The Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) has awarded a total of $80,000 to four Jewish day schools through Ignition Grants for God Expansion.
JEIC initiated its Ignition Grants program in late 2018 to continue to catalyze change in day schools by supporting creative, out-of-the-box programs through micro-grants to a wider population of schools. Ignition Grants for God Expansion were added in summer 2020 to advance distinctive, enduring approaches for elevating and deepening the God-student relationship.
The Jewish day schools receiving JEIC Ignition Grants for God Expansion are:
- Bnai Shalom Day School in Greensboro, NC for “Planting God-Expansive Idea Seeds”: The school will engage a respected artist and lecturer to teach about God as part of professional development, curriculum development, and student experiences. The program will follow the school’s vision of teaching students to embrace their lineage as “God wrestlers” through text, tefillah (prayer), and trust-building conversations. Family education is part of the design as is support and spiritual development for the staff.
- Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland, OH for “Lifnai V’Lifnim”: The school received a previous JEIC grant to train staff to infuse social-emotional learning with spiritual development as part of text study, based on the work of Rabbi Dov Singer. With this grant, they will add Lev HaShavua (trust building) and Sichot Ishiyot (personal discussions) aspects in order to allow direct conversations with and guidance for students in creating and deepening a relationship with God.
- Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls in Teaneck, NJ for “Nurturing Souls in Jewish Education”: This program is comprised of three parts: A) Revising the curriculum with an eye to making spiritual relevance and “personalizing Torah” an explicit part of Judaic Studies, B) Facilitating an advisory program based on social-emotional and Torah values to nurture souls, and C) Offering a student-centered Mishmar program with speakers exploring the topic of God and personal spirituality.
- Mesivta Kesser Torah in Baltimore, MD for “English Language Arts Expositions of God”: In this program, 12th grade students will conduct extensive research on topics of emunah (belief in God), write papers, present oral reports, and explain how the sources resonate on a personal level.
Over the past seven years, JEIC has supported more than 30 Jewish day schools’ innovations aimed at reigniting students’ passion for Jewish learning and improving the way Jewish values, literacy, practice and belief are transferred to the next generation. In addition to innovations funded through both Ignition Grants and Ignition Grants for God Expansion, many other previously-piloted educational models are available for scaling and implementing with JEIC’s investment of financial support and programmatic resources. Visit https://www.jewishchallenge.org/funding-for-piloted-models to explore the current offerings.
About: The Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) is a bold initiative to catalyze radical change in Jewish day schools across North America. By collaborating with educators, funders, influencers, and consumers JEIC challenges day schools to optimize student internalization of Jewish wisdom, identity, and decision making in the modern world. Initiated in 2012 and incubated by the Mayberg Foundation, JEIC draws support through multiple philanthropic partners in its pursuit of lasting school change through directed funding, philanthropic partnerships, impactful conferences, and innovative educational enterprises. Visit www.JewishChallenge.org.