GoldieBlox: building the next generation of girl engineers

UPDATE: GoldieBlox shipped March 12 2013! Very exciting!

Here’s a project that was fully funded on Kickstarter five days after the account went up. Those stories are rare, so what could possibly have been inspiring enough for that kind of support?

Debbie Sterling is an engineer out of Stanford University who, influenced by being a lone female engineer in a male-dominated profession, decided to invent a line of engineering toys targeted for girls.

And not just turning out pink Legos and purple Lincoln Logs.

She spent a year researching how girls can appropriately relate to engineering and building concepts, and found that combining reading and building was an effective approach.

And so was founded Goldie Blox: engineering toys for girls. The first toy is in production, due for shipping in April 2013, for ages 5-9.

Why do girls need Goldie? According to Debbie & co:

“Engineers are solving some of the biggest challenges our society faces. They are critical to the world economy, earn higher salaries and have greater job security. And they are 89% male. We believe engineers can’t responsibly build our world’s future without the female perspective. We are here to bring the female voice into engineering.”

I think in Israel especially, where engineering is an extremely prevalent,  popular and growing profession, we can do very well do encourage our daughters more. Sure, our society has chauvinist tendencies. But I’ve met some amazing female engineers – younger, older, secular, ultra-Orthodox, native Israelis and immigrants.

Here’s her pitch video from September – highly recommend watching. They are in production with pre-order available, with customer shipping by April 2013 (track it here).

Watching the video surprised me as it turned out to be a bit emotional for me.

As a girl student who was told repeatedly over years of education that I was not good at math, need to stick to writing and English, and I should just go for passing and moving on (and on many occasions, way overdoing those expectations), I feel really inspired that I will have more tools at my service for encouraging my daughter to go after whatever it is she wants, what she’s good at, what she has natural talent for, or what she just simply wants to know more about.

I suppose many from every generation of Western women in the last 150 years has said this about their daughters… And it looks like it just keeps getting better and better.


Thanks, Yona!

Old school Israel: rare video of Israel way-back-in-the-day, 1947

Today is a few things; it’s the 29th of November, the date in 1947 that the United Nations adopted the resolution to recommend the Partition Plan for granting two states for the Jews and Arabs living in British-mandated Palestine.

And, 65 years later, it’s the day Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas approaches the UN to vote to grant the PA an upgraded status as nonmember observer state.

I’d love to see two states here. It’s the only rational way. I think the main problem is that there are currently three states here, whether Abbas admits it or not. And no one has spoken in the UN about a three-state solution. So pretending three are two  is problematic.

Anyway… I’m actually sitting back and enjoying a little reflection time on a former Israel, an old school Israel, an Israel with different enemies, a black-and-white-turned-color Israel. An Israel that seems different, but at the same time, like nothing’s changed.

This is rare in-color video footage of Israel covering 1947-1967 (recorded from Channel 2). It was salvaged by Israeli director Avishai Kfir, after it was nearly thrown away. It even features the Kotel, Western Wall, before the 67 war.

Thanks, Yoni!

Thanksgiving in Israel, ceasefire edition.

I just OWNED my Americanness at our local Mister Zol.

Usually my Australian huz deals with the turkey ordering and picking up. Blasphemy, I know. I’ve been passive about it because I always felt silly ordering a whole turkey at a chicken counter in Israel.

So when I approached the counter, my language evolved from ‘um, so, we ordered a turkey?’ to, ‘oh yes, it’s simple, I just put it in the oven, after I add a bunch of spices and herbs, olive oil…’

The boy behind the butcher counter dumped the bird between us and gave me a startled look – ma’am, this? – and I smiled and responded, “קטע של אמרקאיים”

As the poor guy comically stuffed the turkey into several plastic bags, a mother approached with her two kids. “What is that?”

“It’s a whole turkey.”

“Oh! I thought it was a giant chicken!”

“Well, it is a giant chicken…”

“Kids, look – that’s a whole turkey!” Then she remembered – “Oh, it’s that holiday – Thanksgiving?”

