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Who & What We Support

Natan supports entrepreneurial organizations that demonstrate an innovative approach to addressing the challenges facing Jews around the world. With the exception of Core Grantees (longtime Natan grantees that are past the startup stage), Natan will only support organizations with annual operating budgets of less than US$1.5 million. Please click here to view our 2020-2021 Grantee Booklet.

Board Discretionary Grants

Natan’s board makes a few discretionary grants every year to organizations whose missions resonate with board members and that advance Natan’s strategic agenda.

 

2020-2021 Grantees

  Amplifier builds and sustains giving circles to connect people to their passions, their communities, and to Jewish values, causes, and experiences. Since Natan launched Amplifier in Fall 2014, Amplifier has ignited a movement of giving circles across Jewish communities and beyond. Amplifier is also helping to catalyze a broader giving circle movement across America - bringing together diverse giving circles and their networks to create systemic and lasting change in the ways that Americans come together to give and engage in their communities.

Confronting Antisemitism

Natan's Confronting Antisemitism grants support organizations that are developing positive, constructive efforts to understand, expose and undermine contemporary antisemitism, particularly those that focus on the ways in which delegitimization of Israel is a form of antisemitism; prosocial activities that bring Jewish and other ethnic and religious communities together; and building awareness of Israel and the Jewish People's cultural, historical, ethnic, religious and political complexity and diversity.

 

2020-2021 Grantees

  Abrahamic House is a new organization striving to build sustainable interfaith learning and action across Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i and Christian communities in order to foster an environment of respect, justice, and social change. Modeled after the highly successful Moishe House (a former Natan grantee), Abrahamic House brings young people from different religious backgrounds to live together and program for their peers. Programs will transform hatred and ignorance into love and compassion through human to human connection and the creation of an intentional interfaith community.
  The Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) serves as the national voice for Jewish museums across sixty communities in North America. For more than forty years, CAJM has been the central network for Jewish museums, bringing together colleagues and leading thinkers to promote new thinking, innovative practice, and community engagement, and strengthening its member museums as visible, magnetic arenas for the expression of Jewish culture and community. Natan’s grant supports the Museum Educator's Workshop on Combating Antisemitism, which will better equip educators in Jewish museums and Holocaust museums with knowledge, fluency, analytical tools, and access to experts and solid source materials on contemporary antisemitism in America and beyond.
  Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) brings together prominent members of the entertainment industry who are dedicated to promoting the arts as a means to peace, defending artistic freedom, and countering the cultural boycott of Israel. CCFP believes in the power that music, film, and television have for bringing people together and that the arts are crucial to bridging cultural divides.
  Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) promotes accurate K-12 education about Jews, Judaism, and Israel across the United States by working directly with publishers and digital content producers nationally to improve social studies textbook content on Jewish subjects. ICS also strengthens pre-collegiate education by providing standards-aligned curriculum and training for public school teachers so they can offer their students more accurate instruction on Jewish history. These efforts are designed to reduce prejudice against Jews and promote understanding of Israel’s history and its significance to the Jewish community.
  The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of St. Louis works within the Jewish and broader communities in St. Louis to enhance cooperation with other religious, racial, ethnic, and civic groups; to foster a just, democratic, and pluralistic society; and to promote the security of Israel and Jews everywhere. Natan’s grant supports the replication of the JCRC’s Student to Student program, which empowers Jewish teens to talk about Judaism and Israel with proficiency, authenticity, and confidence. Student to Student fights antisemitism through peer-to-peer presentations to diverse audiences and deepens the leadership and communication skills of the teenage participants.
  JIMENA spreads awareness of the heritage, history and culture of the 850,000 indigenous Jewish refugees who fled persecution or were expelled from Middle Eastern and North African countries in the years following the creation of Israel in 1948. Natan’s grant supports the Arabic Outreach Initiative, which educates and engages Arabic speakers on issues related to Jewish and Middle Eastern identity, multiculturalism and diversity, the stories and reflections of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their descendants, and the ongoing role of antisemitism in the Middle East.
  Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PFMEP) was formed by a group of volunteer clergy and laypeople to address a contemporary version of anti-Semitism that had become commonplace in the Presbyterian Church USA as anti-Zionist activists organized for the Church to embrace the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. PFMEP is committed to confronting traditional and contemporary versions of anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel language and actions. Natan’s grant supports Pathways for Middle East Peace, a new program designed to expand and replicate the work of PFMEP in other mainline Protestant denominations to combat anti-Semitism.
  Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom builds trust, respect and relationships between American Muslim and Jewish women. Together, participants commit to limit acts of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim sentiment, stand up to hate, and engage in social action work. Natan’s grant supports Teenage Girl Chapters across North America. Through these chapters, Jewish and Muslim girls develop strong relationships that inspire a commitment to protect one another and to fight against hatred directed towards either faith group.
  The Western States Center believes that antisemitism is the fuel that feeds white nationalism, and that there is a lack of full understanding of contemporary antisemitism and the ways it works in the media, civic institutions and among community, philanthropic, and faith leaders. Natan supports WSC’s work to convene and educate progressive leaders from various sectors to build a shared understanding of antisemitism and its threat to inclusive democracy.
  The Zioness Movement empowers and motivates people to stand up for civil rights as proud, progressive Zionists. The movement was established to challenge the narrative that Jews and Zionists cannot be feminists, liberals, or progressives. Zioness rejects the false choice and the litmus tests imposed on American Jews in progressive spaces, and argues that Jews and Zionists should not have to choose between those identities and their social justice advocacy. Zioness is developing curricula and building relationships across diverse communities to advance social, racial, economic and gender justice in America.

