Contact: Jason Edelstein, (510) 239-1102
NEW YORK, NY (December 2, 2013) – NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation and the Natan Fund today announced the recipients of the 2013 Natan/NEXT Grants for Social Entrepreneurs, designed to support ongoing cultural, educational, service, and community-building projects run by young Jewish adults for their peers. The grants will total $25,000 to four recipients to further realize their vision of Jewish life in their communities.
“These entrepreneurial young adults are driven by a passion to inspire their peers,” says Morlie Levin, CEO of NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. “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.”
Jackie Fishman, program officer of the Natan Fund, says, “The 2013 grant recipients are visionary leaders shaping their communities and making an impact on the Jewish future. From theater, to spirituality, to technology, these four projects show that young adults express their Jewish identity in many different ways and we hope our support will help these projects achieve even greater outcomes.”
This year’s Natan/NEXT Grants for Social Entrepreneurs recipients are:
Jesse Freedman, Jewish Plays Project
The Jewish Plays Project puts bold, progressive Jewish conversations on world stages. It aims to bring great plays to life in order to create new pathways to Jewish identity. Jesse is a New York City-based theater artist and teaching artist. He is also the co-founder of Meta-Phys. Ed, a multidisciplinary performance collective that creates Jewish text-based theater.
Naomi Leight, Jewcer
Jewcer teaches independent Jewish creators and organizations how to use crowdfunding technology to fundraise for their initiatives and the global Jewish community. Naomi is co-founder of Jewcer.com and serves as the media, communications and diplomacy specialist. Currently, she is the assistant director for Research & Publications at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School and a partner in Rimona Consulting.
Steven Philp, Mishkan Chicago
Mishkan Chicago is an independent spiritual community reclaiming Judaism’s dynamic core through creative, intellectual, and authentic engagement with our inherited tradition. Steven is Mishkan's rabbinic intern and graphic designer. He is currently a dual-degree student at the University of Chicago, pursuing his Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work.
David Singer, Makom
Makom, an innovative spiritual community in Dallas, is a hub for experimentation and imagination. Makom takes the synagogue out of the synagogue, empowering Jews to build traditional, dynamic Jewish life on their own terms. David is the founder and rabbi of Makom, and was named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one of American's Most Inspiring Rabbis.
Natan inspires young philanthropists to become actively engaged in Jewish giving by funding innovative projects that are shaping the Jewish future.
NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation connects Birthright Israel trip alumni and their peers with meaningful Jewish living and learning opportunities nationally, locally and in Israel. We also work to create a Jewish community that is ready to receive alumni, who possess diverse needs, interests and inclinations. By investing in and convening those who work with young Jewish adults, as well as offering resources and thought-leadership, we catalyze growth and stimulate opportunities for engagement.