Applying Jewish Wisdom

to Democracy

and Civic Engagement

The Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom celebrates programs that apply the ever-accumulating body of Jewish wisdom to help people—Jews and fellow travelers—navigate life’s big questions, from how to be a good parent, partner, consumer, and citizen, to how to manage the struggles life throws our way, and much more. The 2018-19 Prize sought submissions from social-impact organizations that have an existing program or the seed of a new idea to apply Jewish wisdom to support democracy and civic engagement.

 

The winners of the 2018-19 Prize are:

 

NEW IDEAS

  • Genesis at Brandeis

    Being the Change

    Being the Change: Public Policy, Justice, and Advocacy is a timely, intensive, expert-led summer course for teens that unites applied Talmudic wisdom about engaging across difference; the ritual power of a siyyum, which defines success as being engaged in a reciprocal relationship with learning and democracy over time; and strategies for advocacy that empower, mobilize and sustain.

  • MaTovu

    Three Occasions: Shalosh Regalim for Civic Engagement

    Three Occasions harnesses the power of ritual and spiritual teachings implicit in Judaism's three pilgrimage holidays to help increase civic engagement and advance regional progress in the St. Louis metro region and beyond.

  • Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation

    Rebuilding Democracy Project

    Rebuilding Democracy empowers participants to use Jewish concepts and wisdom like hesed, brit, mitzvot, eilu v’eilu, and parshanut to teach healthy political norms: seeing fellow citizens as human before partisan, elevating a shared national purpose, respecting dissent, safely interrogating conflicting narratives, and upholding the primacy of institutions over agendas.

  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

    CIVruta

    CIVruta will convene community leaders from different backgrounds in Los Angeles for a day-long civic beit midrash aimed at encouraging and equipping them to bring the Jewishly informed democratic values of diversity, inclusion, and dignity to service on local boards and commissions.

ESTABLISHED PROGRAMS

  • Facing History and Ourselves

    Professional Development for Educators in Jewish Settings

    Facing History’s Jewish Education Program provides educators with professional development and classroom resources that connect humanities content to Jewish wisdom, texts, and history, and to the ethical choices students face in their own lives—thereby inspiring students to combat prejudice with compassion, and indifference with civic participation.

  • IKAR

    Minyan Tzedek

    Minyan Tzedek: Organizing for Social Change works to actively engage and cultivate a culture of social justice from a distinctly Jewish perspective rooted in Torah and the principles of community organizing.

  • Tivnu Building Justice

    Tivnu Gap Year

    The Tivnu Gap Year, the first and only Jewish gap year in the U.S., brings high school graduates to Portland for a nine-month experience that includes individually tailored internships with a wide range of local, grassroots direct-service and advocacy organizations; skilled construction of tiny homes with and for houseless individuals; study of today's most important social justice issues through Jewish and other sources; and collective living within their own pluralistic Jewish households.

What others are saying

                 PRIZE

The 2018-19 Prize was open to:

 

  • Established Programs
    eligible for awards of
    $30,000
  • New Ideas
    eligible for awards of
    $15,000

Over 120 organizations submitted applications from October 22 through November 30, 2018. An informational webinar for prospective applicants was held on Thursday, November 1, 2018. 100 applicants who met the eligibility requirements were invited to submit a second, more detailed application in December.

 

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION

Each application was reviewed by at least three external reviewers according to the following criteria:

Application of Jewish Wisdom

Relevance to this year’s Prize focus on democracy and civic engagement

Originality

Impact (or, in the case of new ideas, potential for impact)

Scalability and adaptability

 

We used Democracy Fund’s Six Pillars of a Healthy Democracy when assessing impact on democracy and civic engagement:

 

Successful applicants reflected respect for the idea that Jewish texts, teachings, history, culture, ritual, and practices lend themselves to multiple legitimate interpretations and applications.

 

The Established Programs and New Ideas that received the highest scores from the external reviewers advanced to the Semi-Finalist round. From that group, members of the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah Board and representatives from our funding partners selected Finalists. A distinguished and diverse panel of judges then chose the winners from the Finalists. These winners were announced on March 18, 2019 at the Jewish Funders Network Conference in San Francisco and received award sculptures designed by the artist Yair Kira.



