Young Jewish entrepreneurs earn grants for social initiatives

NEW YORK (JTA) – Four young Jewish entrepreneurs received grants to encourage social entrepreneurship among young Jews.

The grants handed out this week from Natan/NEXT, a joint project of the Natan Fund and NEXT, a division of the Birthright Israel Foundation, total $25,000.

The recipients are Jesse Friedman, a New York City-based theater artist, for his Jewish Plays Project, which aims to put on theatrical productions of Jewish interest; Naomi Leight, assistant director for Research & Publications at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, for her work in Jewcer.com, which helps Jewish organizations use crowdfunding to further their goals; Stephen Philp, of Chicago, for his Mishkan Chicago project, an alternative spiritual community that incorporates music and dance; and David Singer, of Dallas, for Makom, a spiritual community in his hometown that emphasizes youth engagement, social justice and environmental responsibility.

“These entrepreneurial young adults are driven by a passion to inspire their peers,” said Morlie Levin, CEO of NEXT. “Their unique projects are indicative of the kind of authentic experiences the Birthright Israel Generation creates for their friends — ones which we must support in order for them to find themselves in our Jewish community.”

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