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Jewish Studies, Center for Entrepreneurship and Hillel Host Digital Media Producer and Indie Jewish Educator

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

Kent State University’s Jewish Studies Program has partnered with the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and Hillel at Kent State to bring Sarah Lefton, a successful businesswoman who turned her creativity into a career, to campus on Monday, Feb. 20. Lefton will talk about her start-up company that is dedicated to raising worldwide Jewish literacy.

Photo of Sarah LeftonLefton is executive director and producer of G-dcast (, a nonprofit media production company, and an indie Jewish educator. Her G-dcast raises basic Jewish literacy with fresh, funny animation and games distributed online. She will speak on the topic of “Animating Torah: Why Bible Literacy Matters and How YouTube Videos Can Make an Impact” at 7 p.m. in Bowman Hall, room 137. The lecture is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a desert reception. This public lecture is sponsored by the university’s Jewish Studies Program and Hillel at Kent State.

A graduate of New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), Sarah left the glamour of New York publishing (The New York Times) and the fast pace of Bay Area tech marketing (UGOBE's robotic Pleo dinosaur) in 2008 and started her own company. She was named one of the Forward 50 most influential Jews of 2009 and is a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group fellowship for Jewish social entrepreneurs. Lefton was a guest of the Obamas at the 2010 reception at the White House for Jewish Heritage Month.

“Within the Jewish studies world, Sarah Lefton is very well-known,” said Chaya Kessler, director of Kent State’s Jewish Studies Program. “We are very excited to bring this dynamic entrepreneur who, in her own words, ‘applies start-up thinking to the sometimes dusty world of Jewish education.’”

Earlier in the day and coinciding with National Entrepreneurship Week, Lefton will participate in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation’s Speaker Series class. She will speak to Kent State students, faculty and staff and then hold a meet-and-greet in the John Brinzo Entrepreneurship Lab.

“Our students love to hear the start-up stories of successful entrepreneurs, and I’m looking forward to the pearls of wisdom that Sarah Lefton will share with us,” said Julie Messing, director of Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. “So much of her business is using contemporary media with so much of it being online, so I think her presentation will be very interesting and beneficial to our students.”

Kessler said hosting Lefton during National Entrepreneurship Week is a wonderful fit. “Sarah is very energetic and positive, and she’s a good role model for our students, particularly those women who are interested in business,” Kessler said. “She applied her energies to do something new, and I suggested her to our entrepreneurship center as a possible speaker. It turned out to be a great fit with it being National Entrepreneurship Week and that we are able to have her speak to three different audiences throughout the day.”

Messing also commented that bringing this speaker to campus is a nice collaboration between different areas of the university. “We get excited about working together with other schools, centers and programs outside of our own colleges. It benefits our students, and we’re also able to reach a wider audience through these collaborations.”

A students-only event also will be held for Kent State students to enjoy dinner with Lefton at the Cohn Jewish Student Center in Kent. Students will have the opportunity to meet the guest speaker and learn how she turned her creativity into a career. The students-only event is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program and Hillel.

For more information regarding Kent State’s Jewish Studies Program, call Kessler at 330-672-8926 or visit

For more information about Kent State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, call Messing at 330-672-9430 or visit

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Media Contacts:
Chaya Kessler,, 330-672-8926
Julie Messing,, 330-672-9430
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595