The Covenant Foundation Announces $1.7 Million in New Grants to be Disbursed in 2020

New York – Jan. 8, 2020 – The Covenant Foundation announced $1.7 million in new grants today, highlighting anew the diversity of strengths within the field of Jewish education in North America.

“It is so exciting to watch each year as a new class of grantees gets started on building their dream projects from the ground up,” said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation.

“The ingenuity and heart behind each and every program design is incredibly encouraging, for we know that the educators driving these projects will undoubtedly seed and grow the field of Jewish education at large.”

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 grants announced today are part of approximately $1.9 million to be distributed this year.

“This year, the grants docket reflects hyper-current issues like democracy, technology, the climate crisis, virtual reality, and our screen-centered society,” said Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation.

“There are also many projects on this list that urge us to return to the fundamental blessings of our tradition, like arts and spirituality, music and Jewish learning. This combination of new ideas and age-old wisdom confirms our steadfast belief in the truly innovative nature of Jewish educators and their commitment to improving our world, one student at a time,” she said.

2019 Signature Grants:

The Advot Project, Los Angeles, CA. Home Shalom. To develop two fellowship programs that will raise awareness about domestic abuse in the Jewish community, and to develop tools to address the challenges this abuse represents to living healthy lives.

Project Director: Naomi Ackerman; $25,000 (1 year).

Camp Tawonga, San Francisco, CA. Camp Tawonga B’nai Mitzvah Program Expansion. To expand and enhance Camp Tawonga’s alternative B’nai Mitzvah Program—for unaffiliated, interfaith, and marginalized families—with a focus on parent education, equity and diversity, and the development of a pipeline for youth engagement.

Project Director: Meg Adler; $120,000 (3 years).

The Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Dor Hadash. To expand Dor Hadash, an intergenerational Jewish learning program for families, in order to reach a wider range of ages, build community, and provide families with tools for engaging their children in Jewish practice at home.

Project Director: Dr. Howard Lupovitch; $95,000 (3 years).

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY. Aggadah Adventures: Immersive Learning for Our Youngest Jews. To expand the immersive multi-sensory Aggadah Adventures program to serve a wider audience and increase opportunities for family engagement.

Project Directors: Jonathan Shmidt Chapman and Rabbi Yael Rapport; $61,117 (1 year).

Hazon, New York, NY. Shmita: A Jewish Response to the Global Climate Crisis. To empower Hazon’s national network of educators and leaders to engage their communities in Jewish environmental learning and action, using the upcoming shmita year in 2021-2022 as a point of launch.

Project Director: Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein; $50,000 (1 year).

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Education, Los Angeles, CA. Beit HaYotzer: The Creativity Braintrust. To enrich the educational experience of students in the School of Education through engagement with artist-scholars who will support students in experimenting with creativity in Jewish education and leadership.

Project Director: Dr. Miriam Heller Stern; $150,000 (3 years).

The Idea School, Tenafly, NJ. The Idea Institute. To support The Idea Institute, the school’s new hub for professional development, community learning, and resource sharing. The Idea Institute will promote interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning to foster inquiry, curiosity, and creativity.

Project Director: Tikvah Wiener; $50,000 (1 year).

Jewish Parent Academy, Brooklyn, NY. Jewish Parent Academy Manhattan. To expand Jewish Parent Academy’s adult education program to Manhattan to engage local Russian-speaking Jewish families.

Project Director: Yelena Pogorelsky; $30,000 (1 year).

The Kitchen, San Francisco, CA. Community in Song. To support the Community in Song project, an initiative that will build community, increase Jewish literacy, and engage people in Jewish practice through song.

Project Director: Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer; $150,000 (3 years).

Let it Ripple, San Francisco, CA. Global Technology Shabbat Movement. To create a Global Technology Shabbat Movement that supports and guides the Jewish community in building healthier technology habits and enhances the Shabbat experience.

Project Director: Tiffany Shlain; $100,000 (2 years).

Queens College Hillel, Flushing, NY. CUNY Hillels: Sephardic Life on Campus Initiative. To support the CUNY Hillels: Sephardic Life on Campus Initiative, a partnership between all five major CUNY campuses in New York City, which will focus on Jewish learning, leadership training, and community building for Sephardic and Mizrahi students.

Project Director: Manashe Khaimov; $200,000 (3 years).

The Shefa School, New York, NY. The Shefa Center: Helping Jewish Day Schools Reach All Learners. To support the planning, development, and launch of The Shefa Center, a new resource that will enable mainstream Jewish day schools, in partnership with The Shefa School, to expand their capacity to serve a diverse range of learners.

Project Director: Ilana Ruskay-Kidd; $110,000 (3 years).

2019 Ignition Grants:

Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills, MI. My Parents’ Story and My Own. To support the launch of My Parents’ Story and My Own, a pilot program that prepares the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to transmit their family members’ stories to students.

Project Director: Ruth Bergman; $20,000 (1 year).

Institute for Jewish Spirituality, New York, NY. Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life. To support educators from four Boston-area Jewish day schools in the Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life professional development program, and to train local facilitators to assist with the program’s delivery and expansion.

Projector Director: Rabbi Sam Feinsmith; $20,000 (1 year).

JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown, MA. Virtual Reality T’fillah: How Does Where We Pray Affect How We Pray? To support a t’fillah pilot program that will enable students to explore new avenues for connecting spiritually and will support Jewish educators in deeply enhancing students’ capacity for Jewish engagement through prayer.

Project Directors: Oren Kaunfer and Dr. Jared Matas; $20,000 (1 year).

Jewish Grandparents Network, Stevenson, MD. Building Jewish Grandparents Learning Communities. To pilot the creation of micro-communities of Jewish grandparents in the Chicago area that will empower grandparents to become active and impassioned cultivators of Jewish values and traditions while simultaneously enriching their own Jewish identities.

Project Director: David Raphael; $14,000 (1 year).

Liz Lerman, Baltimore, MD. Tools for Congregational Life and Learning. To support the development of Tools for Congregational Life and Learning, a new online resource for educators that will focus on Liz Lerman’s creative practices and methods.

Project Director: Amelia Cox; $20,000 (1 year).

Young Israel of Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, FL. The Intergenerational Enrichment Center. To create meaningful intergenerational relationships and enhance the Hebrew reading skills of Boca Raton Jewish day school students in Grades K-2 by pairing them with retired educators for tutoring.

Project Director: Rabbi Dr. Martin Schloss; $20,000 (1 year).


Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $33 million to support Jewish education in North America. Past grantees are highlighted on the Foundation’s website.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2020 Signature and Ignition Grant applications. Visit for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial Letter of Inquiry is March 3rd, 2020.

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