Joshua Venture names new Dual Investment Program Fellows

Joshua Venture Group (JVG) has announced its next cohort of Dual Investment Program Fellows – rising stars poised to set their community-changing ventures on a path of significant growth. The two fellows – Jeff Kasowitz of The Jewish Studio Project and Rabbi Benay Lappe of SVARA – will tap into Joshua Venture Group’s comprehensive suite of resources, including more than $80,000 in critical early-stage funding, coaching, training, and access to influential networks.

For the past fifteen years, Joshua Venture Group’s Dual Investment Program has championed the groundbreaking visions of emerging Jewish leaders. Kasowitz and Lappe will join an illustrious group of 40 of North America’s most exciting ventures working towards a more just, vibrant, and inclusive Jewish community. Alumni include Idit Klein (’03), executive director of Keshet; Zelig Golden (’10), founding director of Wilderness Torah; Sarah Lefton (’10), executive director and producer of Bimbam (formerly G-dcast); and Matt Bar (’12), executive director of Bible Raps.

The selection of this year’s fellows comes on the heels of Joshua Venture Group’s recent merger announcement with UpStart, Bikkurim, and the U.S. programs of PresenTense. Consolidating under the “UpStart” name, the new entity will serve as a one-stop shop for Jewish communities pursuing innovation. This cohort of JVG Fellows will be the first of this new phase, benefitting from a broader network of innovators, advisors, and funders to support the growth of their organization.

“The selection of these particular fellows reflects the moment we are in,” says Lisa Lepson, Executive Director, JVG. “For the past two years, The Jewish Studio Project and SVARA both participated in the UpStart Accelerator and are now primed for the significant funding and capacity-building resources the Dual Investment Program provides to deepen their impact. We look forward to working with each of them on this next and critical phase of their growth.”

The 2016-2018 Dual Investment Program Fellows:

Jeff Kasowitz – The Jewish Studio Project, San Francisco, CA

Part urban art studio, part house of Jewish learning, part spiritual community, The Jewish Studio Project activates creativity in individuals and communities to make meaning in our lives, promote positive social change and inspire a Judaism that is vibrant, connective and hope-filled.

Benay Lappe – SVARA, Chicago, IL

SVARA, a traditionally radical yeshiva based in Chicago, is revolutionizing Jewish education by making the spiritual, moral, and intellectual technology of Talmud study accessible and available to all Jews – many formerly alienated from Jewish life – as a practice for developing radically empathic, mature, evolved human beings who will create a more just, peaceful, and healthy world.