Turning to the Crowd for the Next Big Jewish Idea

Published Aug-26-14

An innovative box full of resources that allows members of the Jewish community to discover more about Judaism and to discuss, debate and explore provocative questions.

The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, United States

The Story:

Turning to the Crowd for the Next Big Jewish Idea In 2011 the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles embarked on an open innovation search for a big idea that could help mobilize the Jewish community. So, the Next Big Jewish Idea was born to encourage individuals and organizations to submit their concepts that could help benefit and strengthen the Jewish community in Los Angeles. The winner of the best idea would win up to $100,000 and in-kind services.

Multi-Phase Contest

The best idea was decided in three phases. During the first phase, five ideas selected by the judging panel and five ideas that garnered the most public votes went through to the next stage. The public then voted for one of the ten finalists which helped the judges to make their final decision. More than 100,000 votes were cast during the open innovation contest.

The contest unleashed a flurry of creative activity with more than 350 ideas being submitted. Among those to get to the last 10 was an interactive Jewish history website for kids and a concept to send holiday care packages to deployed American Jewish troops abroad. The panel spent several weeks discussing and debating the relative merits of each finalists’ concepts and eventually came to a decision.


The overall winner was Bathsheba Frankel who received a $100,000 grant for her idea, LaunchBox (originally called “Jewww in a Box” when it was submitted). Each box contains resources and educational materials, games and links to online sources to engage more community members to begin to increase the incorporation of Jewish traditions and rituals into their lives. The boxes are a blend of traditional hands-on learning and modern-day internet technology.

Game-Changing Idea

Bathsheba Frankel said: “Each box contains all the creative tools that people need to inspire them, not only to learn how to be Jewish, but to really engage them into how to do Jewish." According to Bathsheba, the LaunchBox filled an urgent need as she believes that existing methods of Jewish education leave people underwhelmed and undereducated.

Batsheva also sees the LaunchBox as a way for community members to connect to different facets of their Judaism.

Jay Sanderson, President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, commented: "We are thrilled with the potential LaunchBox has to engage the unaffiliated members of our community, as well as those who are more active."

Turn the clock forward to the present day and LaunchBox is now a successful initiative that also has its own resource-filled website at www.launchbox-la.org

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