbis have their own kosher certification agency with different kosher standards. The Is It Kosher? app is available on both Android and iPhone/iPad and is a must-have app for the kosher consumer. The user either enters the name of the product or scans the product’s UPC code (bar code) to determine if the product is kosher or treif.

 

5) EMOJEW  (Download from Apple Store for iOS) (Download from Google Play for Android)

Like them or hate them, emojis are here to stay. The younger generation loves emojis and they use them all the time in text messages and Facebook posts. However, aside from the Israeli flag, there really are no Jewish emojis. Now you can have all the Jewish emojis you want from holiday symbols to kosher food items to religious icons. With Emojew, you’ll never feel farklempt sending a text to your rabbi again!

 

6) JDATE APP  (Download from Apple Store for iOS) (Download from Google Play for Android)

Spark Networks’ JDate is the Jewish dating website responsible for more Jewish marriages than all other dating sites combined — now makes it even easier for Jewish singles to meet, chat, message, connect and date! As the preferred Jewish dating app, JDate is the go-to place for Jewish men and women looking for a fun romance, a serious relationship, or even love and marriage.

 

7) RUSTY BRICK’S SIDDUR AND LUACH APP (Download from Apple Store for iOS including Apple Watch) (Download from Google Play for Android)

Are you a Jew on the go? Well, now you can take your weekday siddur with you with this feature-packed Jewish prayer book. Includes weekday Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv, standard Brachot and more. Real time Z’manim will give you the prayer times for each day based on your location determined with the device’s GPS. A Minyanim database will help you find nearest shul. A Luach or Jewish Calendar will aid you in your prayer services. Like all Rusty Brick apps, their Siddur mobile app is easy and has quick navigation features.

 

8) JEWISH DAYS (Download from Apple Store for iOS)

Since the Jewish holidays change days drastically from year to year, so only God knows when the Jewish holidays are. And he’s old, so even he needs reminding. That’s why you both need Jewish Days (iOS). It gives you a complete list of the dates of Jewish and Israeli holidays and the meaning of each, as well as Shabbat candle-lighting times depending on your location.

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Pro-BDS Group Uses Israeli Platform Wix to Build Website

Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Denver deny being hypocritical. According to the university group, which supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement built a website for its activities using the free Israeli website builder Wix, according to the Times of Israel website.

The successful Tel Aviv-based company provides a platform for free website building and reportedly has over 50 million users as of 2014.

The Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Denver recently set up a website using the service, prompting criticism that it was not really practicing BDS.

The group published a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday defending its actions and linking to a longer statement by the group’s branch at Cornell University in New York State two years ago, which was slammed for the same thing.

“Let us be clear: BDS is not abstention, nor an absolute moral principle. It is not isolation or withdrawal, and it does not entail a rejection of everything Israeli. It is not anti-Semitic, and it has nothing to do with the merits of Israeli technology. BDS is not the attempt of beautiful souls to avoid contamination with oppression and keep their own hands clean: it is a tactic within a larger strategy, and it is beginning to work,” the group posted from the Cornell statement on Facebook.

“The idea that supporters of BDS must avoid contact with anything Israeli not only misconstrues the nature of BDS, but also contorts the idea of politics in general,” SJP at Cornell wrote in its longer statement.

BDS group uses Wix for anti-Israel website

BDS group uses Wix for anti-Israel website

 

“Those who call us hypocritical for not adhering to a rigid logic of separation simplistically insinuate that if one believes in boycotting Israel one must do it absolutely and deprive oneself of all the innovative benefits of the ‘Start-up Nation’; since one is opposed to Israel, one must not be in contact with anything Israeli,” it added.

The website for SJP at the University of Denver was still up and running on Wix as of Friday morning.

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Holiday Gift Guide (Technology Edition)

The holiday shopping season is in full effect. Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, December 6 this year, which means if you’re shopping for Hanukkah observers you have about three weeks fewer to shop for gifts.Since we’re knee deep in the Digital Age that means a non-technology gift will be relegated to the category of the infamous holiday fruitcake this year, but fear not because there are a lot of options for fun and exciting tech gadgets this Christmas and Hanukkah season.

