The Covenant Foundation Announces $1.7 Million in New Grants to Support Jewish Communities Across North America

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2023 Signature and Ignition Grant applications. Visit our website for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial Letter of Inquiry is February 27, 2023.

New York – Jan. 5, 2023 – The Covenant Foundation announced $1.7 million in new grants today, partnering with national and local leaders in the field of Jewish education, to create more inclusive, connected, and responsive Jewish communities.

“The 2022 Covenant grantees represent an exciting and varied group of educators and projects,” said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation.

“And I think that variety is truly reflective of the needs of the Jewish community right now. We couldn’t be more grateful that our grantees are responding to what they’re hearing in their neighborhoods and workplaces. It means that these project ideas came from the heart.”

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.

“Last year, we were acutely aware of the communal need for projects that ameliorated the social-emotional challenges caused by the pandemic,” said Joni Blinderman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation.

“This year, while those issues have certainly not disappeared, the slate of grants reflect a turn toward hope and a desire to transform prior challenges into meaningful experiences. By opening wide the ‘doors of the Beit Midrash,’ we look to give everyone the opportunity to engage with our vast and diverse canon of Jewish texts, culture, and tradition, as well as with the arts, and the natural world. Access to all of these entry points, plays a truly significant role in healing and renewal. We are so fortunate to partner with our grantees in this mission.”

The 2022 Signature Grants:

Avodah, New York, NY. Educators Cohort, Institute for Social Change. To support the Avodah Institute for Social Change’s Educators Cohort, which will help mid-level and senior-level Jewish educational leaders build a toolbox to deepen their institutions’ commitment to social change now and in the future.

Project Director: Sarra Alpert; $145,000 (2 years).

The Hadar Institute, New York, NY. A Little Taste of Devash. To create A Little Taste of Devash—original Torah content for young children and their families based on the weekly parasha—as well as to support educators and parents in using this new resource, and to distribute it nationally.

Project Director: Mara Braunfeld; $140,000 (3 years).

Hebrew College, Newton Centre, MA. Spiritual Formation in Rabbinic Education. To expand its work on spiritual formation to provide future rabbis with the spiritual resources and resiliency needed to care for congregants and strengthen communities.

Project Director: Rabbi Daniel Klein and Dr. Susie Tanchel; $150,000 (3 years).

IKAR, Los Angeles, CA. Inclusive Jewish Community Initiative. To support the Inclusive Jewish Community Initiative, a partnership between IKAR and Romemu to enhance the support for, and participation of, children with disabilities and their families, in both institution’s educational initiatives and broader communities.

Project Director: Rebecca Berger; $150,000 (3 years).

Jewish Studio Project, Berkeley, CA. Tending the Fire: The Educator Studio. To support the Educator Studio, an innovative leadership development program providing Jewish educators with resources, frameworks, and a network to reignite their personal passion and reconnect to their professional purpose.

Project Director: Rabbi Adina Allen; $135,000 (3 years).

JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, San Rafael, CA. Journey to the Mizrah Integration Program. To support the creation of a resource toolkit and training for Jewish educators, so they are better equipped to integrate Sephardic and Mizrahi Studies into their learning spaces, and are culturally responsive to diverse Jewish student bodies.

Project Director: Sarah Levin; $50,000 (1 year).

Lab/Shul, New York, NY. GENerate: Marking Life’s Thresholds with Meaning. To expand the GENerate program, a yearlong cohort experience that empowers older adults to use Lab/Shul’s Storahtelling methodology to explore their values, actualize life lessons, and define their personal legacies in the presence of a nurturing community.

Project Director: Sarah Sokolic; $150,000 (3 years).

Modern JewISH Couples, Boston, MA. Modern JewISH Couples Workshop and Trainings. To expand its programming, which supports Jewish couples of all identities and affiliations who are on the pathway to partnership and marriage, by scaling premarital workshops, cohorts, and trainings for the couples, their families, and clergy.

Project Director: Rabbi Jen Gubitz; $45,000 (1 year).

