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Tech-un Olam: Repairing the World One Israel Innovation At A Time

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Tech-un Olam: Repairing the World One Israel Innovation At A Time

Rabbi Baruch HaLevi
Baruch HaLevi is the former rabbi of Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott and the CEO and co-founder of welaunch, a U.S.-based non-profit introducing Israeli technology start-ups to corporations, investors and research partners as a platform for economic development, Jewish community engagement and Israel innovation education.

In Judaism, there is a well-known expression that many Jews have heard called Tikun Olam.

Literally Tikun Olam translates to, “fixing the world.” This implies that the world is a broken place, and these days, with all the fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, shootings, and other tragedies, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to see that, indeed, our world is in need of repair.

Tikun Olam can be seen in a thousand different places and faces. And you don’t need to be religious to want to help. One of the reasons I transitioned from being a pulpit rabbi and started my new non-profit organization, welaunch, is because I am so passionate about what I call Tech-un Olam: the power of technology, R&D, innovation, entrepreneurism to repair this broken world.

Over the past decade, Israel has arisen as an innovation superpower, last year ranked #2 in the world for innovation by the World Economic Forum (The World Global Competitiveness 2016-17 Report). In fact, there is so much entrepreneurial, investment and startup activity in Israel that it has been dubbed, “The Start-up Nation.” And this has been accomplished, in no small measure, due to Israel’s scientists, researchers, engineers, technicians, entrepreneurs and CEOs. Although most of these men and women would describe themselves as secular, nonetheless, I would suggest they are among the most devout, dare I say “religious,” people whom I have ever known.

They are entrepreneurial zealots — seeking solutions to the global water crisis, food shortages, and environmental issues through revolutionary ag-tech, food-tech and clean-tech solutions.

They are innovation radicals — forging pathways around death and through disease with life-saving digital health, med-tech and bio-med breakthroughs.

And they are technology fanatics — refusing to give up on the problems, or give in to the despair, pioneering new pathways which literally allow the paralyzed to walk and the blind to see.

For a while I told myself I was no longer a pulpit rabbi. However, with the launch of welaunch, and the ascent of the Start-up Nation, I’ve come to understand that I simply have a new congregation which I’m helping to build.

The shul (synagogue) is located in R&D centers, co-work spaces and research centers throughout Israel.

The siddurim (prayer books) we use come in the form of research papers, business plans and pitch presentations.

The tefilot (prayers) are expressed through the sweat, sacrifice and service of these tzaddikim (righteous people) who have transformed Israel into “Congregation Start-up Nation.”

And my congregants, these are men and women fueling the Start-up Nation, fulfilling the mitzvah of Tech-un Olam, repairing the world one Israeli innovation at a time.

To help establish economic development between the Silicon Prairie and Israel, which has been ranked as the most important Ag-Tech center outside the U.S., welaunch (welaunch.org), is co-sponsoring a trip, May 6-10, to provide access to new agriculture innovation and technology developed in Israel.

 

welaunch is a U.S.-based not-for-profit facilitating U.S. and Israel business development and investment opportunities, specifically to promote commerce, investment and partnerships for Silicon Prairie states, a multi-state region comprised of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

 

The tour features exhibitions, company visits and networking events. Participants will gain access to some of the most cutting edge ag/food/water technologies in the world. Sponsors will enable participants to introduce the U.S. Midwest as a vibrant and vital place for Israeli companies seeking U.S. expansion.

 

The tour is designed for government officials, venture capitalists, agribusiness and food professionals to experience the broad range of business and investment opportunities with Israeli companies.  In Tel Aviv, participants will receive exclusive briefings with government officials, industry leaders, and corporate executives and attend three exhibitions and networking events at:

  • Agritech, Israel’s largest, longest running and most distinguished agricultural conference;
  • AgriVest, an investment summit which showcases Israel’s newest and most promising ag-tech startups; and
  • Food-tech IL, a showcase for startups pioneering new directions in the agricultural, food and beverage industry.

“Israel is getting significant recognition as an important innovation center, where big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing agriculture. For example, with precision agriculture, farmers around the world are able to use sensors in the field combined with thermal imaging from drones to deliver drip irrigation and drip fertilization to the plants that need it most. Basically, it enables farmers to grow more while using fewer resources,” said Baruch HaLevi, CEO and co-founder of welaunch. “Because of interest from the U.S., and other countries, for technology that can help in agriculture and food production, Israel is holding concurrent ag-tech and food-tech conferences for the first time, making it easier for people from the Midwest to learn from ag-tech innovation leaders. This event won’t happen again for another three years, and we don’t want our Silicon Prairie constituents to miss out.”

 

The nonprofit is collaborating with the Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest and The Jewish National Fund (JNF). Tour details are available here: http://www.welaunch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Ag-Food-tech-Tour-1.7.pdf. Registration, including pricing and other details such as hotel information, is available here: https://www.events-world.net/WeLaunch2018/.

 

About welaunch

welaunch is a U.S.-based not-for-profit connecting Israeli companies to business and investment opportunities and resources throughout its Silicon Prairie Network. welaunch educates Americans about the Start-up Nation and the Israelis about the Silicon Prairie.

 

More information can be obtained at www.welaunch.org, or by contacting info@welaunch.org.

 

About Israel’s Economic Mission to the Midwest

Israel’s Economic Mission to the Midwest is part of a network of 43 missions worldwide, standing at the forefront of the Government’s efforts to boost Israeli tech in foreign markets; and providing a wide range of services to Israeli companies and to the Midwest business community.

 

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