Seven JTS Alumni Awarded Seeds of Innovation Grants

Press Contact: Beth Mayerowitz
Office: (212) 678-8055

November 16, 2017, New York, NY

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of its Seeds of Innovation Project grants, which provide funding up to $20,000 per project for groundbreaking new initiatives developed by JTS alumni. The grants support alumni who are pioneering new ideas that foster fresh and innovative forms of Jewish engagement.

Through this initiative, JTS continues to advance the vital religious center of American Judaism by nurturing leaders who serve and impact their local communities throughout North America and beyond.

2017 JTS Seeds of Innovation grants have been awarded to the following JTS alumni:

Rabbi Adam Cutler (RS ’09)
Keeping the Faith (Maintaining and deepening the connection between Jews by Choice and Jewish communities)
Toronto, Canada

Rabbi Naomi Kalish (RS ’98, GS ’01)
Hudson Interfaith Teen Initiative (Developing a curriculum for teen leadership development in interfaith engagement and activism)
Hudson County, New Jersey

Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff (RS ’98)
LifeLinks: Home-Based Palliative Care (Bringing comprehensive and compassionate palliative care to the homes of terminally ill clients)
West Bloomfield, Michigan

Rabbi Benay Lappe (RS ’97)
Radical Educators Training Program (Equipping educators to create empowering and transformative experiences of Talmud study)
Chicago, Illinois

Eliana Light (DS ’16)
The G!D Project (Expanding and challenging understandings of God and providing a space for exploring issues of belief)
New York, New York

Rabbi Bronwen Mullin (GS ’17, RS ’17)
Bat Yiftach: A Tragic Punk Opera (Creating contemporary Jewish theater that provokes and empowers Jewish textual engagement)
New York, New York

Rabbi Elizabeth Richman (RS ’09)
Response Ability (Educating and organizing against hate from a Jewish perspective)
Washington, DC

During the last four years, JTS has awarded approximately $250,000 in grants to new and innovative programs spearheaded by alumni.

“The breadth of the seven projects led by this year’s Seeds of Innovation grant recipients reflects the expansive impact that JTS graduates exert on their communities throughout North America,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Marc Gary. “They range from exciting new social justice initiatives to radically novel approaches to teaching Talmud, and from a much needed program supporting recent converts to training therapists who provide at-home palliative care. Developing teen leaders in interfaith activism, bridging the ‘God Gap,’ and producing a punk opera based on the biblical story of Bat Yiftach—the creativity of JTS alumni in bringing Judaism to life in so many varied ways knows no bounds. We are proud to support those efforts.”

Seeds of Innovation recipients are determined by a selection committee, which includes JTS alumni, chaired by the executive vice chancellor. Eligible programs may be synagogue-based, organization-based, or independent; must be intended to have a significant impact on the Jewish community; and must have clear-cut leadership and goals. Approximately $250,000 has been awarded in grants since the program’s inception in 2014.