There are also a lot of practical tech gifts that your friends and family are sure to appreciate. This year’s hot gifts will be flat-screen TVs, smartphones, gaming systems, tablets, headphones, speakers, wearables and drones. As a techie who loves trying out the latest gadgets, I have put together a list of the best tech gifts for holiday shoppers this season. These gifts range in price so there’s something for everyone.

Note: Prices might be lower during the holiday season and search for bargains online.

BEBOP DRONE (PARROT)
Drones have been in the news a lot lately and pretty soon you might have to register your drone for safety reasons. While a drone might not be the type of thing everyone is racing out to buy for themselves, they make great gifts. They’re fun to use and capture some amazing video footage that you’d otherwise never see (your kids playing a game of touch football on the beach in Florida for example). The Parrot Bebop is one of the most popular recreational use drones on the market because it’s small and lightweight. The quadcopter’s camera has been improved from previous drone models and has a 180-degree angle of view with a 14-megapixel sensor. You pilot this drone with a smartphone or tablet. It can reach speeds of around 45 mph. You’ll have to recharge the Bebop’s battery often between flights, but anyone who gets one this holiday season will enjoy capturing their friends on the ski slopes this winter. Price: $499 www.parrot.com

AIRBORNE CARGO DRONE (PARROT)
Drones can be pricey, making them a challenging option for children’s gifts this holiday season. That’s why Parrot has come out with a line of light-weight drones for kids. Their new line of Airborne drones connect via Bluetooth and are controlled with the free FreeFlight 3 app for smartphones and tablets. These mini-drones can be used both indoors and outdoors. A vertical camera compares, every 16 milliseconds, an image of the ground to the previous one to determine the speed of the Minidrone and also enables it to take snapshots, which are saved on the 1 Gb flash memory. The Airborne can only hit speeds of up to 11 mph, but kids will enjoy making it do tricks in the sky. Price: $99 www.parrot.com

CUBE PROJECTOR (RIF6)
There are many pocket sized projectors on the market, but the Cube is the first designed specifically for your smart devices, adapting the image resolution based on the connected smartphone or tablet. Your lucky friend who receives the Cube this Christmas or Hanukkah will be able to load a YouTube clip on their iPad and immediately host a movie night. Price: $299 www.rif6.com

LYRIC THERMOSTAT (HONEYWELL)
The Smart Home is the new rage, but your friends might be apprehensive about turning all their household appliances into 21st century smart devices. Help them slowly transform their home into the Digital Age and save them some money along the way. The round Lyric thermostat is very similar to the Nest, but has improved on that concept in several ways. It’s easy to install and configure, and it uses outdoor weather data for optimal heating and cooling. This Wi-Fi thermostat is controlled and monitored using an iOS or Android smartphone app, and uses your phone’s location services, known as geofencing, to save energy. It is very easy to configure the thermostat using the app, but there is no desktop app as of yet. The lucky recipient of this smart thermostat will also appreciate the reports on the app about their energy use. Price: $279 www.lyric.honeywell.com

ARLO HD SECURITY CAMERA (NETGEAR)
One of the best gifts to friends and family is the gift of security. Netgear’s Arlo is an impressive security system with battery-operated 720p-resolution, motion-sensing, night-vision-equipped, indoor/outdoor cameras. These pocket-sized cameras retain the resolution and on-demand video feed of a typically-tethered camera, but without the typical electrical cords. Arlo’s mobile app is simple, but impressive. The cameras can be used inside and outside the home or business to provide security. For many homes, the two-camera kit will be sufficient, but a there is a four-camera kit and additional cameras can be added for $160 each. Price: $329 www.arlo.com

NETATMO WELCOME CAMERA
The Welcome camera from Netatmo isn’t your typical security camera. Think of it more as a Nanny Cam that recognizes faces. It uses facial recognition to provide notifications about who’s in the home. All data is stored locally on an 8GB SD card included with the camera. Users can also watch a live stream in full HD quality to see motion in the house anywhere in its 130 degree field of view, even at night via infrared night vision. The Welcome compares well to the Nest Cam and both have easy-to-use mobile apps. This is an ideal gift for a family that wants to keep tabs on their kids at home alone or anyone who wants to see which workers are in their home – from the housekeeper and nanny to the painter and plumber. Price: $199 www.netatmo.com/en-US/product/camera

