June 18, 2008 – Targum Shlishi funds a range of projects across denominations and affiliations within the Jewish world including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Chabad, Sephardi, egalitarian, and interdenominational. In all of its giving, Targum Shlishi seeks projects that are innovative and, where possible, replicable.
“We’re interested in projects that challenge the status quo and have the potential to foster positive change,” explains Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “We place an emphasis on giving broadly, always keeping in mind that our primary concern is the substance of each initiative.”
The following list of projects funded in the past year illustrates the pluralistic nature of giving and is a small sampling of the more than fifty projects funded during that time period. The range – from an employment program to an electronic art archive to a computer lab – is an indication of the many substantive and worthwhile initiatives underway in today’s Jewish world.
Helping highly trained professionals get back to work
Many in today’s challenging economy are losing jobs due to retrenchment and outsourcing. ParnossahWorks (meaning Livelihood) is an innovative young program established by the Orthodox Union in New York that helps mid-career professionals find meaningful employment. Targum Shlishi’s support helped expand the program’s reach to the national level – previously, it had been limited to the New York metropolitan area. www.parnossahworks-ou.org
Weekly commentary on Torah, environmental learning, and action
Canfei Nesharim’s Torah commentary includes environmentally related Jewish teachings on each weekly Torah portion, the goal being to inspire and empower the audience to take environmental actions. The weekly e-mail is distributed, accessible in a web-based resource library, and will be published in a book. www.canfeinesharim.org
Educational archive for Judaism and the arts
A unique resource that utilizes technology to combine art with Jewish academic approaches, the Schechter Institute’s Jo Milgrom Collection is an electronic archive of 4,000 works of art that is currently being developed. This is the only art-focused website that enhances a contemporary, pluralistic Jewish curriculum. www.schechter.edu
Creating new artwork: artists’ beit midrash
The Artists’ Beit Midrash at the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El allows adult artists to explore Jewish sources within a community of peers and create new works inspired by the texts that they study. www.adultjewishlearning.org
Recent support has gone to Chabad Brandeis, Aspen Chabad, and Chabad on Campus. Going further back than the past year, Targum Shlishi contributed to Colel Chabad’s efforts to address food shortages experienced by 25,000 residents of northern Israel during the 2006 conflict with Lebanon. In addition, Targum Shlishi has also supported several projects at Miami’s Shul of Bal Harbour, a unique synagogue with a varied membership, ranging from experienced congregants to Jews just returning to or learning about their roots, to an active Sephardic component.
Addressing disconnect in Jewish young adults
Many young U.S. Jews are disconnected from Judaism and/or from traditional Jewish institutions. New York–based Mechon Hadar seeks to address this issue through the development of a Minyan Resource Guide, an online resource guide to assist Jews who are seeking spiritual expression through new, independent minyanim. The Minyan Resource Guide is a how-to starter kit for grassroots prayer communities. www.mechonhadar.org
Computer lab established in Djerba, Tunisia
The communities in Djerba are the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world that have preserved a traditional way of life. Torah v’Hinukh (Jewish Girls’ School) serves 130 girls and young women in the tightly knit Hara Kabira community. Targum Shlishi’s support made it possible to establish a computer lab at the school. www.jdc.org
Teaching Hebrew to preschoolers
For Jews who don’t live in Israel, Hebrew is becoming a lost language. In the first organized and widespread effort in the U.S. to teach Hebrew to preschool children, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture is partnering with the UJA-Federation of Northern New Jersey to bring Hebrew classes to Jewish schools in Bergen County, NJ. www.mfjc.org