Reviewers

  • Adam Simon

    Aviv Foundation

  • Alison McWilliams

    Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation

  • Aimee Weiss

    Maimonides Fund

  • Dr. Ari Y. Kelman

    Stanford Graduate School of Education

  • Ben Binswanger

    Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation

  • Brenda Bodenheimer Zlatin

    Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation

  • Rabbi Dr. Dan Judson

    Hebrew College

  • Rabbi Gabi Weinberg

    The Tikvah Fund

  • Isaac Luria

    Nathan Cummings Foundation

  • Jaré Akchin

    Circle of Service Foundation

  • Dr. Jon A. Levisohn

    Brandeis University

  • Jonathan Gruber

    Einhorn Family Charitable Trust

  • Jonathan Horowitz

    The Klarman Family Foundation

  • Rabbi Dr. Joshua Feigelson

    The University of Chicago Divinity School

  • Lesley Said Matsa

    Crown Family Philanthropies

  • Dr. Meredith Woocher

    Rosov Consulting

  • Dr. Shaul Kelner

    Vanderbilt University

  • Shayna Rose Triebwasser

    Righteous Persons Foundation

  • Stefanie Rhodes

    Slingshot

  • Stephanie Rapp

    Walter & Elise Haas Fund

  • Todd Sukol

    Mayberg Foundation

  • Rabbi Dr. Vanessa Ochs

    University of Virginia

  • Will Schneider

    Harold Grinspoon Foundation



Judges

  • Andrés Spokoiny

    Jewish Funders Network

  • Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson

    The Wexner Foundation

  • Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson

    Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

  • Jane Eisner

    The Forward

  • Dr. Jonathan Sarna

    Brandeis University

  • Lisa Eisen

    Charles and Lynn Shusterman Foundation

  • Yascha Mounk

    Johns Hopkins University

FAQ

  • Who could submit an entry for a Lippman Kanfer Prize?

    Any U.S-based 501(c)(3) or fiscally-sponsored organization, including current grantees of Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, were eligible to submit an established program or new idea for consideration. Political action committees, 501(c)(4) organizations, and programs currently funded by our foundation were ineligible for the Prize.

  • What do you mean by “Applied Jewish Wisdom”?

    We use the phrase "Applied Jewish Wisdom" to refer to the application of particular Jewish wisdom to universal human questions. We believe that the ever-accumulating body of Jewish wisdom offers inspiration and guidance to help people—Jews and fellow travelers—navigate life’s big questions, from how to be a good parent, partner, consumer, and citizen, to how to manage the struggles life throws our way, and much more.

  • Who funded this Prize?

    The 2018-19 Lippman Kanfer Prize was sponsored by Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah with support from Democracy Fund.

  • How much Prize money was awarded?

    We awarded $150,000 in prize money. Established programs were eligible for awards of $30,000 and new ideas were eligible for awards of $15,000.

  • What was the deadline for applying?

    The deadline for applications was November 30, 2018 at 3pm EST. A subset of applicants were invited to submit a second, more detailed application in December.

  • Was this part of a particular political agenda?

    The Prize was non-partisan. Political action committees and 501(c)(4) organizations were ineligible for the Prize.

    We were interested in learning about creative applications of our ancient tradition to nurturing and sustaining democracy in the 21st century. We were looking for solutions to the challenges facing democracy writ large (e.g., How might we foster respect for viewpoint diversity? How might we encourage broader participation in the political process?), not for any particular political agenda. Today more than ever, we want to focus on the common questions we share, not the ones that divide us.

  • Were international projects eligible?

    We sought projects working specifically on civic engagement and democracy in the United States.

  • When were the winners announced?

    Winners were publicly announced on March 18, 2019 at the Jewish Funders Network Conference in San Francisco.

  • To whom should I direct my questions?

    If you have questions, email us at info@lippmankanfer.org. To stay updated about the Prize, please join our mailing list.

  • Could an organization submit more than one application?

    Yes, an organization could submit two applications: one application for the new ideas category, and one application for the established programs category.

ABOUT

The 2018-19 Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom was run by Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah with support from Democracy Fund. To stay updated about the Prize, please join our mailing list.

 

The Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom celebrates applications of Jewish wisdom that help people live better lives and shape a better world. In 2016, the inaugural Lippman Kanfer Prize celebrated applications of Jewish wisdom in all areas of life and received over 200 applications from a diverse array of organizations. The 2016 Prize winners were announced at that year’s Jewish Futures Conference.

 

2016 Winners

About Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah

Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah encourages and supports endeavors to help people —Jews and fellow travelers— access and apply Jewish wisdom to live better lives and shape a better world. In other words, we apply particular Jewish wisdom to universal human questions.  We also continue the Lippman Kanfer family’s commitment to strengthening the ecosystem for innovation in the Jewish community and to the pursuit of justice. For more information, visit www.lkflt.org.

About Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. For more information, visit www.democracyfund.org.

Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah encourages and supports endeavors to help people —Jews and fellow travelers— access and apply Jewish wisdom to live better lives and shape a better world. In other words, we apply particular Jewish wisdom to universal human questions.  We also continue the Lippman Kanfer family’s commitment to strengthening the ecosystem for innovation in the Jewish community and to the pursuit of justice. For more information, visit www.lkflt.org.

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. For more information, visit www.democracyfund.org.