SAMSUNG SOUNDBAR WITH WIRELESS ACTIVE SUBWOOFER
Home entertainment systems used mean having professional installation to avoid seeing wires everywhere. Today, with the Samsung Soundbar with Wireless Active Subwoofer, enjoying high definition sound is simple. This is the perfect gift for a friend or relative who enjoys watching sports and movies with dynamic, surround sound. With the free Samsung Audio Remote App they will control the system from a phone. Price: $306.99 at Sears.com www.samsung.com

TIVO BOLT
TiVo Bolt ($200 less than the TiVo Roamio) lets multiple users record their favorite television shows and movies (four at once), as well as stream content from just about every provider. TiVo has loaded this unit with features that simply makes your standard cable box DVR seem like an 8-track player. Simply place a CableCARD into TiVo Bolt and there’s no more need for a cable box. It’s great for mobile TV viewing with the Android and iOS mobile app. Along with TV shows, Bolt gives you direct access to over-the-top streaming content through individual apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu Plus and more. Plus, Bolt is the first TiVo to support 4K-resolution video (2160p) from YouTube and Netflix. If your friend already has a TiVo in the house, the Bolt will connect to that unit as well to view recorded shows. Price: $299 for 500GB; $399 for 1TB www.tivo.com

MASTER & DYNAMIC ME05 EARPHONES
These are not your typical ear buds. If you’re looking for a gift for a friend who really appreciates high quality sound, they will love these earphones. They’re made from solid brass and hand-finished, these earphones feature a distinctive form with ergonomic and elegant details, including laser etching and mirrored accents that reflect light. A balanced weight distribution ensures a snug, comfortable fit. They are not inexpensive, but the quality fits the price. Price: $199 www.masterdynamic.com

REDFOX EDGE BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES
Know someone who enjoys music with their workout? This will be their most practical gift this holiday season. I fell in love with these headphones the first time I put them on. They actually stay in place during running! They are lightweight and comfortable with ultra-high quality sound, clarity and power. They also have a built-in microphone and a single button call-answering feature to be hands-free during calls, even when you’re 30 feet from your phone. With up to 8 hours run time on a 1-hour charge, these are the best Bluetooth headphones for active people. For under $20, add a Sports Sleeve to hold the phone during running or biking. Price: $119.99 (with hard case) www.redfoxwireless.com

LOGITECH Z533 MULTIMEDIA SPEAKERS
Desktop computers used to come packaged with cheap speakers, but today everyone wants to enjoy their music with better sound quality. These impressive room-filling speakers are designed for the music, games or movies on the computer. These are powerful little speakers with a front-facing subwoofer and easy to use volume dial. Price: $99.99 www.logitech.com

UE BOOM 2 (ULTIMATE EARS)
This is the ultimate portable Bluetooth speaker. It is great for parties, backyard BBQs or the football tailgate. I’ve been enjoying UE speakers for a long time and even have the smaller waterproof model (UE Roll) in the shower. The UE Boom 2 is rugged, but lightweight. With the mobile app, it’s going to be a top notch Christmas or Hanukkah gift this year. Price: $199 www.ultimateears.com

AUD MINI 6 PARTY (ILUV)
For a much less expensive speaker option, kids will enjoy this LED Bluetooth speaker from iLuv. It’s perfect to match up with a cellphone and comes in various fun colors. Not only is this a fun gift for kids and teens, it actually produces a high quality sound that they’ll enjoy. Price: $39.99 www.iluv.com

STAR WARS INTERACTIVE (THINKWAY TOYS)
The new animatronic Star Wars line from Thinkway Toys is the most technologically sophisticated Star Wars toy line ever created. Everyone is excited for the new Star Wars movie and these cool, responsive and interactive Star Wars figures will be one of the hottest toy gifts this holiday season. It’s available in all the popular Star Wars characters. Price: $139.99 www.thinkwaytoys.com

CYCLIQ FLY6 BICYCLE TAIL-LIGHT CAMERA
The Cycliq Fly6 Bicycle Tail­Light and Safety Camera Combo: Cycliq makes innovative cycling accessories and while the Fly6 HD camera and tail­light combo is ideal for cyclists, it will also prove useful for college students biking around campus. The Fly6 camera replaces your existing tail­light and records what happens behind your bike in real time. The camera provides great low light images featuring 1020 x 720 HD camera footage and dynamic audio recording. It comes with a USB­rechargeable battery (6 hours runtime), 8GB Class 10 microSD card, two seat post mounts for use on two bikes, and an Aero seat post adaptor. Price: $169 www.cycliq.com

