Selected Past and Ongoing Partnerships
American Hebrew Academy
The American Hebrew Academy (AHA) in Greensboro, NC is America’s only Jewish pluralistic college prep boarding school that accepts students from all over the world. Its mission is to provide a nurturing educational environment where students are challenged to prepare for college, explore their Jewish identity, and graduate with lifelong skills for learning and leadership. AHA honors the diversity of the Jewish people and embraces Jewish customs, practices and culture. The Jewish backgrounds of its students, teachers, coaches, administrators, parents and friends are varied, but the school’s pioneering spirit connects them all. At the American Hebrew Academy, students discover what it means to be Jewish. For many, the school provides their first experience in a setting with other Jewish teenagers. Some are observant; others are just beginning to explore their Jewish identities.
AHA is modeled after the best boarding schools in the nation. Its classes are designed to prepare students for college and to expand their understanding of their Jewish heritage and religion. Students learn to think analytically and creatively, to write clearly and concisely, and to integrate facts into concepts. Above all, they acquire a passion for learning.
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
Hillel is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. It provides opportunities for Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity through its global network of regional centers, campus Foundations and Hillel student organizations. Hillel is working to provoke a renaissance of Jewish life.
Hillel’s mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Hillel student leaders, professionals and lay leaders are dedicated to creating a pluralistic, welcoming and inclusive environment for Jewish college students, where they are encouraged to grow intellectually, spiritually and socially. Hillel helps students find a balance in being distinctively Jewish and universally human by encouraging them to pursue tzedek (social justice), tikkun olam (repairing the world) and Jewish learning, and to support Israel and global Jewish peoplehood. Hillel is committed to excellence, innovation, accountability and results.
Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania
In addition to supporting Hillel on a national scale, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life has supported various programs to strengthen and enhance Jewish life at Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jewish Renaissance Project
The Jewish Renaissance Project at the University of Pennsylvania engages Jewish college students through a variety of outlets within the context of campus life. In order to involve students at all points of their college experience, programs are implemented in non-parochial campus facilities such as dormitories, fraternities and sororities. In partnership with Hillel, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life has supported the Jewish Renaissance Project at Penn as a premier venue for training Hillel professionals nationwide in the work of engagement.
In order to support and augment Penn’s burgeoning Jewish culture, Judy and Michael Steinhardt gave the naming gift for Steinhardt Hall of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania. Opened in October 2003, Steinhardt Hall is a 36,000 square foot facility that includes a large auditorium, kosher dining facilities, places of worship, lounges and meeting rooms. It is designed to be the nexus of Jewish life at Penn.
Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI)
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life recognizes the power of early childhood education in inculcating Jewish identity and beginning a life-long commitment to Jewish learning and life. Moreover, outstanding Jewish preschools have the capacity to not only enrich a child’s identity, but to inspire an entire family to choose Jewish living. Simply put, an excellent Jewish preschool experience is a gateway for the whole family to increased Jewish education and involvement in the synagogue and community.
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, in partnership with The S. Daniel Abraham Foundation, The Helen Bader Foundation, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Ben and Esther Rosenbloom Foundation, The Schultz Family Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York and Combined Jewish Philanthropies/JCCs of Greater Boston, launched the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI), a nationwide initiative designed to create models of excellence in Jewish early childhood education, increase the number of families with children attending quality Jewish early childhood centers, and raise the number of families continuing to engage in Jewish learning and living after pre-school. To accomplish this, JECEI provided grants, mentoring, accreditation, co-branding, and marketing with the aim of transforming Jewish pre-schools into centers of Jewish educational excellence.
Although JECEI ceased operation in 2011, the Steinhardt Foundation maintains its website and the resources thereon as a service for Jewish Early Child Education developers and practitioners
Jewish Journey Project
The Jewish Journey Project (JJP) is an initiative designed to dramatically re-invent the afternoon religious school experience to make children and their families more committed to Jewish life and community. It is the vision of Rabbi Joy Levitt, the executive director of The JCC in Manhattan, and is being directed by Rabbi Lori Forman-Jacobi. Launched in the winter of 2011 with funding from seven different national and New York area Jewish foundations, JJP is working with prominent synagogues, JCCs and other educational partners in the Greater New York area to build a unique journey through the possibilities of Jewish life for students in Third through Seventh grades.
Over five years, students will fully integrate Jewish education into their lives by experiencing the vibrant resources of the New York Jewish community. They will come to understand that Jewish learning takes place in many settings, not just the traditional classroom. Upon celebrating their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, each child will have a Passport that documents the pathways they have traveled on their unique Jewish journey. This integrated experience of Jewish learning will encourage them to explore new pathways as they enter young adulthood.
As part of our continuing efforts to create points of engagement for unaffiliated Jews, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life partnered with the Samuel Bronfman Foundation and others in supporting MyJewishLearning.com.
MyJewishLearning.com is a comprehensive, pluralistic website of Jewish information and education geared towards learners of all ages and educational backgrounds. As the central Internet site for learning about Judaism, it offers thousands of articles covering such topics as history, culture, holidays and texts. One of the distinguishing features of the site is its guided learning feature, which allows users of widely varying background to find information suited to their needs. Content on the site is packaged to invite and facilitate ever-deepening levels of learning. Its learning materials are representative of the wide range of trans-denominational perspectives within Judaism.
In addition, MyJewishLearning.com operates a Jewish parenting site, www.kveller.com.
The PJ Library program supports families in their Jewish journeys by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children aged six months to five, six, seven or eight years, depending on the community. Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, The PJ Library is a national program implemented by local communities. With its commitment to engaging Jewish children and their parents in early childhood as an essential part of cultivating a strong Jewish identity and a lifelong involvement, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life has supported the PJ Library program in the Greater New York metropolitan area in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University
In its continuing efforts to improve the quality of Jewish education, Michael and Judy Steinhardt support the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. As part of Michael Steinhardt’s naming gift, the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies have created a joint Ph.D. program in Education and Jewish Studies. Designed to develop leaders for a wide range of settings, this new program combines course work at the School of Education and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies with a two-year seminar on issues in Jewish education. Tracks are available in administration, curriculum, and academics/research. A competitive fellowship is available to selected students, providing up to three years of full-time tuition support and a living stipend.
Steinhardt Social Research Institute
As part of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life’s ongoing efforts to understand the full dimensions of American Jewish life, Michael Steinhardt established the Steinhardt Social Research Institute (SSRI) at Brandeis University. The Steinhardt Social Research Institute is dedicated to providing unbiased, high quality data about contemporary Jewry. The institute conducts socio-demographic research, studies the attitudes and behavior of U.S. Jews, and develops a variety of policy-focused analyses of issues such as intermarriage and the effectiveness of Jewish education. The institute’s work is characterized by the application of cutting-edge research methods to provide policy-relevant data. Steinhardt Social Research Institute researchers have been audacious in their application of new social scientific approaches and their willingness to tackle key societal challenges. Institute researchers have created new estimates of the size and characteristics of the United States’ Jewish population and conducted similar analyses of other religious minorities. SSRI research informs discourse about religious-ethnic identity and, in so doing, aids efforts to ensure a vibrant future for the American Jewish community.