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About the Jewish Play Project

How this got started

This site grew out of research work begun by Professor Jacobs in the summer of 2014. He was acting as a subject matter expert for Rabbi Robert Morais, who at that time was the Director of the Shalom Street Museum in the Metro Detroit’s JCC. They were working on the exhibit Across the Board: From Dreidel to XBOX. The toys and games of the Jewish People that ran from 2014-2015.

While the “Hall of Fame” for the exhibit was to showcase 8-10 leaders in the field, it became clear to Professor Jacobs that there was a much larger story to tell than the exhibit itself could support and so the idea for the Jewish Play Project website was born. The Jewish Play Project is supported by the Center for Media, Art, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Professor Jacobs will be on Sabbatical for the Spring semester of 2020 to complete a book tentatively titled “Stories from the Jewish Play Project."


For more information about this effort, to point out errata, suggest an addition or enquire about becoming a contributor, feel free to send an email to:

jewishplayproject AT gmail DOT com

Why it’s on-line now even though its not “finished.”

First, this topic covers hundreds of people and companies and potentially thousands of toys since the 1800s. There’s opportunity here for decades worth of collaborative scholarly work across numerous institutions. It will be a long time before these efforts are “finished.”

Second, we believe in Open Source and Free Content (RIT has the first academic minor in the topic) The philosophy of those communities is to get work out into the community as soon as possible to encourage collaboration.

Third, many of our initial discoveries, and this current web site, would not be possible without the World Wide Web; a technology created to encourage dissemination of pre-publication work to encourage knowledge sharing. It seems only right to make this information public as early as possible.

Who we are




  • Jenn Kotler

    Jenn Kotler recently graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology where she studied Medical Illustration and Game Design. She believes games, software, and art can break barriers and empower people, especially in education. Check out more of her work at

  • Luis Rosario

    Luis Rosario is a front-end developer who was born in Mexico but raised in Western, NY. He is a recent RIT grad from the from the New Media Developer program. His Website is can be found at

  • Andrew Mandula

    Andrew Mandula is a graduating Game Design & Development major at Rochester Institute of Technology. With his free time, He work on Open Source Projects such as educational tools teaching players about Diabetes, and game developer tools to write their game content in Twine and use it in Unity.

  • Jackie Wiley

    Jackie Wiley is a Game Design and Illustration student studying at RIT. She has a passion for creating worlds that draw players in and immerse them in the experience. Portfolio

  • Alexandria Mack

    Alexandria Mack is pursuing a degree in Game Design and Development at RIT. She recently worked on the back-end for an open source game called Flossopher vs Net Neutrality. Alex also had the opportunity to take notes during voice over sessions for a sound designer. Check out more at

  • Changbai Li

    Changbai Li worked on Jewish Play Project's web development. He expects graduation from RIT's New Media Interactive Development Major in May 2015. Changbai enjoys creating games, websites, and occasionally impractical digital media experiments.