FEATURES Apps for Tikkun Olam 2.0

CERBy Rachel Silvera

“We want to grow a generation of unselfish entrepreneurs.” This is the mission of CER Internet Entrepreneurs Prize, the annual event celebrated last week inside the magnificent Ara Pacis in Rome. The Conference of European Rabbis (CER), the primary rabbinical alliance in Europe, was founded in 1956 on the initiative of British Chief Rabbi Sir Israel Brodie. Today its’ president is the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Pinchas Goldschmidt and its’ standing committee is enriched by two Italian rabbis: Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome and Alfonso Arbib, Chief Rabbi of Milan.

With this prize, CER wants to donate a sum of money to useful and selfless projects, start ups and mobile apps developed by young entrepreneurs. A Tikkun Olam (‘healing the world’) 2.0: “The CER wants to use its reputation in Europe and its valuable network of contacts to open doors and support the work of these people. If you are the sort of person that fits our criteria, we want to hear from you” reads its’ website. The December 2013 Edition was celebrated in Luxembourg with the HRH Grand Duke of the country, Princess Stephanie and the Vice Prime Minister Etienne Schneider. The first winner was Igor Barinov, Founder of Blood Donor App, an App that tries to improve the number of blood donors in Russia. This year the first prize (26.000 euros) went to Ivar Kh. Maksutov and Elena Verevkina from Russia, who co-founded the publishing house PostNauka. Sacha Nasan and his app Talenty, won the second prize and the third prize went to Meidad Pariente, an Israeli aerospace engineer who created with is wife Maya the MayDay App.

An interesting definition of PostNauka’s platform appears on http://www.vandejong.nl website: “PostNauka enables scientists to bring their work to all people that want to broaden their knowledge. PostNauka is not another medium for popular science. It focuses on fundamental research, ideas, and theories, and the scientists behind them. In other words, it brings a human face to science.” It is a platform that offers over 800 articles and launches Prospects, “A series of 12-minute conversations with scientists discussing the past, present, and future of their fields of expertise.”

Sacha Nasan, an 18 year old teenager from Antwerp (Belgium) introduced his Talenty App to Pagine Ebraiche 24: “Talenty is a social network where people can showcase their talents – from singing, to dancing, to magic tricks and more for the world to see. It gives talented people the opportunity to put themselves out there to the world, acquire fans and gain a loyal following that eventually can be translated into discovery by top talent executives from all over the world. The app is free to download on the App Store and has been downloaded over 5,000 times.”

The story behind the MayDay App (an App that sends your family a message when you are in danger), created by Meidad Pariente, is extraordinary and touching: “I was driving to reach a family get-together. About 20 kilometers north of Beer-Sheva, I passed an accident scene. A young man was being wheeled into an ambulance on a gurney. When I reached my destination, the whole family had arrived, except for my youngest brother Assaf. Hours later, we received a phone call from Soroka Medical Center in Beer-Sheva informing us that my brother had been in a serious car accident. When I later spoke with my brother, I realized that it had been the very crash I had seen earlier. The wait and the worry had been interminable, and I was determined to do something to allow accident victims to inform their loved ones, even if that person is unconscious. So after a year of planning, specifying, coding and testing, the app was ready. I call it iMayDay for two reasons. Mayday is the word internationally used as a distress signal but also my nickname. My friends call me Mayday since I always help them in times of need. My wife and partner Maya, is a very experienced systems engineer with hands-on experience in operating and testing communication satellites, her input regarding the user interface, operational concept and testing of the app proved to be essential.”

These are three wonderful stories about projects that are trying to repair the world.