Jewish Life

The Jewish Life program focuses on grants that contribute to the strengthening of communities and their leaders in North America and in Israel.

In North America, the Foundation supports the strengthening of emerging communities, particularly among younger Jewish Americans and between Jewish and Muslim Americans. In Israel, we support the strengthening of underserved communities, Jewish and Arab, with a focus on young Israelis.

We are interested in intentional communities – people in a face-to-face network of affinity and diversity, belonging, and meaning. These communities are activated by their leaders’ and participants’ Jewish values and engaged in sustained activity that deepens their commitment to being responsible for one another and to making a shared, positive difference in the world. Newly interpreting the traditional privileging of community in Jewish history and practice, such initiatives are a creative response to the unique circumstances of 21st-century life.

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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.