Rabbi Yaakov Menken (born 1965) is an Orthodox Rabbi and early pioneer in the field of Internet-based Orthodox Jewish outreach. He is the founder and Director of Project Genesis, and creator of its website Torah.org, one of the Internet's largest sites for online Jewish education. He is the co-founder and a featured writer on Cross-Currents, an online blog, as well as the author of the Everything Torah Book.
Rabbi Menken is a Baal Teshuva; he adopted Orthodox Jewish observance after initially attending a Conservative synagogue. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Computer Science, and then attended Yeshivas Ohr Somayach, Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood and Jerusalem, and the Mirrer Yeshiva Jerusalem.
Rabbi Menken founded Project Genesis in 1993, hoping to involve Jewish university students in Jewish education. He began offering online classes, and invited other, less technologically-knowledgeable Rabbis to join him. When the Internet rapidly grew, the subscriber base of Project Genesis grew from 50 to over 80,000 worldwide.
Rabbi Menken teamed with Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to create the Cross-Currents blog in late 2004. Rabbi Adlerstein describes Cross-Currents as aiming "to expose the intersection between two currents: the timeless flow of authentic Torah thought, and the ebb and tide of current affairs."
In 2005, Adams Media published the The Everything Torah Book: All You Need To Understand The Basics Of Jewish Law And The Five Books Of The Old Testament (Everything: Philosophy and Spirituality), part of the "Everything" series of guides.
Rabbi Menken is also the CEO of Capalon Communications, a company offering web design and hosting, colocation, server management and IP communications. The company states that it was founded with the goal of supporting education and outreach, and offers steeply discounted services to non-profit organizations—like Project Genesis. In 2007, Rabbi Menken became CEO of Baltimore-Washington Telephone Company, a Maryland Competitive local exchange carrier.
He led the technical development of Contact Loved Ones, an open voicemail system for those displaced by natural disasters. This story was picked up by the general media and especially by technical publications.
- "Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Torah.org bio". Torah.org.
- "Cross-Currents". Cross-Currents.com.
- Yaakov Menken, The Everything Torah Book, Adams Media, 2005
- "Are you 'tolerant'?". Jewish World Review.
- "Valuing life". Jewish World Review.
- "Living the Wired Life: Are We Sacrificing Our Children?". Jewish World Review.
- "Contact Loved Ones". Contact Loved Ones.
- "Hurricane relief organizer lauds MySQL, open source". Search Enterprise Linux.
- "Guest post: Fear of G-d's name". The Baltimore Sun.
- "Guest post: The last taboo -- intermarried rabbis". The Baltimore Sun.
- "In Good Faith: Yaakov Menken". The Baltimore Sun.