Sukkot and the Growth of Israel’s Tech Economy

On the eve of the Sukkot festival, Michael Eisenberg, a partner at Israeli-based venture capital firm Aleph VC, took a look at how Israel’s economy has changed over the past 3,000 years through the perspective of Sukkot. He posted it on Facebook and it’s worth reposting here on Jewish Techs blog.

By Michael Eisenberg
Michael_Eisenberg_Aleph_VC_IsraelAs we get ready for the holiday of Sukkot, I was thinking about the changing dynamics of Israel’s Economy over the last 3+ millennia. On Sukkot, we take the 4 species: the Lulav, Etrog, Hadas and Arava. They are, of course, symbolic of the sources of water that powered the agrarian economy of Israel and the world for over 3,000 years. The Lulav grows near underground water reserves. The Etrog must we watered by man. The Hadas grows from the rain and the Arava grows along the river banks. Water of all types was lifeblood of the Israeli economy. Without it, there was starvation and poverty. On Sukkot, the holiday of the gathering, symbolizing the end of the harvest season, we gather to give thanks to God for having helped provide the water that powered our economy.

 

Times have changed for most of us and the miracle of the Israeli economy is powered by innovation and technology. We still need rainwater so we can drink in Israel so on this holiday I will give thanks for the water as well. But I am also thankful for the the innovative spirit of Israel’s entrepreneurs. I am thankful to God for the lack of natural resources that forced us to innovate as a country. I am thankful that our innovation economy enables us to live in security in our own country after years of wandering.

Israel Tech Economy Sukkkot

This reflection caused me also to think about a mission statement for Israel as we build an economy based on innovation. The farmer of old, upon bringing his first fruits to the Temple, would recount his family history having left Egypt and now having the privilege to till his own land. He thanked God on the festivals for that privilege. We now have the privilege to improve our own lot and the plight of humanity through innovation. For that we should all be thankful to God and to the founding fathers of the modern state of Israel and the innovation economy. We must also redouble our efforts to put this privilege to work for others.

So I humbly suggest the following mission statement as we enter this Sukkot Holiday:

Our goal as a country is to move innovation into every aspect of Israel’s economy to enable everyone to live with dignity and to extend innovative solutions to every corner of the world to improve living conditions and life quality for humanity.

Chag Sameach!

Michael Eisenberg has been a key figure in Internet and software investing in Israel since 1995, playing a central role in the development of many of Israel’s leading companies and startups. In 2013, Michael launched Aleph, a $140MM early stage venture fund together with Equal Partner Eden Shochat. Aleph focuses on building big companies out of Israel and servicing the hell out of entrepreneurs. Michael previously served on the board of Snunit, Israel’s foremost nonprofit organization, specializing in integrating technology and the Internet into Israelss elementary schools. Michael also lectures frequently on the topics of venture capital and entrepreneurship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He holds a BA in Political Science from Yeshiva University in New York.

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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.