Not to worry American Anglos of Israel! We’ll make headway yet!

As I strapped my turkey into the passenger seat (yes), I started laughing out loud.

Whole turkeys. Native holidays. Foreign holidays. Rockets. Sirens. Ceasefires. More sirens. Egyptian presidents. Hillary Clinton’s hair.

Needless to say, there’s a lot going through my mind when it comes to being thankful this weekend. Not to get political – no one here is happy politically – but putting aside what should or shouldn’t or can or couldn’t be done about our epic neighborhood problem, Israelis across the country are breathing a tiny, silent sigh of relief: Our brothers, husbands, sons, fathers, bosses, and classmates are not going to war this weekend.

I’m grateful for laughter that keeps us sane, keeps us glowing, creeps up even while the sirens are going off, even if those sirens go off every 10 minutes, even if that siren is my son, who does a perfect siren imitation after only hearing it twice.

I’m grateful for tears that begin to slide down cheeks, to cleanse us as some of the pain begins to fade in the coming weeks… if we really have weeks to spare.

I’m grateful that, hopefully, my brother is granted the weekend off-base, after an impossibly long week of serving his country within ridiculously unspeakably close range of enemy rockets and mortar.

I’m grateful that there are places in this world where children only know peace.

And I’m hopeful those children also, and always, know gratitude.


Tzur Hadassah Anglos rally for the south!

Here’s a shout out to the awesome Anglo crew in Tzur Hadassah, which, in 48 hours, managed to rally and collect food, household items, toys and books for the citizens of southern Israel and soldiers serving on the Gaza border.

Together, about seven or eight families, filled the trunk of a Ford Focus:

And I actually had to SMS the Jerusalem drop-off organizer, who wasn’t home, to warn her to watch out for the hazard when she arrives at her front doorstep:

Kol hakavod, guys!

If you’re in Israel or abroad and want to donate, how about starting with a siren survival kit?



What we learned at kindergarten today.

“So what happened at gan today? Did everyone like your new backpack?”


“What did you eat for lunch?”


“Beans? And?”


“Beans and pasta!”

“And shnitzel. Shnitzel shnitzel shnitzel.”

“What else happened in gan today?”

The thing about pretending everything is fine, that we have to keep acting ‘normal’ so the terrorists don’t win, is that when you do hear the air raid siren – aza’aka, or tzeva adom, code red – it means you’re at work. Your partner is at work. And your kids… your kids are in kindergarten.

“Hey – what else happened in gan today? A siren?”

“Yeah, a big siren.”

“What did you do?”

“We heard the siren and so we were running.”


“Yeah, running, so fast. The ganenet said to.”

Despite the relative lessening of rockets yesterday and today – that’s very relative – I think this morning I just… broke. It’s exhaustion. This is tiring. And I’m not even in the south. Every time the Galgalatz radio announcer has to interrupt a song to announce another red alert somewhere – sometimes 3 or 4 times during a song – I just can’t.

Who can?

“Let’s go home and have a special snack. Who wants a special snack?”

“Yay! And if we hear the siren, we run upstairs fast. And you don’t take your snack with you, just leave it on the table and run.”

My boy is three. My boy is Israeli. My boy and his peers are growing up like this.

There are millions of other boys and girls growing up like this… and worse. Here in this border, there on that border.

Who is going to fix this? Are we? For our kids? For their kids?

Who can?


FYI: Ways to help and donate to citizens of south Israel and IDF soldiers

Groups are starting to collect goods and supplies for both people stuck in bomb shelters in the south, and reserve soldiers stuck at the border of Gaza, waiting for the next move.

You can see the original Facebook event post here, and below.

Personally, I’m trying to collect in Tzur Hadassah (if you’re local and interested). There are several main points of collection across the country including parts of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and individuals collecting in their own areas.

If you’re not in Israel, you can still help.