SELFY iPHONE 6 CASE (ILUV)
Kids and teens love taking selfies and this wireless Bluetooth camera shutter remote with dual-layer protective case for the iPhone will be a fun, inexpensive gift this holiday season. Price: $39.99 www.iluv.com

PRONG PWR CASE
This iPhone case serves two purposes – it is a protective case and a detachable battery pack. I love that you don’t have to worry about a charging cable, but just plug your entire phone right into the electrical outlet. While it’s a little pricey for a phone case, remember you’re giving someone both a charger and a durable case all in one. $99.95 www.prong.com

ECHO POWER CONNECT MINI
If you’re looking for a quick and easy holiday gift that is practical, look no further than Echo’s power banks. No one is happy when their cellphone runs out of juice, so they’ll appreciate the gift of portable power. Many of the power banks on the market are heavy and therefore a hassle to carry around. Echo has figured out how to make high efficiency power banks that are lightweight. Price: $30 www.byecho.com

SMART SHAKER VIBRATING ALARM (ILUV)
This brand-new innovation from iLuv Creative Technology is ideal for kids, teens and college students. The SmartShaker alarm clock is controlled from a smartphone through an iOS app. Young people use their phone as an alarm clock, but what happens when it’s in another room? Smart Shaker is programmed via your Smart Phone and acts as an extension of your phone alarm even when your phone is in a different room being charged or set to silent. Available in five colors. Price: $19.99 www.iluv.com

iCLEVER 6-PORT WALL CHARGER
I love every product that iClever makes. They are all available for purchase on Amazon.com and are priced very affordably. I’ve placed these 6-port wall chargers around my home and office making it easy for guests to charge their devices. iClever also sells an assortment of car chargers, Bluetooth keyboards, Bluetooth earbud headphones, Bluetooth transmitters and portable speakers. $39.99 www.iclever.com

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Posted in Jewish Techs Blog

DavkaWriter 7 Wins Hebrew Word Processor Wars

One might think that rabbinical students spend much of their days sitting in the beit midrash arguing over sections of the Talmud containing the debates of the medieval sages. That’s only partially correct. When I was in rabbinical school, I remember the arguments we had (students and teachers) over which is the best Hebrew word processor.

When it comes to typing a document in English, the most popular choice is certainly Microsoft Word, with a minority of law firms and businesses still using WordPerfect. When it comes to typing a document in Hebrew (or mixing Hebrew text with English), there are a handful of options on the market. For years, there hasn’t been just one Hebrew word processor that really stands out.

Hebrew Word Processor for Windows 10 Davkawriter

I’ve had a chance to work with many of the Hebrew word processor applications out there and used Dagesh Pro (from TES Software) for many years and found it to be very good. Some of its impressive features include adding vowels automatically and the ability to include trope marks (cantillation notes). It comes with over 100 fonts and has a very good Microsoft Word filter and can save documents as HTML code.

For the Mac, Nisus Writer Pro (from Nisus Software, Inc.) is an impressive application. The latest version of Nisus came out in May and boasts the abilty to track changes within the document. The new version also comes with drawing tools and watermarks.

Both Nisus Writer Pro and Dagesh Pro offer free trial downloads of their software online. These two applications have certainly advanced in their capabilities in the past few years.

The best Hebrew word processor for Windows, however, is now DavkaWriter 7 (from Davka Corp.). This latest version of DavkaWriter, which was released in 2011 works perfectly on Windows 8 and Windows 10. It has over 25 new features and enhancements. They did a complete redesign of the application, allowing it to run faster and be much more user-friendly. Many of the improvements in DavkaWriter 7 are features that users have become accustomed to in Microsoft Word. In ealier versions of DavkaWriter, I found myself copying the text and pasting it into Word so I would have the use of all of Microsoft’s features. However, now the majority of those features are available within the DavkaWriter app itself.

