From Our Blog

Leadership Development: A Strategy Emerges, Investments are Made

By Barry Finestone and Seth Linden on October 23rd, 2017

The challenges facing the future of Jewish leadership are well-chronicled—from identifying talent, to training and retaining leaders, to ensuring that Jewish organizations are utilizing leaders to their full abilities. As we have shared, the Foundation understands the urgent need to address these challenges—and is taking action. After a strategy retreat in August, the Foundation’s Board of Directors affirmed a commitment to increase its support for talented and inspiring Jewish educators and leaders. While the Foundation has supported Jewish education leadership over its past 11 years, actions over the past several months have reinforced a more proactive, field-building and risk-tolerant approach. An emerging leadership development strategy is taking shape and guiding critical investment decisions. The Foundation’s recent $3 million investment ...More

Can you hear me now? Why Face-to-Face Interactions Still Matter in the Modern Age

By Margie Bogdanow and Rabbi Dena Shaffer on October 17th, 2017

In the year 5778, the future, it seems, is now. If someone 50 years ago time-traveled to today and saw the myriad technologies and devices that make possible working virtually, she would be amazed, to say the least. She would see a professional environment for many where video conference, shared screens (of all kinds), emails, texts, and other virtual communication are the norm. Wow. In many regards, we are fortunate to operate with these options. Geography, and sometimes even budgets, suddenly become nearly irrelevant as people around the world can collaborate, learn from each other, and trouble-shoot challenges either in real-time or as soon as they’re able to check their smart phone. The timing and place is entirely up to the ...More

Jewish EdTech in a World of Cognitive Surplus

By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky on October 13th, 2017

This is the final piece of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. In an age where everyone has ready access to what would have recently been considered to be a supercomputer, how can an industrial–age educational system adapt to an abundance of knowledge and tools? ...More

What the Specialty Camp Incubator Signals to the Field of Jewish Education

By Michele Friedman and Ellen Irie on September 5th, 2017

Five years ago, Foundation for Jewish Camp, with the support of the Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations, launched the second cohort of Jewish Specialty Camp Incubator. With the conclusion of the grant period late last year, an independent evaluation (viewable as Executive Summary and Full Report), conducted by Informing Change, shows many of the same important, positive outcomes as were seen in the first incubator: Incubator camps attract middle and high school youth who wouldn’t otherwise attend Jewish camp; The camps’ specialties drive camp enrollment and help keep campers coming back; With Incubator staff guidance, the four camps quickly developed the infrastructure necessary for organizational growth and stability; Incubator camps infuse Jewish content into the camp ...More

Jewish Education: An Every Day Response to Hate

By The Jim Joseph Foundation on September 1st, 2017

Like so many, we are angry, upset and concerned by the recent public demonstrations of anti-Semitism, racism, and hatred in this country. As a foundation devoted to Jewish education and Jewish life, the events in Charlottesville struck a particular nerve—especially knowing that our founder, Jim Joseph, z”l, came to the United States with his family as a young child to escape the rise of Nazism in Eastern Europe. The recent displays of hatred and violence by white nationalists move us to take action, and to invite others to do the same. With the school year beginning, we see a clear opportunity to support educators to channel their students’ concerns about these events into essential lessons about tolerance and civil discourse and ...More

Making Sense: Reflecting on Evaluations at the Jim Joseph Foundation

By Stacie Cherner on August 16th, 2017

A core part of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s relational approach to grantmaking is supporting grantees to evaluate their programs—either through engaging an external evaluator or by collecting and analyzing data internally.  The Foundation has always believed this is good grantmaking; it builds the capacity of organizations to ask questions, to collect data, and to reflect on findings in a way that then enables changes to be made to increase success. In this period of transition at the Foundation, the grantmaking team has asked some pertinent questions regarding our evaluation program: “What are we learning from the evaluation work we have supported over the past eleven years?” and “Are there common lessons and emerging themes that we ...More

A Funder-Grantee Partnership for Program Evaluation: How a Small Experiment Yielded a Mighty Partnership

By Anna Kernus, Roey Kruvi, and Rachel Halevi on August 15th, 2017

In 2015, Moishe House (MH) began implementing a new pilot program designed to explore a model for engagement. Premised on peer-led retreats, Jewish young adults attend a weekend training called Retreatology: The Art of Jewish Retreat Making. Following their training, they then facilitate their own Jewish learning retreat—grounded in Jewish learning, Jewish values, and personal interests—for a group of their peers. MH provides facilitators with a mentor and a grant for up to $5,000 to create an immersive learning experience to assist in the planning and execution. MH and the Jim Joseph Foundation, one of MH’s major funders, recognized the program merited a more substantive evaluation than just the standard feedback survey, but MH lacked the capacity to hire an ...More

Ubiquity, Access, & Availability: How EdTech Can Transform Schools, Homes, & Anywhere In Between

By Michael Cohen, The Tech Rabbi on August 15th, 2017

This is part 11 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology. To understand and then appreciate technology’s role in our learning and our lives, we need to understand ...More

Jewish EdTech: If You Build It, Will They Come?

By Jarred Myers and Nicky Newfield on August 9th, 2017

This is part 10 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology. Developing the Jewish EdTech ecosystem requires an agile investment approachThe optimal framework for this is an ...More

Augmented Reality in Jewish Day Schools

By Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg on August 9th, 2017

This is part 9 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology.

Augmented reality tools can be used by teachers and students to enhance ...More

The Jim Joseph Foundation invests in promising Jewish education grant initiatives. We partner with effective organizations that seek to inspire young people to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.