What is the IAC Eitanim Summer Hackathon?

A summer event where Jewish and Israeli-American teens come together from across the country for a week of innovation. IAC Eitanim teens take on leadership roles to develop valuable skills such as teamwork, project management, storytelling, ideation, branding, problem-solving and more. The teens will go through the process of brainstorming, research, and professional product presentation, while being mentored by top professionals on how these are done in the real world. The week concludes with pitch presentations at the Demo Day on Thursday, July 2nd at the AJU Gindi theater. The Demo Day is open to all families and community members.

What does it have to do with Israel or Judaism?

The goal of IAC Eitanim is to connect teens to Israel through the Project Based Learning method and the “Startup Nation” concept. By allowing them to explore the Israeli and Jewish culture and heritage, while gaining innovative thinking skills and the entrepreneurial spirit.

The tasks and challenges the teens confront are real-world Israeli and Jewish community issues. Last year, for example, our Hackathon tackled the issue of engaging our young generation with the brave stories of those who lived through, perished or survived the Holocaust.

Through understanding the culture, art, music and daily life of the Jewish communities at that time, along with meeting Holocaust survivors, our students worked to create a way for their generation to learn about these topics. They created unique ways to engage today’s teens with the stories of those brave people and learned about our history, culture and traditions through this task.

What time should I get there? When are we dismissed?

If you are local and arriving by car, you should get to AJU no later than 2pm. We suggest you come between 12:30pm-2pm to allow time to get settled in your dorms before the program begins. You must notify IAC Eitanim staff if you arrive later than 2pm.

If you are flying in, make sure you land at LAX on Sunday, June 28th by 12:00pm. You MUST fill out this flight form so that we can prepare for your arrival. We will provide shuttles from LAX to AJU at 10:30am and 1:30pm. Our staff will be waiting to meet you at LAX, and the designated busses will take us to AJU.

Students that will arrive after 12:00pm will be responsible for their own transportation to AJU.

The Hackathon will end on the morning of Friday, July 3rd, 2020 by 9am.
If you are local, we suggest you arrange pick up at 9am by your parents/adult guardian. All parents or guardians picking up students must fill out and sign the check-out form with an IAC Eitanim staff member before leaving.

If you are flying out, make sure to book your flight from LAX between 12pm-3pm to ensure that IAC Eitanim staff members will be able to accompany you to your terminal.

Is the program in English?

Yes. Although our program attracts Hebrew speakers from the Israeli-American community, we will have many participants who speak only English. Of course, speaking Hebrew is allowed and even encouraged when interacting with your Hebrew-speaking peers, but make sure you are respectful and inclusive of your friends who cannot understand the language.

Who are the Mentors?

The mentors are first and foremost successful leaders from our community. These individuals are CEOs, entrepreneurs, innovators, and experts with extensive experience in a variety of fields, who are passionate about passing on their knowledge to the next generation. They will play a key role in advising and guiding the teams as they tackle real-world challenges and encourage the teens to perform in highest standards. We will have about 10-15 mentors coming to the Summer Hackathon.

Does the work involve programming or require previous knowledge?

No previous knowledge or experience is necessary. There will not be programming or computer science oriented tasks during the Hackathon. Whatever your interests are, you will find a way to contribute to the team effort. Once the challenge is presented, participants will be divided into teams to form a “startup company” which will create a product that addresses the issue. Within this company, you will use your own set of skills and interests to help your teammates complete the challenge.

What does the schedule look like?

The day will begin at 8am with breakfast and lights out will be around 11pm where everyone is expected to be in their rooms. During the day, you will hear expert presentations on relevant topics from our mentors, work with your teammates on developing your product, have lots of fun in breakout sessions, leadership and social activities, and interactive games. A detailed schedule will be handed out upon arrival.

What is the Demo-Day?

The Demo-Day is a community-wide event where teams will present the projects they’ve been working on throughout the week. It will be a “Shark Tank” style presentation, where a panel of expert judges will review the pitches of finalist teams and provide professional feedback. Please note that not all teams will advance to the finals. This year the Demo Day will take place on the afternoon of July 2nd and you are all invited to join us in celebration the future leaders of our community!

Who is invited to the Demo Day?

Parents, family and friends.

Can my family visit me there?

Families are invited to come on Thursday, July 2nd for the Demo Day. Otherwise, there will be no visits by friends or family except for emergencies and with explicit authorization from the National IAC Eitanim Program Director. Again, there is also no leaving the campus facility throughout the week, even if you live very close by.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

All participants will be sleeping at the university dorms, up to 4 in one room. Boys and girls will have separate dorm buildings. Room assignment will be done randomly, unless you specifically mentioned a person you’d like to room with on your registration form. Make sure that both participants mention each other’s names in order to be assigned together. All rooms have proper amenities including air- conditioner, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, etc. and have their own bathroom.

*We recommend bringing additional towels.

Can I be with my friends in the same group?

It is most likely that you will not be with your friends in the same group. The Hackathon is an opportunity to meet like-minded teens from different parts of the country and experience a teamwork effort with new people. However, you will have plenty of time to spend with your friends from home during meals, breaks, and during social activities that will take place between Hacking periods. Hopefully, you’ll be leaving the Hackathon with more friends than you had coming in.

Are the teens supervised?

The IAC Eitanim staff will be on site throughout the week, attending to the needs of all participants and making sure the experience runs smoothly. Over 15 counselors and production assistants will supervise the teens at all times. Please keep in mind that any behavioral misconduct will not be tolerated and will result in immediate disciplinary ramification. (for example: any use or sighting of drugs or alcohol, physical or verbal violence, bullying of any kind shape or form, repeated tardiness, disrespect to peers or staff, etc.)

Also keep in mind that teens will not be allowed outside the AJU campus facility unless specifically authorized by IAC Eitanim Program Director.

Is the food Kosher?

The American Jewish University allows only Kosher food on site. All meals and snacks provided during the Hackathon will be Kosher, and teens are requested not to bring food that is not Kosher certified out of respect for our hosts.

What should I pack?

It is required that you bring a personal laptop or tablet as we’ll be using those often during the Hacking time. Don’t forget to pack the charger as well. You should pack enough clothes for a week, comfortable shoes, warm clothes for the evening, personal hygiene products, an extra towel (one is supplied by AJU), and anything else you would usually bring to a week away from home. There is no need to bring bedding items as those will be provided by AJU.

For more details please contact your local IAC Eitanim program manager.