Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah encourages and supports endeavors to help Jews (and others) apply Jewish wisdom to live better lives and shape a better world. We currently operate in four areas — grantmaking, convening, thought partnership, and communications — to pursue this objective.
In 2016 Lippman Kanfer Family Philanthropies celebrates its 50th Anniversary. In Jewish tradition, a 50 year cycle is uniquely special and is known as Jubilee (Yovel.) We have chosen to celebrate our Jubilee year by inaugurating a brand new prize, one that will recognize outstanding achievement in applied Jewish wisdom.
We hope this prize will show how applied Jewish wisdom is enhancing the lives of individuals and communities and inspire a variety of new ways in which organizations will use Jewish wisdom to improve their programs and strengthen their impact.
The Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom has been created to encourage, recognize and reward programs that engage individuals and communities in applying Jewish wisdom in creative and impactful ways.
One winner and two runners-up will be recognized in two separate categories — Local/Regional and National/International (a significant US program is required for international programs). Winners will receive $18,000 toward their work, and runners-up will receive $6,000 each.
Finalists and Semi-finalists are featured on this website to highlight the diversity of noteworthy programs that share an applied Jewish wisdom approach.
Learn more about the 2016 eligibility and judging criteria here. Learn more about our plans for 2017 and 2018 here. Please subscribe to the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah monthly newsletter to be sure you receive notice of the 2018 Prize and other opportunities.
50 years ago, in 1966, Jerome Lippman (1913-2005) — known as Jerry to his friends, employees, and customers, and as “Grandpa Jerry” to the current generation of Kanfer family members — and Goldie Lippman (1911-1972) established the Jerome Lippman Family Foundation, later renamed Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation.
The children of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Goldie and Jerry Lippman embodied the American dream. Jerry’s parents came to the United States in 1892 to escape the Cossack pogroms against the Jews of Lithuania. Goldie, the second oldest of four children, was born in Cincinnati and moved with her family to Akron.
In 1946, Jerry and Goldie founded GOJO to solve the problem Goldie and her co-workers faced after a hard day’s work in the local rubber plants: how to safely remove carbon black from their hands. They invented the first easily rinsed off heavy-duty hand cleaner. Jerry made the hand cleaner at night in his garage and sold it out of the back of his car during the day. Goldie managed the office and was in charge of bookkeeping and purchasing. The company was originally called GoJer for Goldie and Jerry.
Jerry and Goldie were committed to Jewish life and social justice for all in Akron, the place where they had founded their business and were making their life together, and embodied a commitment to seeking out and applying Jewish wisdom throughout their lives, serving as powerful role models for all who knew them.
Jerry used the Yiddish phrase “an oremeh huckster’s, a zun” to describe himself. He was the “son of a poor peddler,” a self-made man without self-importance. He knew he was no more and no less special than anyone else. He often said, “You too can do what needs to be done. Go, do what needs to be done.”
We honor their memories and the core values they instilled throughout the generations of the Lippman Kanfer family, and commemorate the Jubilee anniversary of a philanthropic institution that has grown strong from the seeds they planted.
Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah promotes and supports “Living Torah” — Judaism as a powerful, evolving wellspring of accumulating wisdom and sensibilities that enriches people’s lives and helps create a better world.
Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah encourages and supports endeavors to help Jews (and others) access and apply Jewish wisdom to live better lives and shape a better world. We currently operate in four areas — grantmaking, convening, thought partnership, and communications — to pursue this objective. We are also continuing the Lippman Kanfer family’s commitment to strengthening the ecosystem for innovation in the Jewish community and to the pursuit of justice.
By launching the Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom we hope to make a broad audience aware of the power of Jewish wisdom to improve lives – giving recognition to programs that are doing this already, and inspiring others to apply Jewish wisdom in their programs and activities.
Above all, we seek to be a good partner with others on the journey, learning and sharing our insights as we go.
To give to the innocent, wisdom; to the one who has not yet learned anything, knowledge and counsel. – Proverbs 1:4
We are honored to have the sage counsel of the following Judges and Reviewers, all experts in Jewish philanthropy, applied Jewish wisdom, and organizational development. Prize decisions will be advised by our Reviewers and made by a committee of Judges and our Board.
Felicia Herman has been Executive Director of Natan since 2005. Natan empowers givers by engaging them in giving circles inspired by Jewish values through The Natan Fund, a giving circle of emerging philanthropists supporting Jewish and Israeli social innovation, and through Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement, a field-builder and resource for Jewish giving circles around the world. Felicia serves on the boards of Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas and Sefaria. She is a recipient of JFN’s JJ Greenberg Memorial Award, and she holds a Ph.D. in Jewish History from Brandeis University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three children.
