Inicio NOTICIAS Mercava platform claims it’s the future of Jewish education

Mercava platform claims it’s the future of Jewish education

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An Israel-based nonprofit boasts staff and board members from brand-name companies like Facebook and Disney. Its splashy fundraising video promises a customizable online platform for Jewish learning with a comprehensive digital library of Judaic texts featuring translations, links to related sources, maps and videos

But is Mercava the future of Jewish education or mere vaporware, the tech term for overly hyped software that never fully materializes?

Founded with $1.5 million in private donations raised primarily in Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community, Mercava hopes to raise another $1.5 million from North American Jewish foundations and federations. The goal, CEO and co-founder Yehuda Moshe said, is to make Jewish wisdom, culture and values “not just affordable and accessible, but also relevant to modern life and attractive in this media-rich and entertainment-driven age.”

The project remains a work in progress. Until late December, when its 8 1/2-minute fundraising video began circulating online, even American Jewish education leaders at the forefront of technology-based learning were unaware of its existence.

But in recent weeks, Mercava has sparked discussion in some Jewish education forums over whether the project is just a lot of hype, if it has involved enough educators in the planning process and whether it will offer something new and useful. Others have raised concerns about the scarcity of women in the group’s promotional video. All of Mercava’s executives and board members are men, many of them Orthodox and Syrian.

“We can’t waste our resources on partial solutions developed in a vacuum,” Kohelet Foundation President David Magerman wrote on a popular Jewish education listserv. “We need to plan these kinds of projects with broad-based discussion and support, so the product is acceptable and usable by as many as possible.”

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