Keynote Address: A Conversation with Sefaria Co-Founder Josh Foer and Sefaria's Chief Learning Officer, Sara Wolkenfeld

Joshua Foer, Sefaria's Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, is a journalist with experience in both Jewish entrepreneurship and Web 2.0 start-ups. His first book, Moonwalking with Einstein, about how he became the United States Memory Champion, is an international bestseller published in 33 languages. He is the co-founder of Sukkah City, an architectural competition that resulted in 12 radically reimagined sukkahs in Union Square Park in 2010 and of Atlas Obscura (, an open-source guide to the world’s most curious places.

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Questions for Discussion

  1. Is helping your students feel a sense of ownership over Jewish texts one of your goals in the classroom? If so, how do you help your students achieve that?

  2. Josh made a distinction between a library and a beit midrash. What are your thoughts about this distinction? Which do you aspire to the most in your classroom, and how do you cultivate it?

  3. After hearing some of Josh’s aspirations for Sefaria, what excited you the most? What would you like to see Sefaria work on first?

  4. What do you think is the role of kids in the world of Torah? How would you like your students to participate in the world-wide Torah conversation?

  5. Josh described chevruta as a concept that has not yet reached its potential in mainstream Jewish life. How do you use the chavruta experience in your classroom? What would you like to try to accomplish with chavruta if you were to experiment with something new?

Notes by Graphic Artist Estee Ellis