Jewish Community Projects Awarded Natan Grants

February 5, 2013

(JTA) — The Natan Fund and the ROI Community have announced grants to fund four Jewish community projects.

The Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs were announced Monday. The grants, totaling $37,000, will be distributed to four recipients from the U.S., Mexico and Uruguay, and will support innovative ideas for diversifying Jewish life.

The new partnership between Natan and ROI Community, a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, was initiated as a way of integrating Natan’s young philanthropists with ROI’s global network of emerging entrepreneurs and innovators, the groups said in a statement issued Monday.

The grants will support Amy Beth Oppenheimer’s “Faces of Israel” program, which – using an educational film – focuses on questions of Jewish identity, religious pluralism and civil liberties; Fabian Schamis’ Nefesh, a new local school that is the only source of Jewish education in Uruguay’s Punta del Este Jewish community, and is the first program in the region to address the youth and their needs and is already strengthening ties within the local community; Isidoro Hamui’s Mexican Merkaba Fest, which aims to create, promote and explore both local and foreign artists and share Jewish culture and music with the greater Mexican society; and Robert Saferstein’s Friday Night Lights project, a series of sophisticated Shabbat dinners for gay Jewish professionals, each highlighting a different charitable organization helping the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Community.

The Natan Fund provides early-stage funding for creative approaches to some of the key challenges facing the Jewish people and the State of Israel today. ROI Community connects dynamic, creative Jews and gives them the tools, support and space to turn their ideas into innovative work that will change the face of Jewish life.