When most people think of the Israel tech industry, they tend to envision modern, new-age cerebral types from Tel Aviv and Haifa. Which is why media tends to notice when an innovative Ultra-Orthodox Jewish tech startup & mobile app developer like Jew IQ comes along.
Joel Padowitz is one of those Ultra-Orthodox Israeli tech pioneers. Heading a team of Ultra-Orthodox digital & mobile techies through his company, Jew IQ, Joel created The Israel App, a unique GPS-based tour guide & travel companion app for iOS & Android devices. Not only is The Israel App one of the most popular travel apps for Israel tourists – both Jewish and Christian alike – it was created by a group of Jewish entrepreneurs that many consider to have shunned the internet & digital age.
Coming up on two years since the large Ultra-Orthodox Internet-shunning Asifa gathering in Citi Field, the digital & tech field has, ironically, been a draw for many Ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs. With strong education & well-developed analytical skills, Jewish entrepreneurs are starting to dip into the tech field. Many see tech as one of the last untapped areas and Jew IQ has indeed recognized the industry as wide open for innovation. And innovation that can be used for good.
Here’s a brief bio on the Ultra-Orthodox creators of The Israel App.
Joel Padowitz – CEO
Joel Padowitz is a successful entrepreneur who has been involved adult Jewish education for nearly 20 years, specializing in the interface between traditional Judaism & modernity. In 2004 he founded New York-based investment bank Palladium Capital Advisors, which is one of the top-25 most active placement agents in the USA. In 2009 he founded Jew IQ which develops mobile applications, content, and curricula for Jewish education and travel.. Rabbi Padowitz gives regular classes in Jewish thought law, and previously served as a rabbi in London. He is an award-winning speaker and writer whose articles have been published widely in mainstream Jewish media. He is also the author of Triumph and Tragedy: Journeying through 1000 Years of Jewish Life in Poland. Aside from rabbinic ordination, he received his MBA from Bar Ilan University where he finished first in his class, holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and was honored at the White House by President George H.W. Bush for outstanding achievements in science.
Yaakov Lehman – Project Manager
Yaakov Lehman earned a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara where he founded an annual 3,000 person music and arts festival. He went on to earn an M.A. in Global History from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Global Studies from the University of Vienna, where he specialized in East Asia; Yaakov is proficient in Mandarin Chinese. He is Founder and Director of DAJUS (‘Da Jews’), an organization dedicated to publicizing the Torah values of Diversity Awareness Justice Understanding and Sustainability through creative media. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the European Union Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, the Dorot Israel Fellowship, and the Threshold Jewish Educational Entrepreneurship. He is a certified Tai-Qi teacher, whose classes feature a unique integration of ancient Chinese body movements, Jewish mystical teachings, and group reflection on technology’s impact upon ourselves, our relationships, and our society at large.
Yosef Adest – Media
Yosef Adest is a Tel Aviv-based photographer/video producer entrepreneur, who runs various creative and educational photography projects around the world. You can view more of his work at www.yosefadest.com
Dub Method – Graphics & Branding
Dub Method, a high-end creative agency, specializes in developing brand strategies, and applying them to marketing and communication components across a variety of media. Their team is comprised of Yoel Bender and Eli Clevs, both American Olim to Israel. www.dubmethod.com
Concept Creative – Programming
Concept Creative is the Web and Mobile division of NetSource, an Israeli IT company. Located in Beit Shemesh, their staff is comprised of 80% Hareidi female programmers. http://conceptsite.co.il/
Rabbi Ken Spiro – Primary Historian & Guide
Rabbi Ken Spiro, originally from New Rochelle, NY, graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Russian Language and Literature and did graduate studies at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow. He has rabbinic ordination from Aish Jerusalem and a Masters Degree in History from Vermont College of Norwich University. Rabbi Spiro is also a licensed tour guide by the Israel Ministry of Tourism. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs such as BBC, National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. He lives near Jerusalem with his wife and five children, where he works as a senior lecturer for Aish Jerusalem. http://www.kenspiro.com/
Henry Isaacs Marketing | Isaac Hyman, Founder