For the first time, Rose Community Foundation has awarded $197,222 in grants to seven synagogues as part of a one-time pilot to fund new, innovative programs or projects that:
- promote new Jewish connections and participation
- create new ways to deliver meaning, purpose, spirituality and welcoming
- transcend traditional boundaries – both spiritual and geographic.
Many synagogues are challenged by the low levels of affiliation of Jews, particularly younger Jews. A 2007 Metro Denver/Boulder Jewish Community Study revealed that 81% of all Jews report that spirituality is very important or somewhat important to them, but only 19% report that Jewish congregations contributed a lot to their spiritual life, down from a figure of 28% in 1997.
According to Lisa Farber Miller, senior program officer at Rose Community Foundation,
We know that younger Jews want to connect with their Jewish traditions but may not find that connection through traditional synagogue programming. This pilot grant program is designed to help synagogues address changing demographics in the Jewish community, including addressing the needs of younger generations of Jews.”
Each innovative program funded though these grants will be evaluated as it is developed and implemented. Following is a list of the grants and descriptions of the projects for which the grant funds will be used.
BMH-BJ Congregation (Denver): $55,000 to create Sunburst Shabbat, monthly Friday night gatherings for families featuring musical services and informal dinners. bmh-bj.org
B’nai Chaim (Morrison): $24,220 to support Sensational! Judaism: Engaging the Five Senses, a series of seven experiential learning programs around Jewish holidays. bnaichaim.org
B’nai Havurah – CJRF (Denver): $19,000 to train teen and adult congregants as connectors who will lead programming for havurot (small fellowship groups), the congregation and the community at large. bnaihavurah.org
Congregation Beth Evergreen (Evergreen): $12,022 to support new programs and special Shabbat activities called “See What’s Happening at CBE.” bethevergreen.org
Hebrew Educational Alliance (Denver): $58,900 to create JConnect, offering Jews ages 25 to 39 spiritual, cultural, educational and social experiences. headenver.org
Kohelet (Denver): $7,080 to create six “Jewish Survival Guide” workshops about Jewish lifecycle events for Jews in their 20s and 30s. kohelet.org
Temple Sinai (Denver): $21,000 to integrate special needs students and their families into the religious school. sinaidenver.org
Rose Community Foundation supports efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the Greater Denver community through its endowed grantmaking programs, and by advising and assisting donors who wish to make thoughtful charitable investments to better the community. The Foundation has granted more than $167 million since it was founded in 1995. For more information, visit rcfdenver.org.