When older students at Brown University told Danny Warshay about the One-Year Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Rothberg International School, he knew that he wanted to take part: “As much as living at Brown and in Providence were attractive, how could it compare to a year in Jerusalem?” he said. Additionally, he was looking for a yearlong study abroad program, and with Rothberg having the words ‘one year’ in the program’s name, it make the search quite quick.
Danny spent his junior year studying at Rothberg, an experience that changed his life in many ways, “My friends and I spent a lot of time playing basketball on the courts on Mount Scopus overlooking the Old City. I liked to say that my biggest accomplishment that year was improving my jump shot. And I can’t imagine a court with a more breathtaking view!” he quipped.
The personal interactions that Rothberg made possible had a deep influence on Danny; he is still in regular contact with Howie Jacobson and Rafy Orenstein, friends he met at Rothberg and recently resumed contact with fellow Rothberg alumnus Noah Dropkin. His year at Rothberg profoundly influenced his view of Israel, too: “I loved being so close to the Old City, being able to wander with no agenda, and I loved learning Arabic with Yael Cohen (Prof. Yael Cohen, senior instructor of Arabic at the Institute of Asian and African Studies and Rothberg International School),” Danny shared. “Before my year at Rothberg, I had an unrealistic view of what Israel was really about. Studying at HU (especially living with Israelis in the Idelson dormitories) gave me a more realistic view. That was challenging, but an important learning experience for me.” Danny said.
With a year’s worth of memorable experiences, Danny returned to Brown University for his final year of undergraduate studies, “When I returned to Brown for my senior year, two life-changing things happened to me. The most important is that I met the woman who became my wife (Deb Herman). We are happily married and have three wonderful children.” Danny shared, adding, “I also fell into an opportunity to join the leadership team of a software startup (I was a history major and knew nothing about computers or business). We built that company up and sold it to Apple in 1989. These days, I often have to tell my students that there were computers in the ’80s!” Danny said.
Joining that software startup took Danny’s life in new directions: “I have spent most of my career launching, growing, and then harvesting startups in a range of industries,” he said, adding, “In 2005 I got an unexpected tap on my shoulder from a beloved professor who asked me to return to Brown to teach entrepreneurship. I told him he had the wrong guy because I had not taught anything—even Sunday school. He assured me that I would be a good teacher: I had entrepreneurship experience and an MBA from Harvard.”
Danny is now Professor of the Practice and as Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown. His new book, SEE SOLVE SCALE: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success, is based upon the entrepreneurial process he teaches at Brown and in his workshops.
Studying at Hebrew University runs in the family. Danny’s oldest daughter, Gabby, took classes at Rothberg as well while on the Nativ gap year program.
Lifelong friendships, new perspectives on Israel, and a much-improved jump shot—not too bad for one year abroad at Rothberg International School.