Jerusalem

In partnership with the Leichtag Foundation, Natan’s Jerusalem grants support initiatives led by members of the Jerusalem Model, a diverse network of 200+ Jerusalem activists and social entrepreneurs. These grants focus on arts & culture, placemaking, and economic development with a focus on projects that provide opportunities for different sectors of Jerusalem’s population to connect meaningfully with each other.

 

2020-2021 Grantees

  15 Minutes amplifies, leverages, and activates consumer voices in order to improve public transportation across Israel. Convenient public transportation enhances social mobility by increasing employment and education opportunities for all residents of the city, and it contributes to a healthier environment by reducing carbon emissions, decreasing chronic traffic jams, improving air quality, and making Jerusalem more livable for everyone. Natan’s grant supports Jerusalem on Board (JoB), through which diverse groups of Jerusalemites meet, identify, and design potential solutions to their shared transportation problems, including creating fast, direct bus routes between peripheral neighborhoods in East and West Jerusalem and employment centers within the city.
  0202 provides a glimpse into life in Jerusalem as it is experienced by its different population sectors (“secular” Jewish, ultra-Orthodox, and Arabic-speaking) by providing a platform to access and translate media and news from each sector to the other. Natan’s grant supports 0202 in the Community, which is a series of culturally-competent events, educational opportunities, and tours available and accessible to all Jerusalem residents.
  The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research is a thinktank devoted to the study of Jerusalem’s complex reality and unique social fabric. JIPR contributes to decision-making, policy and planning processes and influences outcomes in Jerusalem and across Israel. The core elements of JIPR’s approach are understanding the issues, building consensus among stakeholders, creating actionable strategies and specific plans, and managing and measuring impacts and results.
  The Jerusalem Intercultural Center assists the city’s residents of diverse backgrounds to become responsible, active partners in shaping the development of their communities and Jerusalem’s future. Natan’s grant supports Placemaking for Tolerance, which spreads the message tolerance through arts and culture, shared space and anti-violence programs in the public sphere; builds large cadres of grassroots leaders who can develop initiatives that fight racism through a variety of avenues; and develops the sustainability of tolerance-focused arts and culture initiatives in Jerusalem.
  Kulna Yerushalayim ("We are ALL Jerusalem") was founded by Arab and Jewish friends from East and West Jerusalem to advance coexistence in the city. Natan’s grant supports Kulna’s flagship program Jerusalem Double, which consists of shesh-besh (backgammon) tournaments that are designed to create connections between communities that have been segregated for decades. Kulna brings residents of East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem and vice-versa, exposing people not only to different types of Jerusalemites, but also to parts of the city that they might otherwise never visit.
  Madrasa offers a free, integrated social technology platform (website + social networks + in-person meetings) for the study of Colloquial Arabic across Israel. Madrasa’s goal is to promote better communication between Hebrew and Arabic speakers in Israel. It combines interactive, online courses and a rich content library with ongoing community activity in virtual and real study groups across the country.
  MiniActive provides a network of more than 1,000 Palestinian women in East Jerusalem who are trained in “effective activism,” which enables them to tackle practical and incremental projects that improve conditions in their communities. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem can vote in Jerusalem Municipal elections, but most do not. MiniActive provides an alternative pathway and framework for constructively and effectively interacting with the Jerusalem Municipality and for making civic change in their neighborhoods.
  Shaharit nurtures a new social partnership among all of Israel's communities through a synergistic mix of thinktank, leadership network, and on-the-ground initiatives building a future rooted in the common good. Natan’s grant supports the Haredi Leadership Program, which is strengthening the integrationist trend among Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) in Jerusalem from within the community, and is building a critical mass of Haredi activists, leaders and entrepreneurs ready to take responsibility for a shared future.

Jewish Connections

Natan’s Jewish Connection grants support innovative models for connecting people to Jewish practices and experiences, Jewish culture and ideas, and Jewish networks and communities in North America.  These grants are intended to shine a spotlight on new approaches or methodologies that are profoundly innovative.


