Lippman Kanfer Launches New Foundation to Promote “Living Torah”

The Kanfer family, a long-time giver to Jewish causes, has launched a new foundation to promote “Living Torah” – Judaism as a powerful, evolving wellspring of accumulating wisdom and sensibilities that enriches people’s lives and helps create a better world.

“Through our new foundation, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, we hope to broaden and deepen access to and engagement with the wisdom of Jewish tradition and encourage its creative application in contemporary Jewish life,” said Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, who chairs the foundation. “We believe that Jewish tradition – Torah in its largest sense – is a rich repository of ideas, values, and practices that are time-tested, but also evolving and continuously growing as successive generations, including our own, grapple with them and draw upon them to enrich and help guide their lives.”

In its grant making and other activities, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah will work with an emerging movement of individuals, organizations, and funding partners to support creative initiatives that foster and strengthen this fundamental approach to Jewish life. A major focus of the foundation’s activity will be developing and sharing learnings, conceptual frameworks, and principles of effective practice that grow out of the work of its grantees and partners. “We intend to operate with an experimental mindset,” stated Kanfer Rolnick, “and also help to strengthen the connections among those in the field and the ecosystem for innovation in the Jewish community that enable good ideas to mature and spread.” The foundation will also continue the Lippman Kanfer family’s commitment to Jews pursuing justice.

The new foundation builds upon the national Jewish philanthropic activity of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation, which will continue to operate with a focus on building and sustaining a multi-generational family culture of tzedakah as family members learn together about societal needs and make grants based on their learnings. Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation also supports Jewish learning and life in the family’s hometown of Akron, Ohio, and in the family’s other local communities of Cleveland, Ohio; Brooklyn, New York; and Chautauqua, New York.

The professional team is led by foundation president Dr. Jonathan Woocher, a widely acclaimed expert in Jewish education and former Chief Ideas Officer of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) who has worked with the Kanfer family for many years. Woocher will be joined by Executive Director Dara Weinerman Steinberg, who has staffed Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation for the past four years, Rabbi Lee Moore, Director of Jewish and Organizational Learning, and Jeanette Thomas, Coordinator of Administration.