Grants awarded for communal projects


Thirty-five young Jewish activists from around the world will receive seed money to launch innovative communal projects.

The grants, mostly $3,000 to $5,000, were announced Thursday by the Vancouver-based Center for Leadership Initiatives, and will use money from a $100,000 grant pool provided by philanthropist Lynn Schusterman.

The projects are in the fields of Jewish culture, Internet content, environmental activism, tikkun olam, youth programming and Israel advocacy. They range from a course on “Torah and Modern Science” in several Russian cities, to a clean-up campaign for the streets of Jerusalem, to a program to train Latin American students to represent Israel at model U.N. missions.

The grantees are former participants in the ROI global summit, a four-day workshop for young Jewish innovators sponsored by the center and Birthright Israel that has taken place the last two summers in Jerusalem.

The summit gives young Jewish communal activists space and resources to develop projects aimed at furthering Jewish identity in the next generation, according to Yonatan Gordis, the executive director of the center. This first round of grants is aimed at getting some of the best projects off the ground.

“This $3,000 can allow them to take the next step, give them a boost up and let them run with their vision,” he said. “We want to help them create community in their own image, not impose it top-down.”

The ROI summit this summer will bring 120 new and returning young Jewish innovators to Jerusalem.

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