Detailed Introduction to Yeshiva Ventures

Posted: June 28, 2012 in YV Structure

Yeshiva Ventures (YV) is a unique idea, combining the structure and curriculum of a yeshiva with an academic program building technology or creative skills, and an incubator of “student projects” – the best of which become profitable businesses.

Additionally, several student projects drive the production and marketing of “knowledge products”, by following a well-defined process using roles and skills taught in the academic track.

Knowledge is the product of choice today.  The marketing of these knowledge products builds a network of individuals and virtual communities where the knowledge of Chassidus is consumed and shared.  These, in turn, act as distribution channels for digital content, as well as thriving subscriber base.

The premise is that by leveraging the yeshiva students as a labor pool of information workers, following a specific workflow or “algorithm” to produce and

market digital content.

YV possesses several documents outlining detailed algorithms for content production, channel
The following diagram outlines the specific processes and actions for producing digital content and Internet communities from the yeshiva curriculum.  It is evident that these processes require several teams working together, their size growing with the magnitude of production and dissemination.building, and marketing online, along with YV proprietary workflows for content production

The yeshiva curriculum is meant to teach the student the basic principles of Chassidus as well as an appreciation for the deeper dimension and meaning for Tefilah and the performance of Mitzvos.

With this in mind, the YV curriculum in Chassidus is designed for both the student and a wider Internet audience.  Specific tracks include:

  1. Likutey Torah – short segments describing and elaborating on the main principles of the esoteric dimensions of the Torah and Mitzvos.
  2. Biur Tefilah – explanation and meditations in the davening from the drushim of Chassidus Chabad.
  3. Maamarim and Sichos of the Time – including a weekly email/publication.
  4. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch to Gemara (following a halcha to its source)

The niche markets for these courses will obviously be Jewish, Torah, and Mysticism, limiting the many wider markets for content.  However the Jewish and Torah market is several million strong with the overwhelming majority very active on the Internet.

Yeshiva Ventures Structure

The detailed plan for Yeshiva Ventures was refined over two trial phases working with 15 students ages 19-25.  Through the process of trial and error, the idea for YV became clearer with lessons learned from student recruitment, learning/work balance, discipline, and student projects.

Originally, students worked internships in two technology companies; while in phase 2 the student projects were dedicated to the recording and publication of Chassidus.

In the summer phase, students will matriculate in three parallel tracks – governing their academic schedule and work projects (all students share the limudei kodesh curriculum):

  1. Digital Publishing (copywriting, digital graphics, and video production)
  2. Internet Marketing (market segmentation, keyword editing, affiliate channels, eCommerce)
  3. Application Development (programming, mobile/web services)

The following pictures show students in earlier YV terms in the class and project work for a Wall St technology firm.

Following the tradition of the Chabad yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim, our mission is to produce lamplighters, while addressing even the “outer circles” of youth in our community.  In fact, many youth who were rejected from yeshivas and had their observance of Torah and Mitzvos damaged to differing extents, hold great talent and potential, and will far surpass their peers given the right opportunity.

The “right opportunity” for our student-candidate population includes practical work skills, purpose, and experience in team work and time management.

Students are organized into teams based on academic level, productivity, and dedication. Some students focus on programming and mobile application development, serving as the next generation of programmers for the YV Incubator.  Other students focus on digital content creation and Internet marketing.  All students share the yeshiva classes and Tefilah.

Sample Schedule

Time Activity Location
07:00  – 08:00 Chassidus Aliya
08:00 – 09:30 Tefilah & Shulchan Aruch Aliya
10:00 – 14:00 Academic Instruction Geshem, Aliya, Online
15:00 – 16:00 Mincha and Team Instruction Aliya
16:00 – 19:00 Project Work Aliya

All students begin their day with a Chassidus class, which is video recorded including lecture notes, original texts (Likutey Torah, Maamarim, Tanya), etc.

Depending on the number of students/classes, there should be multiple classes simultaneously based on student level.  Chassidus is followed by davening (all classes combining for davening), Shulchan Aruch, and breakfast.

Following breakfast, students go to their individual academic instruction.  Some students will be going through self-paced courses online (Lynda.com, Newton Academy, or Internet marketing courses).  Others will be attending courses at the Geshem Center, etc.

After the academic period, students have time to eat lunch and a little personal time, before reconvening in the beis medrash for mincha and their individual projects.  For projects, students are divided into teams by experience and specialty, working on either technology projects or turning the class resources and video into digital assets.

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