Mrs. Frankel wins Federation’s “Next Big Jewish Idea” competition with “Launchbox” idea

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

Nate Erez, Torah Editor

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For those of us who study Tanach, Gemarah and Jewish philosophy for several hours every day, the notion that Judaism could fit into a box might seem a bit surprising. But to Los Angeles’ Jewish Federation, teacher Batsheva Frankel’s concept of putting Judaism into a box might just be the next big thing.

Mrs. Frankel, who taught Tanach starting last year and now is also teaching 10th grade English, found out over the summer that she had won the local Federation’s search for The Next Big Jewish Idea, for her invention called the “Launchbox.” The award comes with $100,000 to turn the concept into reality.

“The idea was to make an experiential toolkit that would come into [unaffiliated] people’s home where they could really learn not only how to be Jewish but how to do Jewish,” said Mrs. Frankel, who is also the wife of Science teacher and Technology Director Mr. Yossie Frankel.

Mrs. Frankel will teach in the morning this year and work at the Federation in the afternoon, she said.

The Launchbox would be a large box containing interactive Judaism-related items to help involve otherwise non-affiliated families, Mrs. Frankel said in an interview. It would also have an online component featuring games, videos, and articles.

The contents of the Launchbox have not been set in stone as the first phase of the project is research, testing and marketing, she added.

Mrs. Frankel said the idea for the project came to her after reading an article in the Jewish Journal of how Judaism is not just about being Jewish but about doing Jewish things, when the idea came to her.

“I was sitting around with a group of people at a Shabbos lunch and we were brainstorming,” Mrs. Frankel said. “How do you take Judaism and make it experiential? You put it in a box and get it to people’s home.”

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