Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jim Joseph Foundation Awards JNF $50,000 Grant for Environmental Fellowship

September 16, 2008 -- New York, NY -- Jewish National Fund (JNF) is proud to announce that the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the organization for the JNF/Bronfman Center Jewish Environmental Fellowship at NYU.

Twenty students will participate in the fellowship, which will focus on environmental sustainability issues and their connection to Jewish values and tradition. By examining Jewish content through an environmental lens and incorporating examples of Israeli environmental leadership, the program aims to engage unaffiliated Jewish students who might not otherwise be interested in existing Jewish programming. The goal is to inspire them to make changes in their personal lives as well as to take action in the Jewish community and in the broader campus community at NYU.

"The Jim Joseph Foundation is proud to be supporting the development of the Jewish Environmental Fellowship program and the unique partnership between Jewish National Fund and the NYU Bronfman Center," said Dvora Joseph, a Jim Joseph Foundation board member.

"We believe that this multi-faceted approach to Jewish learning which allows students to explore an important topic through a combination of traditional Jewish study, interaction with peers and community leaders, hands-on service to our environment, and self-exploration will be both effective and impactful for the student participants."

The Jim Joseph Foundation, established in 2006, is committed to a sustained program of grant-making in pursuit of a vision that leads to ever-increasing numbers of young Jews engaged in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives. The Foundation manages close to one billion dollars, using all of its resources to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning for young Jews in the United States.

"We are delighted to partner with the Jim Joseph Foundation and welcome them into the JNF educational family to benefit the Jewish students of NYU," said Rabbi Eric Lankin, D.Min., Chief of Institutional Advancement and Education at JNF. "This program will play an important role in our development of a strategic plan for engaging college students across the country on the critical environmental challenge facing our world and Israel's global environmental leadership through JNF."

Throughout the year, students will meet to discuss environmental issues such as energy, water, food production, waste and recycling, and building and landscaping. Each topic will be studied from an environmental perspective, by learning about the science and innovation relating to the subject; a Jewish perspective, by examining modern and ancient texts; and by looking at case studies of New York City and Israel. Sessions will be devoted to learning and meeting with environmental experts as well as work in the field, including on-site visits, volunteering, and seeing environmental activism in action. Conversations about social justice and personal and communal responsibility will be incorporated throughout.

In March, students will spend one week in Israel volunteering on an environmental kibbutz as part of JNF's Alternative Spring Break, a hands-on transformational Jewish educational program. They will study environmental issues and solutions in living laboratories and participate in community service projects. During the second semester of the fellowship, students will work on a project of their choice that incorporates what they have learned and engages the NYU community.

"We at the Bronfman Center are extremely excited to work with our partners at JNF as well as NYU students to plan and host the JNF/Bronfman Green Fellowship," said Sam Krentzman, Special Projects Coordinator. "The Bronfman Center strives institutionally to combine Jewish learning with a sophisticated approach to understanding important contemporary issues. The fellowship will enable us to share Judaism's deep teachings about environmental and communal responsibility while taking action and relating those teachings to realities faced in New York City and in Israel. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Jim Joseph Foundation and to JNF for making this groundbreaking experience possible for our students."

For more information, contact Rebecca Kahn at 212-879-9305 ext. 248 or

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