Jewish Life

The Jewish Life program operates in the United States and in Israel, with a particular focus on young adults.

In North America, the Foundation supports projects that revitalize Jewish culture, address the evolving relationship between media and memory, and reinterpret Jewish tradition for an ever-more-diverse Jewish community.

In Israel, we work in partnership with Israeli philanthropies, nonprofits, and government to build a stronger, more inclusive society for young people—particularly through meaningful civic service—and to develop the nascent movement for affordable housing.

We continue the Foundation’s commitment to the support of Israeli science through awards for outstanding women scientists in their advanced training abroad. A hallmark of our cultural projects is their representation of Israel’s complexity and vitality.

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Featured Project: The Jewish Emergent Network Fellowship

Leaders and fellows of the Jewish Emergent Network in Central Park celebrate the first convening. Credit: Yadin Goldman

The Jewish Emergent Network is comprised of the leaders of seven pathbreaking Jewish communities from across the United States that have joined together in the spirit of collaboration: IKAR in Los Angeles, Kavana in Seattle, The Kitchen in San Francisco, Mishkan in Chicago, Sixth & I in Washington, D.C., and Lab/Shul and Romemu in New York. 

These seven organizations are all devoted to revitalizing the field of Jewish engagement. While each community is different in form and organizational structure, all have taken an entrepreneurial approach to this shared vision, operating outside of traditional institutional models and rethinking basic assumptions about US Jewish communities with regard to prayer, membership, staff structures, the religious/cultural divide, and physical space.

The Fellowship places select, early-career rabbis into each of the seven participating Network organizations for a two-year period, in order to train the next generation of enterprising leaders to take on the challenges and realities of 21st-century Jewish life in America in a variety of settings. The program’s goal is to create risk-taking change-makers, whose skills will equally prepare them to initiate independent communities and be valuable and valued inside existing Jewish institutions and synagogues.

Throughout the two-year program, fellows will meet seven times as a fully assembled cohort, traveling to each of the seven Network organizations for intensive site visits. Toward the end of the first cohort, a second cohort of rabbinic fellows will be selected and placed.