A Note From Dana Raucher
The Foundation is proud to see its grantees continue to expand their reach and create opportunities for increased engagement in Jewish life. Through their work, our grantees are giving back to the Jewish community and making it a more embracing, exciting and innovative place increasingly through the sphere of new media.
We are thrilled to report that MyJewishLearning and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life were award recipients of The Jewish New Media Innovation Fund, a collaboration of the Jim Joseph Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The Jewish New Media Innovation Fund was launched this year to support projects that offer ways of using new media to encourage the next generation of Jews to engage in life and community Jewishly.
MyJewishLearning was awarded funding for Kveller to continue using digital media to provide accessible information to parents from all backgrounds. You can read Daniel Septimus' recent reflection "Parenting with a Jewish Twist." Hillel was awarded funding for a mobile application that will recommend particular Jewish life opportunities to college students based on their indicated interests.
This week, along with our partners The Natan Fund and Jumpstart, we launched the survey findings of the The Innovation Economy, based on the 2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives. The report includes the latest data on the world of Jewish startups and examines how the sector has grown and expanded over the past two years, with special focus on the leadership of new Jewish initiatives and an eye toward the factors that have contributed to its resilience during the economic downturn. The launch event earlier this week featured a discussion with Shawn Landres and Joshua Avedon of Jumpstart, Felicia Herman of The Natan Fund, along with commentary by Professor Steven M. Cohen and Becky Voorwinde of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. You can read the full report here or read about it in The Jewish Week's piece "Jewish Start-ups Continue to Grow."
Please read on to learn more about our recent work and the noteworthy accomplishments of some of our grantees. Wishing you a productive and forward looking spring.
|Gender, Power and the Jewish Community|
The Samuel Bronfman Foundation's winter 375 Series program featured a conversation between Forward editor Jane Eisner and writer Abigail Pogrebin on the topic "Gender, Power and the Jewish Community." The conversation explored the heightened state of gender politics in the Jewish community that has occurred in 2009 and 2010, statistics about the imbalance of women's salaries and leadership positions, and what steps can and should be taken in order to enable a cultural shift in the community.
During their discussion Jane commented, "The most discouraging thing about our survey in 2009 (on gender and the salary gap) was the lack of reaction. Sure, a few people who were already connected to the issue wrote to us. But, now I am sensing a change. There are more people who are aware of this and willing to talk about it." You can watch the full video of their discussion here.
|TCI's Jewbilee|Tools for the Road
On January 14-16, The Curriculum Initiative (TCI) held Jewbilee its annual weekend for Jews, friends and allies from independent high schools around the country to explore their Jewish identity, enhance their leadership skills and enrich their independent school experiences. This year, Jewbilee hosted 75 students and 15 faculty members from 9 different schools on the theme "Tools for the Road."
Some of the highlights of the weekend included leadership building workshops, text study, Torah yoga and a panel on "Interfaith Dialogue in the 21st Century," where students had the opportunity to hear from a priest, rabbi and imam about how religion can divide people, but also bring people together. Judy Bolton-Fasman writes in The Jewish Advocate, "A rabbi, a priest and an imam - it sounds like the beginning of a corny joke. But there was nothing trivial or silly about bringing these three religious leaders together to challenge their young audience to think critically about their spiritual lives." You can read more about this panel, and Jewbilee, in the recent piece from The Jewish Advocate, "At Jewbilee, teens learn that they count."
TCI Executive Director Adam Gaynor was recently selected as Scholar-in-Residence for the 2011-2012 Academic Year at the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at New York University School for Law. Each year the center hosts six fellows who spend a ten month fellowships working on individual scholarly projects which coincide with the center's intellectual orientation. The projects apply the insight, sensibilities, normative considerations and experiences of Jewish civilization to law and legal issues of significant scholarly and social value. Fellows are selected on a competitive basis from applications received from all over the world, on their credentials and the compatibility of their research with the Center's mission.
|BYFI First Alumni Choice Award|
In 2010, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI) community awarded 25 grants to alumni working to change their communities through innovative projects. The funds were raises solely from BYFI alumni and their families, and the awards were given based on the criteria of creativity, feasibility and relevance to BYFI values. Three of the projects received additional funds through a matching grant from Repair the World. You can see the full list of projects here.
As part of the Alumni Venture Fund Grants, for the first time BYFI's alumni community had the chance to vote on the "Alumni Choice Award." The two runner-up projects chosen by alumni were Tamuz and Heart to Heart, and the Alumni Choice Award who received additional funding to further their mission was Keshet: Mobilizing Jewsh Youth for Equality. The Alumni Choice Award allows the greater BYFI community to familiarize themselves more intimately with the types of organizations that the Alumni Venture Fund supports as well as with the work of specific grantees.
Second Year of Micro Fundraising
For the second year, MyJewishLearning's end of year micro-donation campaign aimed to raise thousands of dollars from among their readership, through small, individual donations. Surpassing their initial goal of $18,000 by raising $21,000, they proved once again the Impact of (Very) Small Donors.
Meanwhile, Kveller has averaged 34,000 unique visitors a month in its first four months of existence and has initiated exciting collaborations with PJ Library and Shalom Sesame. Links to Kveller resources are already on the Shalom Sesame website, and Kveller currently features a monthly column highlighting one of the PJ Library selections.
|Why Be Jewish 2011 Explores Peoplehood|
The Bronfman Vision Forum's annual Why Be Jewish Gathering will take place in New York City on May 23-24, exploring the topic Nationhood, Peoplehood and the Challenge of Collective Identity. For the first time, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation is partnering with the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America in developing the program and text based learning. Facilitating the discussions this year includes Yehuda Kurtzer, Rabbi Bernie Steinberg, Avital Campbell Hochstein and Rabbi Donniel Hartman. Stay tuned for more information later this Spring.
The Samuel Bronfman Foundation
375 Park Avenue, 17th Floor
New York, New York10152