In his 29th year of service to The Wexner Foundation, and after thirteen years as its President, Larry Moses serves as the Foundation’s Senior Philanthropic Advisor. He was the Founding Director of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program in 1987, and later Foundation Vice President. As Leslie and Abigail Wexner's senior philanthropic advisor, Larry plays a key role in organizing the family’s philanthropic activities, and works closely with Jewish philanthropists and public leaders in Central Ohio, throughout North America and across the globe. Larry's scholarly interests rest largely in the arena of Holocaust studies. His mother was a survivor of Auschwitz, and Larry has taught extensively on various historical, theological and human dimensions of the Holocaust. Larry has received a variety of community and organizational awards and serves on a number of boards and advisory committees, including as an officer of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Funders Network, as a Board and Executive Committee member of Hillel International and as a member of the External Advisory Committee for the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive Program. He is married to Dr. Susan Steinman, a psychotherapist and researcher, and they are the parents of Dr. Alana Moses and Danielle Moses.
Toby Rubin is the founding visionary of UpStart, an organization devoted to advancing innovation expressions of Jewish thought and practice. She recently completed her ten-year tenure as CEO during which she built a team of leaders that brought UpStart from a start-up to a high-impact, paradigm-shifting organization. Toby's interest in entrepreneurship and innovation arose after years of partnering with - and providing professional development to – professionals working within established Jewish. She saw too many new ideas being lost in the face of inhospitable systems. She “couldn’t not” find a solution to such a frustrating problem, and sought to empower and accelerate the success of the many talented Jewish professionals-young and older- coming through her door.
After years of successful lawyering on behalf of students with disabilities seeking free, appropriate education, she spent years in lay and professional leadership in secular and Jewish non-profits. In 2002, she directed a fellowship for educators of Jewish teens supporting innovation or re-imagination of Jewish programming, rising to Associate Director responsible for all program. She pushed that agency to “draw outside the lines” of its usual strategies, and brought UpStart to life out of her experience there. Husband Robert and 3 outstanding young adult children, Rachel, Sadie, and Eli, inspire her daily.
Dr. Jeffrey R. Solomon currently serves as Senior Advisor to Chasbro Investments, the family office of Charles Bronfman.
For almost twenty years, he was the President of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, a group of foundations operating in Canada, Israel and the United States. Among the foundations’ innovative launches were Birthright Israel and Reboot, two initiatives aimed at connecting young, assimilated Jews to their tradition, The Gift of New York, a powerful response to September 11, helping to heal families of victims through the power of culture, and Project Involvement, an educational reform program serving some 265,000 Israeli elementary school students.
He currently sits on the Boards of the Leichtag Foundation in San Diego, the Jim Joseph Foundation in San Francisco and FJC: a Foundation of Philanthropic Funds in New York. He is the Chair of Leading Edge, an organization aimed at talent acquisition and retention in the Jewish community and serves as an officer of the Peaceworks Foundation and the Diabetes Media Foundation. He also served on the Board of the Council on Foundations, where he chaired the Committee on Ethics and Practice and sat on its Executive Committee. He is a founding trustee of the World Faiths Development Dialogue and has received a number of honors from professional associations and universities.
He previously served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UJA-Federation of New York. Other past positions include executive roles at Altro Health & Rehabilitation Services in New York, Miami Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged and Jewish Family and Children's Services in Miami. Dr. Solomon also served with the City, State and Federal Governments. He is an author of over 120 publications in both professional journals and outlets such as The Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, he served as an adjunct associate professor in the masters and doctorate programs of New York University School of Social Work.
His widely acclaimed book, The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan, co-authored with Charles Bronfman, was published by Wiley/Jossey-Bass in October, 2009. It has been awarded the Axiom Gold Medal in philanthropy and has been translated and published in South Korea. The sequel, The Art of Doing Good: Where Passion Meets Action, also published by Wiley/Jossey-Bass (September, 2012), which explores the principles and practices of nonprofit social enterprise, extracting the lessons from the journeys of eighteen social entrepreneurs.
The Jewish Funders Network works with Jewish funders, at the individual and collective levels, to improve the quality of their giving and maximize their impact as they make the change they want to see in the world. JFN leverages the power and the creativity of networks to produce change in the Jewish World.
Andres Spokoiny is a long-time Jewish communal leader with a history of leading successful organizational transformations. The CEO of Federation CJA in Montreal from 2009–2011, he helped fundamentally change the Federation’s operations and its relationship with the community.
In Montreal, as a young, ‘out of the box’ Federation executive, he spearheaded a new branding strategy and initiated and developed innovative community programs that are now being used as models across North America.
Before joining the Federation, Andres worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Community (JDC) in Paris. As Regional Director for Northeast Europe, he was responsible for a number of pan-European projects, leading programs in the areas of Welfare, Leadership Development, Jewish Renewal, Education, Community Development, and Outreach, and building coalitions with local and international organizations, public and private.
While at JDC, Andres also served as the Director of Leatid Europe, a leadership training institute for Jewish lay and professional leaders and directed the International Center for Community Development, a partnership of JDC and Oxford University to produce applied research and knowledge management for community development practitioners.
Before his Jewish communal work, Andres worked for IBM and was responsible for training, development, hiring, and recruitment for IBM's Latin America Southern Region during a period of major restructuring.
Originally from Argentina, Andres has a multidisciplinary academic background including business, education and rabbinical studies in different institutions around the world. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Yiddish, and is proficient in Russian and German.
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