Singing Torah and its Founders
Founder Rabbi Yoni Shtiebel grew up with a dual interest in Judaism and technology. He was one of the early employees of Oracle and worked with Larry Ellison. While he entered the high-tech industry, Yoni studied for his Bar Mitzvah in California. His tutor was tone deaf so Yoni became fluent in Hebrew but could not chant.
When he moved to Israel shortly after his Bar Mitzvah, his Hebrew learning was made more difficult by a lack of appropriate chanting and a learning disability. While he became fluent in Hebrew, he couldn’t chant and his learning was more difficult because Yoni learned incorrectly the first time.
His understanding of technology and what it could do and Yoni’s work on a Karakoe system spurred him to begin work on Singing Torah in 2009. With Yoni and Norm Abramovitz, a friend from Oracle and a developer of the early Oracle software, they developed an architecture and prototype for Singing Torah.
Co-Founder Mike Speciner joined as Chief Technology Officer a few years later. He developed the first of its kind online Bar/Bat Mitzvah education system for students and teachers. Several patents have been allowed or are pending for the unique elements of Singing Torah.
With the growth of the web and browsers, Singing Torah now offers a complete set of learning modules to meet the diverse needs of learners and educators.
Singing Torah’s technology-based learning system was a Mass Challenge (an organization to stimulate entrepreneurship) semi-finalist in 2019 and Yoni led his team to become a semi-finalist in the MIT $100,000 business plan competition.
An MIT-Connected Startup, Singing Torah Inc. is founded by a Computational Linguist at MIT. With a passion for Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine learning, the team applies our innovative patented technology to teaching language, with patented customization for children who have special needs, including Autism Spectrum, ADHD, and Dyslexia. Our founder from Israel who learned Japanese, Russian, French, and Arabic, and can analyze legal texts in 7th century Aramaic. He taught Rabbinic students in Israel in Hebrew. He is an ordained Rabbi, with credentials from famous Rabbis and political leaders in Israel.
Rabbi Yoni Shtiebel, Chief Scientist
- Expert in drawing meaning from letters, phrases, and words in the context of the entire Hebrew Bible. Able to explain unusual or missing material and to find connections between juxtaposed texts. Incorporates this expertise in Singing Torah’s publications, courses, and software.
- Accomplished in building teams from Harvard Business School and MIT. Semifinalist in prestigious MIT $100k Business Plan Competition. Distinguished finalist business plan at Harvard Business School, winning category of web-based innovation.
Mike Speciner, Chief Technology Officer
- Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. MIT-trained technologist specializing in Hebrew cantillated speech recognition.
- Non-profit expertise gained as donor and member of the Council for the Arts at MIT.
- Extensive experience building software systems.
Helen Raizen, Chief Applied Scientist
- Talented software architect, veteran of EMC
- Inventor on 60 issued patents
- Machine Learning co-creator with founder
We are grateful to the following who made meaningful contributions along our journey.
Barlow Keener – High Technology lawyer with proficiency in Python. Has keen interest in helping special needs children with their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Board of Directors Member.
Dan Simkovitz – Founder & Entrepreneur of special needs startup focusing on vision impairment assistance software. Mentor. Board of Directors Member.
Norm Abramovitz – Member Oracle’s Founding Technology team that shipped Version 1.0 of Oracle. Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor. Mentor. Board of Directors Member.
Matthew Fagan – Patent Attorney with Expertise in Drafting and Prosecuting Complex Software Patents in areas such as Speech Recognition, Distance Education, Data Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence.
John Utzschneider – Corporate Attorney with Expertise in Drafting Business Contracts for long-term Value. Massachusetts Super Lawyer. Acquisitions and sales of dozens of public and private companies in a broad range of industries including high technology and Internet businesses. Partner in large downtown law firm.
Ben Snitkoff – Intellectual Property Licensing Attorney. Patent Attorney. Corporate Lawyer.
Rabbi Jeremy Wieder – Rosh Yeshiva at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University. Specialty teaching Torah, Haftorah, and 5-scrolls readings, in both Ashkenazi and Sephardic pronunciations.
Why work with us?
- Create educational tools that will help countless students
- Work from home with a flexible schedule while keeping in close contact
- Be a part of a growing start-up organization where your ideas have a tangible impact and you will work to overcome real-world challenges
- Work closely with a mentor to deepen your skills and learn new ones
- Gain experience in a variety of roles to support cantors who teach Bar/Bat Mitzvahs
Grateful to support and sponsorship and recognition:
MIT ILP designed us as MIT-Connected Startup
Mass Challenge Semifinalist in 2019.
MIT Enterprise Forum (2017-2018).