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Israeli NADAV Foundation Funds North American Groups

-- Ellen Witman

In a rare turn of events, an Israeli foundation dedicated to strengthening Jewish peoplehood has granted funds to six North American organizations to support their programs. While American organizations and foundations have been contributing financial assistance to Israeli agencies since before the founding of the State, the reverse flow of funds is a novel twist.

The Tel Aviv-based NADAV Foundation for the Advancement of Jewish Heritage announced in a January 25 press release that its “Jewish Peoplehood Innovation Grants” were awarded to the North American non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to connect Jews from different places and perspectives in order to build collective Jewish identity and strengthen the global Jewish community. The Foundation expects the organizations to use the funds to help foster Jewish identity worldwide through knowledge of history, culture and religion, while enhancing the sense of belonging to and responsibility for the larger Jewish collective.

The six grant recipients are: Hillel at Baruch (City College of New York), The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (DC), The Jewish Outreach Institute, Jumpstart, Mechon Hadar and The Michael Ann Russell Jewish Community Center of Miami. They were selected from among 46 applicants. Each NGO will receive up to $10,000 to implement programs that build a connection with the larger Jewish collective.

“Our aim was to encourage and support projects with the capacity to radiate beyond the specific initiative itself – either by serving as a model or by touching people who will go into leadership positions”, said NADAV Foundation President, Irina Nevzlin Kogan. “Jewish Peoplehood is a global concept, and it’s important that our grant dollars reflect this and reach beyond Israel. To our knowledge this is the first time a foundation founded and run by Israelis is awarding grants in North America.“

The specific programs that received funding are:

  • Hillel at Baruch (CUNY) - To run a joint learning and service project in partnership with Tel Aviv University Hillel and Hillel Kiev.
  • Jewish Outreach Institute's Mothers’ Circle Program - To develop a unit on Jewish Peoplehood and Israel to be offered in a course for non-Jewish women who are raising Jewish children.
  • Jumpstart - To create a Jewish Innovation database that develops connections among people in different fields and locales around shared interests.
  • Kulanu - A program for high school students based at the Michael Ann Russell JCC in Miami, FL which develops international connections among Jewish teens.
  • Mechon Hadar - To support participation of international students in a summer fellowship program at this traditional, egalitarian yeshiva in New York which attracts students in their 20’s and 30’s from around the world and across denominations and levels of Jewish education.
  • Reverse Mifgash - A birthright alumni program run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, DC that brings American, Israeli and Muscovite alumni together for a 10 day experience in the Washington DC area.

The NADAV Foundation for the Advancement of Jewish Heritage was founded in 2003. The name combines the initials of its three founders - Nevzlin, Dubov and Brudno. According to its website:

The Fund's activities aim at building a meaningful and pluralistic Jewish identity while creating lasting connections among Jews in Israel and the world over, particularly among young Jews. Through its grants, the Nadav Foundation seeks to ensure that Jewish Peoplehood in the 21st century is a knowledge based sense of belonging to the Jewish People rooted in thoughtful engagement with and profound understanding of its rich cultural, religious and historical legacy.
Reflecting the culture and heritage of its founders, the NADAV Foundation also supports academic research in the fields of Russian and Eastern European Jewish Study Projects.

To view previous editions from our Israel section, please click here.

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