Fifty years ago, an Akron business couple made the decision to start a small foundation to carry out their commitment to and passion for tzedakah. Today, what Goldie and Jerry Lippman began in 1966 has become a philanthropic enterprise that involves multiple generations of their nephew Joe Kanfer’s family. To mark this jubilee, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah is launching a prize competition to identify and recognize programs that help individuals and organizations access and apply Jewish wisdom in ways that enable them to live better lives and shape a better world.
Two first prizes of $18,000 will be awarded, recognizing one program of national or international scope and one program that operates locally or regionally. Two additional programs in each category will be selected for Honorable Mention and will receive $6,000 each. The Awards will be presented this November at a ceremony in New York, and all finalists and semi-finalists will be profiled in an online portfolio at www.lippmankanferprize.org.
The Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom is founded upon the belief that applied Jewish wisdom can be a profound source of inspiration and guidance. By shining a spotlight on the incredible diversity of programs and projects that are successfully applying Jewish wisdom, the Foundation aims to encourage more organizations in the Jewish community to bring this approach to their work with creativity and intentionality.
The prize website, www.lippmankanferprize.org, will feature curated descriptions of the projects submitted by applicants for the prizes and, where appropriate, videos, materials used in the projects, and first-hand accounts of participants, in order to provide rich portraits of the potent application of Jewish wisdom.
Any 501(c)3 or fiscally sponsored nonprofit organization can submit an entry online at www.lippmankanferprize.org before August 15, 2016. Programs in any area of Jewish life where Jewish teaching and practice are being used to help participants live better lives and shape a better world are eligible for the prizes, and applicants will be judged holistically on a variety of criteria that can be found on the prize website.
“One of the Jewish sensibilities that have informed our establishment of this prize is na’aseh v’nishmah, what we describe as ‘we will do and then we will understand’,” states Foundation Board Chair Marcella Kanfer Rolnick. “We see our community trying new and exciting ways to apply Jewish wisdom, learning the power and impact they can have as we go. We at Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah are honored to celebrate this sacred work and amplify the experiments that show great promise and serve as models.”
“The great challenge we face as a community today is how to make Jewish life meaningful to Jews on a day to day basis,” adds Dr. Jonathan Woocher, Foundation President. “Jewish wisdom addresses so many areas important to individuals and families today – from personal spiritual growth, to effective parenting, to how to live sustainably, to how to create a more just and peaceful world. Our goal in inaugurating this Prize is not just to recognize exemplary programs that currently exist, but to stimulate new efforts to enrich people’s lives by applying Jewish wisdom across many spheres of activity.”