The Jewish Connections committee also supports members of the ROI Community who are spearheading projects that create new and diverse access points to Jewish life around the world. The ROI Community connects dynamic Jewish leaders from around the globe, enabling them to turn their passion into action by creating transformative initiatives in Jewish communities and beyond.

 

2020-2021 Grantees

  BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy promotes whole-health wellness in the Jewish community by elevating the conversation around mental health and providing wilderness-based journeys of self-discovery, hope, and healing. BaMidbar’s programs use nature and adventure-based experiences as part of a therapeutic process that promotes emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness. Students explore meaning, values, and purpose through a Jewish lens, and programming increases open dialogue and decreases stigma around mental health and addiction in the broader Jewish community.  BaMidbar offers immersive and virtual therapeutic and educational programs for Jewish youth, young adults, and the community professionals who serve them.
  The Beloved Network believes that Jewish rituals and customs insist that Judaism must be practiced communally and that current Jewish communal structures need to evolve to meet this basic Jewish need for 21st-century lives. The Beloved Network is a partnership between 7 young and innovative Jewish communities that aspire to transform how American Jews gather. Each Beloved Network community creates gathering spaces rooted in Jewish wisdom, places sacred relationships at the center, strives to enliven and align inner and outer transformation, and exists outside of/adjacent to synagogues.
  The Center for Exploring Judaism aims to become a central address for those considering a Jewish blueprint for their lives, whether they were born Jewish or not. Between 70 and 80% of liberal Jews marry outside the faith; only 20% of these intermarried couples are raising their children Jewishly (compared with 96% of Jewish marriages). Young Jews, with low rates of affiliation with synagogues or other Jewish organizations, have few places to turn for guidance with interfaith issues. CEJ was founded to address this gap in the marketplace. CEJ feels strongly that Jewish communities should welcome those seeking to explore Judaism, not only to provide necessary guidance, but also because Jewish tradition values welcoming the stranger. CEJ was originally a program of Central Synagogue in New York City, and Natan’s grant will help it  to expand nationwide.
  ChaiVillageLA is part of the rapidly growing Village Movement - a new social venture of neighbors helping neighbors - that enables older people to continue living in their homes and their communities as they age. As the first synagogue-based village in the country, and the first faith-based village of any kind, ChaiVillageLA empowers members to use their accumulated experience, talents, skills, wisdom and creativity to build a community of mutual respect, support, caring and concern.
  The Jewish Baby Network aims to create a world where families with babies and toddlers have meaningful Jewish experiences within their own families, with their friends, and in their communities, setting them up for lifelong Jewish engagement. JBN helps new parents make Jewish friends, learn how to incorporate Jewish practice into their lives, and connect with their local Jewish communities in a low-key, low-cost, and low-barrier way.
  Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) supports LGBTQ Orthodox Jewish teenagers and their families in New York City. Started and run by licensed mental health professionals with experience working with the Orthodox community, JQY offers support through a range of initiatives including online, phone and in-person crisis and group programming.
  Or HaLev: Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation aims to transform Jews, Judaism and the world through rigorous and authentic Jewish spiritual practice. Or HaLev creates open, immersive and transformational Jewish meditation retreats around the world. In doing so, it offers a taste of a Judaism focused on being open, healing, inspirational, and then works to support its students year-round to integrate this mode of nourishing Judaism into their lives and home communities.
  Unorthodox, the world’s leading Jewish podcast, connects Jews and the Jewishly-curious to Jewish arts, culture, politics, and religion, using the medium of audio. Unorthodox is one of the most successful media-based examples of transdenominational, big-tent Judaism that welcomes all who are curious about Jewishness and Judaism regardless of background, religiosity, or level of observance. It is a neutral, judgement-free zone where Jews and their friends coexist.

Natan Notable Books at the Jewish Book Council

In 2019, Natan and Jewish Book Council launched Natan Notable Books, a twice-yearly award for nonfiction books on Jewish themes. Natan Notable Books is a new iteration of what had previously been called the Natan Book Award.

Natan Notable Books brings Natan’s values of infusing Jewish life with creativity and meaning into the intellectual arena by supporting and promoting breakthrough books intended for mainstream audiences that will catalyze conversations around the issues that Natan grapples with in its grantmaking.

Natan Notable Book winners will receive a Natan Notable Book seal and $5,000 for the author, marketing/distribution coaching and promotion from Jewish Book Council and Natan, and customized support designed to bring the book and/or the author to new audiences.

The next submission deadline for Spring 2021 Natan Notable Books is December 31. For more information, click here.

 

Fall 2020 Natan Notable Books Winner:
From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History, Dr. Nancy Sinkoff


Natan and the Jewish Book Council are thrilled to announce the Fall 2020 Natan Notable Book: Dr. Nancy Sinkoff's From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (Wayne State University Press, March 2020).