Moving Traditions, Elkins Park, PA. Kulam. To expand Kulam, a new post-b-mitzvah program for teens of all gender identities in Hebrew high schools and other settings, which fosters teen well-being, healthy relationships, and connections to Judaism and the broader Jewish community.

Project Director: Pamela Barkley; $150,000 (3 years).

Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, New York, NY. Mental Health and Wellness for Jewish Day Schools. To expand the Mental Health and Wellness for Jewish Day Schools initiative by creating new resources and providing professional development for school leaders and staff invested in the mental health and well-being of students and families.

Project Director: Rachel Levitt Klein Dratch; $170,000 (3 years).

Shomer Collective, powered by Natan, New York, NY. Shomer Collective Community Fellowship. To empower educators to apply Jewish wisdom to questions about life and death and to bring conversations about end of life into the larger Jewish communal conversation.

Project Director: Rabbi Melanie Levav; $150,000 (3 years).

SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, Chicago, IL. Pedagogy Chaburah. To expand the Pedagogy Chaburah, a teacher-training program that enables cohorts of rabbis and educators to bring SVARA’s method of Talmud study to their organizations and communities.

Project Director: Laynie Soloman; $150,000 (3 years).

SVIVAH, Washington, DC. HerSpirit. To support the expansion and deepening of the HerTorah program through the launch of HerSpirit, a complementary initiative that will support educators and learners by integrating pastoral knowledge and sensitivity into adult Jewish education.

Project Directors: Ariele Mortkowitz and Rabbanit Aliza Sperling; $47,000 (1 year).

The Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, Boston, MA. Centered on Culture: Jewish Learning through the Arts. To create a Jewish enrichment program for young professionals and older adults that explores Jewish content through arts and culture.

Project Director: Dalit Ballen Horn; $150,000 (3 years).

Wilderness Torah, Berkeley, CA. Shomrim: Teen Leadership Program. To launch a yearlong Jewish journey for teens, in which they engage in Jewish learning, develop leadership skills, and build resilience through coming-of-age experiences in the outdoors.

Project Director: Itamar Cohn; $147,500 (3 years).

The 2022 Ignition Grants:

The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, New York, NY. Chronic Congregation: Centering Judaism, Chronic Illness, and Disability. To launch a Jewish learning program in which students explore disability and illness in traditional Jewish texts and re-envision prayers and rituals to reflect their lived experiences, with the goal of bringing increased inclusion and accessibility to Bronfman and beyond.

Project Director: Rabbi Emily Aronson; $15,000 (1 year).

Exploring Black Narratives, Brooklyn, NY. Nurturing Black Jewish Educators in Jewish Day Schools. To deepen the engagement of Black Jewish teaching artists in the Exploring Black Narratives educational experience, in which Jewish middle and high school students study contemporary plays by Black writers.

Project Director: Lonnie Firestone; $20,000 (1 year).

The Light Lab, Durham, NC. The T’fillah Teachers Fellowship. To create The T’fillah Teachers Fellowship, a cohort learning experience that will train congregational educators in an innovative pedagogy of spiritual development through t’fillah to enrich spiritual education in religious schools across the country.

Project Director: Eliana Light; $20,000 (1 year).

Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC. Kinesthetic Midrash: Torah Learning Through Music and Movement. To develop and implement an immersive, music-based Kinesthetic Midrash curriculum for students in Grades 2 to 5, opening pathways for a diverse cohort of learners to actively interpret and share their understanding of Torah.

Project Director: Rabbi Matisyahu Tonti and Jael Goldstein; $18,000 (1 year).

SAMi: Sephardic American Mizrahi Initiative, Hurleyville, NY. SAMiHub. To create SAMiHub, a campus club for Sephardic and Mizrahi students on three college campuses across the country that will empower them to explore their Sephardic and Mizrahi identities.

Project Director: Manashe Khaimov; $20,000 (1 year).

Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $41 million to support Jewish education in North America. Past grantees are highlighted on the Foundation’s website.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2023 Signature and Ignition Grant applications. Visit our website for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial Letter of Inquiry is February 27th, 2023.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies.