USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith lent his expertise, and New Dimensions in Testimony, to a panel on technology at Jewish Funders Network (JFN)’s annual international conference in Atlanta on March 20.
JFN is a network of Jewish philanthropists, with programs and membership benefits to help them make the most of their giving and maximize their impact. Its annual international conference brings members together to celebrate achievements from the past year, learn about innovations in the field and discover new opportunities.
Smith joined Uria Lin, director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Social Innovation Accelerator and Hub, and Nicky Newfield, CEO of Jewish Interactive, for a panel titled “Yesterday’s Dream is Tomorrow’s Reality: Technology in the Social Sector.”
This session explored some major trends in technology in 2017, and how they can be applied to various issue areas of interest to Jewish funders, including an overview of trends such as natural-language processing, the Internet of things, augmented reality and more, and how these tools can drive innovation and impact in the social sector.
Smith presented New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT), USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive testimony project that allows viewers to have a conversation with a recorded image of a Holocaust survivor. The testimony of Pinchas Gutter, the first survivor to film an interview for NDT, offers viewers the chance to engage in a conversation with Pinchas’s recorded image that closely mirrors the experience of speaking with him in person.
Smith and the other panelists discussed how technology like this and other tools for education can serve to build empathy and engagement in Jewish learning environments.
New Dimensions in Testimony is currently installed in Holocaust museums across North America: Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Indiana, Neuberger Holocaust Centre in Toronto, and Holocaust Museum Houston.