The Shmooze

‘LaunchBox’ Wins ‘Next Big Jewish Idea’ Competition

By Ben Sales

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She had to compete against an interactive Jewish history website for kids, a service-learning trip for b’nai-mitzvah and a financial education program, but Batsheva Frankel will receive a $100,000 grant from the Los Angeles Jewish Federation for her new program, “LaunchBox.”

LaunchBox, an initiative to send to families in Los Angeles boxes containing tools and educational resources for doing a range of mitzvot, will receive the grant as a prize for winning the L.A. Federation’s Next Big Jewish Idea competition. The competition, which launched in January, called for contestants to submit an idea for a program that would “strengthen and benefit the greater Los Angeles Jewish community,” according to its website. It attracted more than 350 submissions.

LaunchBox, formerly called JEWWW in a Box, grew out of Frankel’s Jewish Education on the World Wide Web (JEWWW) initiative, which aims to educate Jews of all backgrounds about mitzvot and how to perform them. With LaunchBox, Frankel hopes to take that to the next level, sending boxes that will allow people to perform Jewish rituals and learn about key Jewish concepts. Recipients will be guided to the JEWWW website for further learning. In her original description of the project, Frankel gave the example of a LaunchBox about tzedakah that would include family activities, laminated cards describing tzedakah, and links to online resources featuring games, social networking and an interactive lecture by a community expert.

Frankel hopes that, for the “unaffiliated and lightly affiliated” families that LaunchBox will target, the program will “not only inspire them to learn how to be Jewish, but really engage them in how to do Jewish.”

In his announcement of the decision, L.A. Federation President Jay Sanderson said that LaunchBox “fits perfectly into our Federation’s vision to make Jewish life more accessible and affordable, as well as our overall mission of ensuring a strong and vibrant Jewish future.”

Watch an Interview With ‘LaunchBox’ Founder Batsheva Frankel:


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