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.

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.

 

2018-2019 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 the Jewish community and beyond. Thanks to Amplifier’s training, resources, and the partnerships it builds, its network of more than 125 giving circles is growing.  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.
  The Jewish Emergent Network is strengthening and expanding the field of emergent spiritual communities by bringing together the leadership of the seven most prominent rabbi-led communities (including several former Natan grantees) to collaboratively make systemic change in American Jewish religious and spiritual life.
  Jindas is enhancing the quality of life for residents of the city of Lod through a massive urban regeneration project that is strengthening partnerships between the disparate communities that live in the city.
 
Led by Rabbi Judith Hauptman, Ohel Ayalah engages Jews in their 20s and 30s through high quality free, drop-in High Holiday services and Passover Seders across New York City.

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.
 

2018-2019 Grantees

  The Academic Engagement Network is a national organization of faculty and administrators committed to opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on American university and college campuses, to affirming academic freedom and freedom of expression, and to stirring robust discussion about Israel.  Natan’s grant supports the Faculty Microgrant program that allows AEN faculty to apply for funds for campus programs that are supported or sponsored by multiple groups on campus and that educate and strengthen knowledge about Israel, BDS, and antisemitism on campus.
  A Wider Bridge is the North American LGBTQ organization building support for Israel and its LGBTQ community. AWB is building a movement of pro-Israel LGBTQ people and allies, with strong interest in and commitment to supporting Israel and its LGBTQ community. It builds personal rather than political relationships with Israel and LGBTQ Israelis, providing leaders, organizations and communities, both in Israel and North America, with opportunities for engagement, advocacy, and philanthropy.
  Creative Community For Peace (CCFP) is a network of 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.
  Fuente Latina (FL) increases U.S. Hispanic and Latin American understanding of Israel by educating Latino journalists about Israel, regardless of their geographic location. The organization’s mission is to increase U.S. Hispanic and Latin American understanding of and support for Israel by ensuring that global Spanish language media have the facts they need - before and when the news stories break - to accurately cover Israel and the Middle East.
  Modeled consciously on NPR’s blockbuster This American Life podcast, Israel Story is a radio and podcasting initiative dedicated to telling the story of a different, diverse and nuanced Israel. It is about deconstructing ideological and physical borders between Israel and audiences - Jews and non-Jews - around the world. By presenting human interest stories that profile a broad spectrum of Israelis, and by delivering them through the wildly popular medium of podcasting, Israel Story promotes a greater awareness of, and interest in, modern Israeli society.
  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 Arab Outreach Initiative, which educates and engages Arabic-speaking youth and young adults on issues related to Jewish and Middle Eastern identity, multiculturalism and diversity, the personal stories and reflections of Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their descendants, and the ongoing role and impact of antisemitism in the Middle East.
  KUNSTENISRAËL supports presentations in the Netherlands of the work of Israeli artists so that the Dutch public can experience and appreciate the full diversity of Israeli art. Natan’s grant supports the organization’s Research Trips to Israel, which bring key figures from the Dutch art world to Israel to meet with Israeli artists in their studios.
  The Lawfare Project (LP) is a nonprofit legal thinktank and litigation fund based in New York City that mobilizes public officials, media, jurists and legal experts and provides pro bono legal representation to counter the international lawfare phenomenon - the abuse of the law as a weapon of war against Israel, the Jews and the West. 

Core Grants

Supporting a highly selective group of organizations that Natan has funded for more than three years. Core Grantees are those organizations most closely aligned with Natan's grantmaking mission. Their exceptional leadership develops programs with significant and measurable impact, and that have the potential to make systemic change in the fields in which they are working.

 

