Jewish digital media projects awarded grants


(JTA) — The Jewish New Media Innovation Fund has announced $500,000 in grants to nine digital media projects.

The projects are designed to engage 18- to 40-year-olds in Jewish life, learning culture and community.

The awards announced Monday are the first in the pilot program funded by the Jim Joseph, Righteous Persons, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family foundations.

The projects include a digital platform for exploring historical dimensions of Jewish music and culture; an interactive, customizable Haggadah creator; a parenting website targeting the vast spectrum of Jewish families, with local online communities and an interactive Jewish baby name bank; online cartoon videos that teach how to lead Jewish rituals and holidays in the home; and an online community that translates traditional Jewish liturgy into modern language.

Each project will receive one-time funding for one year, as well as mentoring and coaching, and resources for benchmarking and evaluating success.

“Our goal is to support innovative initiatives using new media to engage and deepen Jewish identity,” said Phyllis Cook, a member of the Jim Joseph Foundation board of directors. “It is my hope that some of these projects will surprise us with their effectiveness and that we will learn how to employ this media effectively in touching the next generation.”

The nine finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 300 applications in eight countries and requesting an estimated $18 million. Nearly two-thirds of the applications came from not-for-profit organizations, with the rest submitted by for-profits and individuals.

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