New York – Jan. 12, 2022 – The Covenant Foundation announced $1.7 million in new grants today, reaffirming a commitment to supporting the newest and most exciting ideas in Jewish education.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Jewish educators who are dreaming up new projects with as much energy, ingenuity and motivation as ever, despite the long-term societal challenges we’re facing,” said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation.
“The fact that educators continue to put their hearts into this holy work should give us all hope that regardless of the mode, the deep meaning of Jewish learning is just as relevant and compelling as it always has been.”
Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Signature grants, which generally provide funding of up to $150,000 over three years, and Ignition grants, of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches. The 2022 grants process, which is now open, invites applicants to submit a letter of inquiry by February 24, 2022.
“We are delighted to continue our ongoing investment in Jewish educators and Jewish education by adding this outstanding group of grantees to the Covenant network, along with our most recent Covenant Award and Pomegranate Prize recipients,” said Joni Blinderman, who assumed the role of Executive Director on January 3rd.
“The 2022 slate of Covenant grants reflects the dynamic challenges of these uncertain times,” she added. “These grants will support an array of projects that seek to ameliorate pressing social-emotional and academic concerns in the Jewish community, as well as the longer term systemic problems related to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Blinderman said.
“In many ways, these issues became more pronounced and were exacerbated by the public health crisis of the last two years, but we are incredibly heartened by the unabashedly optimistic approach each of these new grantees brings to their work.”
The 2021 Signature Grants:
Adas Israel Congregation, Washington, DC. Stepping Back In. To illuminate a path back into the Jewish community—through guided mikvah immersions, new liturgy, small listening groups, art-making, a video series, and a memorial concert—for all who suffered from loneliness, fear, and loss during the pandemic.
Project Director: Naomi Malka; $50,000 (1 year).
American Jewish University, Los Angeles, CA. Mikvah L’Amcha: Mikvah for the People. To connect a new generation to the mikvah by establishing diverse new educational partnerships, producing adaptable educational materials, and providing immersion opportunities for medical professionals and others bearing the impact of the pandemic.
Project Director: Rabbi Myra Meskin; $150,000 (3 years).
The Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College, Waterville, ME. The Makom Fellowship Program. To provide practical training, intensive mentorship, and cohort-based peer support to emerging professionals eager to foster vibrant Jewish life in small communities.
Project Director: Rabbi Dr. David Freidenreich; $150,000 (3 years).
Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Brooklyn, NY. Jews of Color (JOC) Engagement, Within and Beyond Our Walls. To create a culture of belonging for Jews of Color by developing curricula, community programming, and a multicultural camp through the lens of equity and inclusion.
Project Director: Nicole Nash; $135,000 (3 years).
Jewish Communities of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Shmita Statewide. To develop a sustainable statewide program that unites the Jewish community through collaborative Jewish education programs focused on a variety of issues, including shmita and the seven-year cycle of renewal and action.
Project Director: Rabbi Tobie Weisman; $41,000 (1 year).
Jewish Learning Venture, Jenkintown, PA. jkidACCESS Guides. To train educators to be jkidACCESS Guides in order to engage families raising Jewish children with disabilities while simultaneously providing Jewish experiences and learning for those families.
Project Director: Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer; $100,000 (2 years).
jGirls Magazine, New York, NY. Learn Together. To provide young Jewish women the opportunity to develop public speaking and community-building skills through an experiential leadership program.
Project Director: Elizabeth Mandel; $142,300 (3 years).
M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, Brooklyn, NY. M2 Research Fellowships. Research Fellowships. To create virtual laboratories for diverse educators to explore creative pedagogies for Jewish education and to develop new educational practices and resources inspired by Jewish wisdom.
Project Director: Mollie Andron; $150,000 (3 years).
OneTable, New York, NY. The 25th Hour. To develop, in partnership with Let it Ripple, a virtual program to prepare cohorts of Jewish young adults to engage in tech-free Shabbat as a means of fostering lifelong mental health and well-being.
Project Director: Aliza Kline; $50,000 (1 year).
Sacred Spaces, Pittsburgh, PA. Respect and Responsibility. To distribute the Jewish Ethics Study Guide on Respect and Responsibility and to train Jewish educators to utilize the guide in their Jewish institutions in order to establish cultures of safety and respect.
Project Director: Judith Belasco; $150,000 (3 years).
South Philadelphia Shtiebel, Philadelphia, PA. Cultivating Communities of Care: The Shtiebel Adult Learning Initiative. To train peer facilitators to lead small learning clusters in order to create a whole person-centered Jewish learning program rooted in caring relationships and deep Torah learning.
Project Director: Rabbanit Dasi Fruchter; $125,000 (3 years).
Theater J at the Edlavitch DC JCC, Washington, DC. Expanding the Canon. To engage seven playwrights who are Jews of Color in a learning process that includes studying modern Jewish history, Jewish theater, and Jewish texts, with the goal of developing racially and ethnically diverse Jewish narratives.
Project Director: Adam Immerwahr; $150,000 (3 years).
theatre dybbuk, Los Angeles, CA. The Dybbukast Live. To create a residency program that will bring theatrical presentations about Jewish history, professional development workshops, and community learning opportunities to multiple regions throughout the United States.
Project Director: Aaron Henne; $150,000 (3 years).
The 2021 Ignition Grants:
The Greensboro Contemporary Jewish Museum, Greensboro, NC. Social Practice Institute. To engage Jewish artists from the southern region of the United States in Jewish learning while training them in the methodologies and pedagogy of art and social practice.
Project Director: Shoshana Gugenheim Kedem; $20,000 (1 year).
Hebrew College, Newton Centre, MA. Spiritual Formation in Rabbinic Education. To foster spiritual formation among future rabbis through the creation of a series of professional development workshops, student and faculty retreats, and a new introductory course.
Project Director: Rabbi Daniel Klein; $19,750 (1 year).
Jewish Farmer Network, Fairview, NC. Farmer Torah Initiative. To design and implement a regional, cohort-based learning program for Jewish farmers to build cultural literacy and identity at the intersection of Judaism and agriculture.
Project Director: Shani Mink; $20,000 (1 year).
Modern JewISH Couples, Boston, MA. Modern JewISH Couples. To create and scale programs, including retreats and curricula, for couples entering into partnership and marriage.
Project Director: Rabbi Jen Gubitz; $20,000 (1 year).
Shutaf Inclusion Programs, Milwaukee, WI. Shutaf Inclusion Guide and Staff Training for Inclusion Success. To disseminate online training materials and resources for camp, religious school, and youth program professionals throughout the North American Jewish community to enable them to better serve participants of all abilities.
Project Directors: Jennifer Saber and Beth Steinberg; $20,000 (1 year).
Zamir Choral Foundation, New York, NY. Shir Connection. To connect middle and high school students and older adults, including their grandparents or grandfriends, across the country through Jewish music and learning, relationship building, and storytelling.
Project Director: Emma Miller; $20,000 (1 year).
Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $39 million to support Jewish education in North America. Past grantees are highlighted on the Foundation’s website.
The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2022 Signature and Ignition Grant applications. Visit https://www.covenantfn.org/grants/ for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial Letter of Inquiry is February 24th, 2022.
The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies.