• “For me, receiving the 2011 award for Contribution to the Community at the Sderot Conference for Community service was completing the circle.”

     

     

     

     

    By Pamela Deutsch

    Born in 1975, Daniel lived in Jerusalem through 8th grade, and then moved with his family to Shdemot Meholah in the Jordan Valley.  Daniel attended high school at Hispin on the Golan Heights.

    Following graduation, Daniel participated in the inaugural class of the Integrated Army Program sponsored by the Kibbutz Hadatai Movement.  Daniel spent 8 months at Yeshivat Ma’ale Hagilboa followed by a year in half  in army intelligence, a second 8 months at the Yeshiva and then served as a tutor at the Or Etzion Military Academy located at Mercaz Shapira for another year and a half.

    Having completed his army service, Daniel spent a year traveling in the Far East, Europe, and Egypt.

    In 2000, Daniel began studying film at Sapir College in Sderot.  He completed his BA with high grades and even gave the student address at graduation.   During his college years, Daniel won a competition in still photography,  and volunteered for Ma’apach – a Jewish Arab student organization  which works towards reducing the economic, educational and social gaps of underprivileged populations.

    Daniel lived in Sderot itself, and made many friends in the community.  During his last year of studies, Daniel began working in the Sderot community computer center, with at risk youth.  The program he developed and initiated built upon skills that the youth already had and involved the youth teaching computers to a range of population groups; children who needed help with their homework, adults who needed to be able to use computers for their work, and even the elderly.  The highlight of this project was that the youth taught computer skills to their teachers, to Alon Schuster who was then head of the Sha’ar Hangeev Regional Council and to the local director of Project Renewal – who quickly realized that the youth were excellent at building him the PowerPoint presentations he needed for his work.

    In 2003, Daniel began to study for a Masters Degree in Culture at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and began working as a research assistant for Dan Porat, an education professor, on the topic of creating national memory.  It was during this time that Daniel met Astorre Modena, a Jewish Italian venture capitalist, who lives in Israel.

    Astorre was very interested in finding a way to contribute to the community.  Astorre who was living in the Arnona neighborhood, was very well aware that those living across from him in Talpiot, were far less well off.  Upon hearing about the work Daniel had been doing in Sderot, Astorre was immediately enthusiastic about founding a similar program in Jerusalem.

    Machsava Tova was founded in 2004 in the Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem.  It began as one center, and ran mostly programs for youth at risk.  The demand for activities by children of other ages grew quickly; they were literally banging on the door.  Beginning with small groups of children Machshav Tova  worked to find appropriate content for younger children and the youth who were already involved became tutors for these children.  The demand continued to grow with parents also wanting to learn more about computer use, in order to improve their ability to find work or advance in their current positions.

    Today Machshava Tova has five centers in west Jerusalem, three centers in East Jerusalem, one in Lod, and are in the process of developing two new centers one in the north in Afula and one in the south, most likely in Beersheva.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNTF7yCVn5U&feature=related

    In 2007, Machshava Tova initiated the first MCU – a mobile computer unit, which brings equipment and teachers to kindergartens, community centers, schools and other facilities and provides computer training to populations that would otherwise not have this opportunity.    For example, the three MCUs work in Charedi communities, reach out to the disabled and provide opportunities for job seekers at job fairs to prepare and submit resumes on the spot.

    In addition, Machshava Tova runs an exciting recycling project.  Initiated by Daniel and Astorre, the program takes used computers and computing components and recycles them, and then donates them to underprivileged populations; individuals, organizations or students.  All of the work on the computers is performed by youth at risk and IT volunteers, who rebuild the computers and load them with software.  Machshava Tova is the only Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher in the country.

    Daniel has grown the organization for one person to 60 and now has both managerial and administrative assistance.  Furthermore, he has put together a range of partners who include municipalities, government agencies, businesses, foundation, private donors and fee for service clients.

    Daniel is a permanent member of the Knesset Committee for Science and participated in the Ministry of Finance Committee for Reducing the Digital Divide.

    Daniel loves to hike, is still a photographer, and spends much of his free time with his family and in his carpentry workshop.  He built a deck and pergola for his new home, a composter, and is now in the middle of planning bookshelves and media center for his living room.  His newest interest is in being a mentor for new social entrepreneurs; already he has worked on a project for social entrepreneurs at the Ein Gedi Pre-Army Mechina, and participated in ROI.

    Machashava Tova was recently awarded the 2011 award for Contribution to the Community at the Sderot Conference for Community Service.  For Daniel, accepting the award in Sderot was the completion of a circle started 9 years ago.

    Daniel is married and the father of two children and lives in the Dead Sea area.

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