DavkaWriter 7 includes screen capture, draggable document tabs, and a zoom slider for instant page adjustment. It features an accurate display of Hebrew vowels and cantillation marks, as well as a built-in text library of vocalized Hebrew texts (including the Tanakh, Mishnah and Siddur with the text of the Torah and Haftarah readings). It also comes with the Rashi commentary on the Chumash.

Whether you’re looking to use a Hebrew word precessor for scholarship or simply to type a few Hebrew words in a Hebrew font, DavkaWriter 7 is exceptionally easy to use. I tested it on Windows 7, Vista and XP without any problems. It sells online for $159 (comprable to Dagesh Pro), but discounts are available if you’re upgrading from a previous version. The competition for the best Hebrew word processor on Windows will likely continue as each company improves its product, but for now the answer is DavkaWriter.

Update: The following is information on DavkaWriter Mac Version:

DavkaWriter 7 for Mac is a specially modified version of our renowned Hebrew-English word processor that brings a rich set of Hebrew word processing features – including perfect nikud and trop placement, Hebrew-English spell checker, on-screen Hebrew/English keyboard, and built-in Jewish text library – to your Macintosh.

We’ve partnered with CodeWeavers, makers of the popular CrossOver Mac product, to create this special Mac-friendly version.

DavkaWriter 7 for Mac has most of the look and feel of a Mac program, and it uses familiar Mac keyboard commands — Command-P to print, Command-S to save, etc. While there are elements of the program that resemble its Windows origins, the program is easy to learn and use.

DavkaWriter 7 for Mac features:

  • Mac pull-down menus
  • Mac installer that installs DavkaWriter Mac to Applications folder
  • Files are saved in DavkaWriter folder in your Mac’s Documents folder
  • Uses Mac print drivers for standard printing and PDF export

DavkaWriter 7 for Mac includes most of the features that come with the regular DavkaWriter 7 for Windows, with the exception of FlexiText and thematic borders.

If you have DavkaWriter documents that you created on your Windows PC, they will open seamlessly in DavkaWriter 7 for Mac and go back to Windows just as easily. And if you’re new to DavkaWriter, you’ll enjoy the ease of use, convenient switching between Hebrew and English, and built-in text libraries including Tanach, Mishnah, Siddur, and Parashat HaShavua that have made DavkaWriter famous worldwide.

 

 

Built for Hebrew from the Ground Up!

 

  • Switch languages with a click
  • On-screen Hebrew keyboard
  • Nikud and trop align perfectly
  • Hebrew-English spell checker and individual word translator
  • Wide variety of Hebrew fonts, all with nikud and trop
  • Support for Shva-na, kamatz katan, and chataf-kamatz
  • Search and replace for nikud and trop
  • Individual coloring of nikud and trop characters
  • Look up Tanach and Mishnah by book, chapter, and verse
  • Hebrew/English footnote and page numbering
  • Hebrew/English sorting
  • Hebrew/English dates, using Jewish or secular calendar
  • Built-in Text Library and clip art included!

 

DavkaWriter 7 includes vowelized Hebrew texts, integrated into the program for instant access:

 

  • Tanach
  • Weekly Torah readings & Haftarot
  • Rashi on Chumash
  • Mishnah
  • Siddur
  • Also includes 350 photos and Judaic clip art images

 

Flexible and Powerful!

  • Open and edit DavkaWriter files on your Mac that were created with DavkaWriter for Windows
  • Create files with DavkaWriter for Mac that can be opened on DavkaWriter for Windows
  • Draggable document tabs for efficient on-screen organization
  • Multiple object selection
  • Zoom Slider adjusts page zoom instantly
  • Drawing layer – Place all graphical elements anywhere, with a variety of text-wrapping options
  • Use text boxes to place text and flow it from box to box
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts, toolbars and menus
  • Place footnotes into their own set of columns, independent of the main text columns
  • Drop caps — by the letter or by the word
  • PowerStyles — Control font, style, and paragraph automatically
  • Select by Style – Change only the text that’s in a specific font, size and style

 

System Requirements:

Mac with 4 GB RAM, OS X 10.6 or higher. Compatible with OS X Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite.  

