April 16, 2017, Updated April 13, 2017

The idea for a bike club at the elRazi elementary school in the derelict Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Lod came from a pupil at the school, Muhammad. He was fixing bikes as a hobby for other neighborhood kids.

His mother, Abir, got the project rolling by contacting the school’s principal and the Green Branch Project – a group of Jewish and Arab volunteers who created a sustainable garden at the school.

“Ben Shemen Forest is just four kilometers away from the neighborhood, and has 65 kilometers of trails for bicycling through beautiful landscapes. The forest attracts thousands of cyclists from around the country, but for children of the neighborhood, the forest could be on another planet,” said Mike Leiter, a longtime volunteer in the neighborhood.

And so was formed the Bicycle to Nature club.

Judy Halper, a resident of Kibbutz Gezer and a partner in the project, contributed to the construction of a small bicycle repair workshop that was installed in the school.

Now, the volunteers have turned to crowdfunding to raise ₪60,000 to meet its main two goals: to buy bikes for the kids to ride in nature and train teenagers to run the bicycle repair shop.

The campaign has passed its halfway mark but still needs some $4,000 by mid-April to meet its crowdfunding goal.

First regulation baseball stadium

Hoping to catch a ride on the new interest in Israeli baseball, the Beit Shemesh Baseball non-profit organization has launched an $850,000 crowdfunding campaign to support the first regulation baseball stadium in Israel.

The Beit Shemesh field is one of several fields to be built throughout Israel with the support of the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball.

“Our team’s thrilling run in the World Baseball Classic put baseball in Israel on the map,” said Jordan Alter, who made aliyah in 2005 from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and heads the Beit Shemesh Baseball non-profit organization. “We see demand and attention growing, and now we need the infrastructure to capitalize on this momentum. This is where we need financial support to back up our growing projects.”

Franken-phone and UpRight

Eye – The Smart iPhone Case has plowed over its crowdfunding goal of $95,000 and stood at a whopping $494,621 as of April 3.

The Tel Aviv startup ESTI is promising a case that “adds a lot of cool features.”

Basically, the Eye iPhone case turns your iPhone into an Android hybrid. One side of the phone runs iOS; the other is turned into an Android phone.

Tech magazines are calling it the “franken-phone.”

ESTI’s management is hoping that the huge crowdfunding community will come through and enable the new company to triumph in bridging the Android-iOS divide.

Sit up straight

Another Israeli crowdfunding campaign to have smashed its goal is UpRight, the Yehud-based maker of a wearable posture trainer.

The campaign for UpRight’s second model, UpRight GO, reached its $25,000 goal in 90 minutes and crossed $100,000 in funding in the first 24 hours on Kickstarter.

ISRAEL21c reporter Viva Press is in Yehud to meet Ori Fruhauf, one of the Israeli cofounders of UPRIGHT, to try out the new posture training device that has the crowdfunding community going crazy.

Posted by ISRAEL21c on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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