Hebrew following the English:


– – – – – –

As I’m sure you’ve all felt in your own personal ways, these past 5 days have been pretty intense. Many of us have had loved ones go off to the army, and feeling helpless is the worst! With Natan (my husband) being an officer in the IDF, the truth is that I have no idea when I’ll see him again. However, I decided that praying for the best is not all that I can do… I have contacted everyone I know and I am asking you to do the same, so that we can gather as many supplies as possible, to bring to families as well as soldiers in the south.

I will be teaming up with the Lower Galilee Regional Council and heading to the south this coming Thursday to distribute what we’ve collected.

For families, I’m asking if each of you can bring something that you would want if you were stuck in a shelter for weeks. I recommend blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, small mattresses, kids’ toys and books, coffee, kumkumim, etc. Baked goods are also wonderful and always appreciated. For soldiers, socks and underwear are the most appreciated, as well as dry-fit clothing, gum, cigarettes, etc.

If you would like to donate, we will have several dropping spots around the country, including the the Lower Galilee Regional Council Office (in the North), North Tel Aviv, Central Tel Aviv Jerusalem (Rehavia), Hertzeliya, and Aminadav. Addresses are below. Please contact me and let me know if you’d like to donate! We really appreciate your help, and so will everyone in the south! These people need us and this is really where the heart of Israel shines… Thank you in advance!

–Stephanie and the Team


  • Jerusalem: Aza 46, Top Floor. There’s a sign both at the entrance to the building and on the door. Feel free to knock or to leave things at the door. (Rivka May)
  • North Tel Aviv: Dizengoff 338, near the namal, 2nd floor, left from stairs. If Sigal doesn’t answer, you can leave things at the door. (Sigal Abbatovi)
  • Central Tel Aviv: Bograshav 89, Apt. #2. Send Sarah Groner a FB message and let her know when you plan to come.
  • Ramat Aviv (Tel Aviv University Area)/IDC: Yehuda Bourla 54, Apt. 6. You can call Nofar if you need at 052-2939308.
  • Bar Ilan University Area (Givat Shmuel): Keren Hayisod 7, floor 2, apartment 8 (you can leave things at her door if she isn’t there) Inform Rachel Sarafraz by SMS that you’re coming — 050-2505076


Please visit this Google Doc to make a financial pledge. We will contact you with a Paypal account you can send money to so that we can buy supplies.

If you have additional questions about making a financial contribution, please contact:

Elan Mosbacher
Chicago, IL


כמו שאני בטוחה שכולכם הרגשת כל אחד בדרכו שלו חמשת הימים האחרונים היו די מתוחים. רבים מאיתנו מכירים אנשים שיצאו למילואים ואנחנו מרגישים בעיקר חסרי אונים החלטתי שלהתפלל שהכל יעבור במהרה ובשלום זה לא כל מה שאני יכולה לעשות. יצרתי קשר עם כל מי שאני מכירה ואני מבקשת שאתם תעשו אותו הדבר וככה נוכל לאסוף כמה שיותר אספקה וציוד לתת למשפחות בדרום הארץ

אני אסע לדרום באמצע השבוע (יחד עם כל מי שירצה ויוכל להצטרף( ואחלק את מה שנאסוף אני מבקשת אם כל אחד יוכל להביא משהו שאתם הייתם רוצים שיהיה לכם אם אתם הייתם תקועים במקלט זה יכול להיות שמיכות שקי שינה כריות מזרונים קטנים צעצועים לילדים קפה קומקומים וכו’ מאפים ועוגות הם גם דרך נפלאה לתמוך באחינו בדרום.

יהיו לנו מספר נקודות איסוף ברחבי הארץ – בצפון בתל אביב, רחביה, תלפיות ועמינדב.

בבקשה צרו איתי קשר ותגידו לי אם תרצו לתרום. אני מאוד מעריכה את העזרה וכך גם תושבי הדרום! האחים שלנו צריכים אותנו זה הזמן של עם ישראל להראות את הטוב שבו

תודה רבה לכולם!!