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Posted in Jewish Techs Blog

Jason Buzi’s Refugee Nation Launches Largest Crowdfunding Campaign in History

Refugee Nation Launches Largest Crowdfunding Campaign in History to Raise $3 Billion
and Solve Global Humanitarian Crisis

Donations collected from fundraising will be used to Establish a New Country by the Year 2020

San Francisco, CA October 15, 2015Refugee Nation, a social and political movement that calls for the creation of a new country that would automatically accept all of the world’s refugees and displaced persons as citizens, announced today the launch of its $3 Billion crowdfunding campaign, the largest global fundraising effort to date, across two of the largest crowdfunding platforms –  GoFundMe and Indiegogo. Upon reaching its goal, Refugee Nation will use the funds raised to purchase and develop land, infrastructure, and technology as well as host an annual conference that brings together world leaders to achieve the end of the global refugee crisis by the year 2020.

“Refugee Nation could be established tomorrow if the political will were there,” said Jason Buzi, founder, Refugee Nation. “We’ve launched this multi-platform campaign to attract the attention of people in positions of great influence, governments around the world, philanthropists, celebrities and ordinary citizens of goodwill. The current approaches to the refugee problem have been inept, ineffective and have gone on for too long, without true resolution. It is time for a change.”

As a way to bypass funding limits of traditional crowdfunding sites, a multi-platform strategy will be utilized, and donations will be used to fund the following:

  • To Host an Annual Conference that will bring together the proper experts and influencers from around the world to address the refugee crisis. The goal of the conference is to inspire creative thinking and reaffirm the call for a paradigm shift in the way the world views and responds to displaced people.
  • To Purchase an Island that will stand as a proof of concept that the creation of a nation-state is possible.
  • To Employ a Staff of Experts that would assess what size territory would be needed for the creation of a Refugee Nation. This would include hiring engineers and city planners, as well as those that would continue building the movement’s grass roots efforts.
  • To Create an Open Source Platform for Technology that will allow all of the world’s technology experts to assist in the creation of the state.
  • To Employ a Team of Lobbyists that will call on the world’s governments and politicians to contribute to the governing policies of the nation.

Jason Buzi - Refugee Nation

“Currently, the United Nations estimates there are 60 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world, and that number is only growing,” said Buzi. “Most of the current refugees are unwelcomed by the Western world and are simply looking for a place to call home. Refugee Nation believes these people should have a say in their future and this campaign is a key step in giving them back their voice.”

 

About Refugee Nation:

Refugee Nation is a bold initiative that calls for the creation of a new country that would automatically accept as citizens all of the world’s refugees and displaced persons. This nation will be available to refugees of all nationalities, races, religions, and backgrounds. Refugee Nation sees current humanitarian aid as a Band-Aid Solution that only a new country can fix. For more information, visitwww.refugeenation.org, Refugee Nation’s Facebook page and Twitter Feed.

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Posted in Jewish Techs Blog

Jewish Techs: The Jewish Technology Blog

This blog looks at how modern technology affects Jewish life, particularly the impact of the Internet on Jews across the globe. The Internet has made the Jewish community seem smaller. The Jewish Techs blog, written by blogger Rabbi Jason Miller (The Techie Rabbi), explores the places where Jewish culture, education and faith intersect with technology. Of course, like anything, Jews will continue to ask if technology is good or bad for the Jews – the age old question of our people. Good or bad, it is undisputed that technology has changed Jewish life. If you’re Jewish or interested in technology or both… you’ll enjoy the conversation. Thanks for reading the Jewish Techs blog.

The Techie Rabbi – Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Jason Miller, the Techie RabbiJason Miller is NOT your typical rabbi. Known as the Techie Rabbi, he launched Access Computer Technology in 2010 and has grown it into a full-scale technology firm that provides social media marketing consulting and web design in addition to IT support. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary a decade ago, Rabbi Jason has made a name for himself as a popular blogger, social media expert, educator and entrepreneur. Based in Detroit, his congregation includes more than a million people who read his blog and follow him in Cyberspace. He began the Jewish Techs blog in January 2010 as the New York Jewish Week's technology expert.

An entrepreneurial rabbi and an alum of Clal's "Rabbi Without Borders" fellowship, Jason Miller is a rabbi and thought leader whose personal blog has been viewed by millions. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader" and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. He writes the "Jewish Techs" blog for The Jewish Week and the monthly "Jews in the Digital Age" column for the Detroit Jewish News.

Miller won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and is one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program.