Twice a year, Natan Notable Books recognizes recently-published or soon-to-be-published non-fiction books that promise to catalyze conversations aligned with the themes of Natan's grantmaking: reinventing Jewish life and community for the twenty-first century, shifting notions of individual and collective Jewish identity, the history and future of Israel, understanding and confronting contemporary forms of antisemitism, and the evolving relationship between Israel and world Jewry.

In making the Fall 2020 selection, Natan is recognizing not only Professor Sinkoff’s work of wide-ranging, diligent historical scholarship, which emanates from a deep understanding of a century of Jewish history in America and Eastern Europe; but also the life, work and intellectual contributions of an under-appreciated and nearly-forgotten historian and public intellectual, Lucy S. Dawidowicz (1915-1990).

The parallels between today's Jewish and American conversations and those that Dawidowicz navigated in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s are uncanny. The list of subjects she tackled in her scholarship, writing and public speaking could be those of any courageous thinker today: struggling with ways of expressing, retaining, and educating for Jewish particularism in an America that prizes universalism; the place of religion in the American public square and the negotiation of “church-state” relations for particularist communities; the complex relationship between Blacks and Jews in America; the increasingly widespread acceptance on the left of criticism of Zionism as “racism” and of Israel as a “genocidal” state; the universalization of both antisemitism and the Holocaust as expressions of “hate” and “bigotry” rather than of specific, intentional animus toward the Jews as a particular group; and the challenges of commemorating, understanding and deriving lessons from the Holocaust.

The Natan Notable Books committee is proud to shine a spotlight on Dawidowicz’s steadfastness, mental acuity, practical intelligence, and courage in expressing forthright, controversial—yet highly educated and researched—views. As Sinkoff so brilliantly documents, Dawidowicz’s experiences, scholarship, and political evolution not only illuminate the critical issues of 20th century Jewish life, but they also offer guidance for navigating our own complicated times as Jews in America in the 21st century.

Finally, in an era of pithy Tweets and “hot-takes,” when evidence and data often seem in short supply, Sinkoff offers us a model for a life devoted to complexity, rigor, and careful thinking. In naming Sinkoff’s work the Natan Notable Book for Fall 2020, Natan is proud to echo the sentiments that Dawidowicz herself offered to a fellow historian in 1975: “I am very grateful to you, for you are among that small company of scholars that take ideas seriously.”

Professor Sinkoff will receive a $5,000 cash prize, as well as customized support for promoting the book and its ideas, drawing on Natan’s and Jewish Book Council’s extensive networks throughout the Jewish philanthropic and communal worlds. Natan, Jewish Book Council, and other partners will be hosting a series of virtual public events in the coming months to deepen and expand conversations around the book and to engage with the ideas it raises, such as the diversity of political opinions in Jewish public life, evolving conceptions of Zionism and Israel on the Jewish and American left, and the changing ways that the Holocaust is understood and used in academia and public discourse.

The deadline for submission for Spring 2021 Natan Notable Books is December 31. For more information or to submit a title, click here. Inquiries can be directed to natannotable@jewishbooks.org.

Natan Book Award Committee

Evan Behrens
Daniel Bonner
Frank Foer, co-chair
Matthew Hiltzik
Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen, co-chair
Sarah Gould Steinhardt
Michael Wigotsky

Advisory Committee 
Jeremy Dauber (2018 Natan Book Award Finalist; Columbia University)
Matti Friedman (2018 Natan Book Award winner)
Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic)
Ilana Kurshan (2018 Natan Book Award Finalist)
Alana Newhouse (Tablet)
Jim Loeffler (2018 Natan Book Award Finalist; University of Virginia)
Annie Polland (American Jewish Historical Society)
Judith Shulevitz (New York Times)

Board Discretionary Grants

Amplifier

Confronting Antisemitism

Abrahamic House
Council of American Jewish Museums
Creative Community for Peace
ICS
JCRC St. Louis
JIMENA
Presbyterians for Middle East Peace
Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom
Western States Center
Zioness Movement

Jerusalem Renewal

0202 - Points of View from Jerusalem
15 Minutes
Kulna Yerushalyaim
Madrasa
MiniActive
Shaharit
The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
The Jerusalem Intercultural Center

Jewish Connections

BaMidbar Wilderness therapy
Beloved
Center for Exploring Judaism
ChaiVillageLA
Jewish Baby Network
Jewish Queer Youth
Or Halev
Unorthodox

Natan Book Award at the Jewish Book Council

2018 Book Award Winner:
Matti Friedman, Spies of No Country

2018 Book Award Finalists: 
Jeremy Dauber, Jewish Comedy: A Serious History
Ilana Kurshan, If All the Seas Were Ink
James Loeffler, Rooted Cosmopolitans: Human Rights and Jewish Politics in the Twentieth Century