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Competing for next big Jewish idea

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The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Foundation is holding a contest to find the next great Jewish innovation.

The foundation will award a two-year visiting professorship at Brandeis University, called the Charles R. Bronfman Visiting Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation, to the person who comes up with an idea that can transform how the Jewish community thinks about itself. The winner of the open competition will receive a six-figure salary.

The winner, to be determined in late winter, will have two years at Brandeis to publish a significant English- language work based on his or her idea. The goal is to find an idea akin to the next birthright israel, said Jonathan Sarna, chair of the Hornstein Jewish professional leadership program, which will administer the new chair.

“We only have to look at the high-tech industry to see that all ideas don’t all pan out, but all you need is one Google or Mapquest to justify a whole lot of ideas that don’t go anywhere,” Sarna said. “We are looking within the Jewish community for great ideas like that. Charles Bronfman feels there may be lots of people who have those ideas and haven’t had a chance to put them on the table and work them out.”

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