2018-2019 Grantees

  BimBam’s mission is to spark connections to Judaism through digital storytelling for learners of all ages. Natan’s grant will support research to test the impact and effectiveness of BimBam’s videos and programs, partly to enable the organization to improve where necessary, and partly to bring a data-driven approach to understanding the ways that its content shapes viewers’ understanding of and engagement with Jewish life..
  Eshel supports, educates and advocates for acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Jews and their families in Orthodox and traditional Jewish communities. Natan’s grant to Eshel is a 1:1 challenge grant for Eshel to raise funds from its constituents and core stakeholders, which will enable the organization to diversify its funding sources and enable those who have benefited most from its programs to help pay it forward for others. 
  Limmud is dedicated to Jewish learning in all its variety. Limmud’s promise is that “wherever you find yourself, Limmud will take you one step further on your Jewish journey.”  Natan's grant supports Limmud’s Leadership Journey (LLJ), which connects Limmud volunteers all over the world to each other, hosts regional leadership gatherings and trains new volunteers in Europe and North & South America.
  Mayyim Hayyim reclaims and reinvents one of Judaism's most ancient rituals – immersion in the mikveh – for contemporary spiritual use, making the mikveh a radically inclusive sacred space, open and accessible to all Jews and those becoming Jewish. Natan’s grant supports Rising Tide, the new national network of mikva’ot who embrace a welcoming approach to mikveh. 
  Paideia: The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden actively promotes the flourishing and renewal of European Jewish culture and intellectual life, supports cross-cultural dialogue, and presents a positive paradigm of minority culture within European societies by running intensive, high-caliber programs for the academic study of text, for social entrepreneurship and for cross-cultural explorations of Jewish identity. 
  The Shahaf Foundation is a partnership of 20 foundations and philanthropists from Israel and abroad that supports young mission-driven communities in Israel’s socio-geographic periphery. Natan’s partnership with Shahaf provides financial support and technical assistance to communities that run social businesses - for-profit entities with a double bottom line of both social and financial return.
  Tsofen High Technology Centers strives toward the full integration between Israel’s Arab citizens and its hi‐tech industry as a means of encouraging sustainable economic development and a more equitable society. Tsofen connects Arab municipalities, Arab students and graduates, the Israeli government, and the hi‐tech industry to promote the establishment of hi‐tech hubs in Arab towns and to integrate thousands of Arab engineers into hi‐tech firms. 

Jerusalem

In partnership with the Leichtag Foundation, Natan’s Jerusalem grants support initiatives led by members of Leichtag’s 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.


 

2018-2019 Grantees

  0202 provides a glimpse into life in Jerusalem as it is experienced by its different population sectors (secular Jewish, religious Jewish, and Arabic-speaking), by providing a platform to access media and news from the different sectors in the city, translated into the languages spoken by other sectors. Natan’s grant supports 0202 in the Community, a series of culturally-competent events, educational opportunities, and tours available and accessible to all Jerusalem residents.
  The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research is the leading institute in Israel for the study of Jerusalem’s complex reality and unique social fabric. The Institute focuses on the unique challenges facing Jerusalem, including physical and urban planning, social and demographic issues, economic and environmental challenges, and questions arising from the geo-political status of Jerusalem.
  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 aims to instill mass messaging of tolerance through arts and culture, shared living and anti-violence in the public sphere; to grow large cadres of grassroots leaders who can develop initiatives that fight racism through a variety of avenues; and to develop the sustainability of 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 will support Kulna’s flagship program, Jerusalem Double, 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 experience.
  MiniActive is a network of more than 1000 Arab 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 a pathway and a framework for constructively and effectively interacting with the Municipality, which is changing conditions in East Jerusalem neighborhoods and the way that the Municipality engages with its residents.
  Muslala, “The Terrace: A Rooftop for New Urbanism,” is a unique space and social business built on the roof of the Clal building, an essentially moribund, massive retail center in the middle of Jerusalem - at the intersection of several key neighborhoods. HaMirpeset’s revitalized space functions as a greenhouse, an event and gathering space, and a home for projects in the spheres of art, society and sustainability. The energy, foot traffic, and architectural and atmospheric changes that HaMirpeset brings to the building is transforming it from a “white elephant” into a hub for creative programming and retail businesses.
  New Spirit builds communities of young academics and creatives, civil servants and entrepreneurs in Jerusalem, to encourage these strong populations to remain in the city. Natan’s grant supports Re-Street, which locates unused stores in the city center and turns them into coworking spaces for creatives such as graphic designers, architects, startups, new media, videographers, etc. New Spirit believes that reinventing public spaces inspires cultural and business initiatives that can support a vibrant, pluralist society and serve as engines of social and economic change.
  Shaharit is a synergistic mix of thinktank, leadership network, and on-the-ground initiatives that is nurturing a new social partnership among all of Israel's communities, building a future rooted in the common good. Natan’s grant will support the Haredi Leadership Program, which will strengthen the integrationist trend among Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) in Jerusalem from within the community, 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.

 

2018-2019 Grantees

  ChaiVillageLA is part of the rapidly growing Village Movement - a new social venture of neighbors helping neighbors - that enables people to continue living in their homes and their communities as they get older. 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.
  Jewish Kids Groups is a network of Jewish supplementary schools that educate and inspire children in a way that feels more like summer camp than traditional afterschool education, engendering positive Jewish learning, identity, and friendships. Jewish Kids Groups is re-imagining and re-inventing Hebrew school for a growing audience of unaffiliated families in Atlanta and beyond to meaningfully engage them in Jewish life.
  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.
  The Jewish Studio Project (JSP) provides a new entry point into Judaism, one in which creativity is a pathway for connecting to tradition, cultivating community and bringing more good into the world. JSP’s innovative framework fosters creative empowerment and ownership over Jewish tradition and opens up access to those who have for too long felt on the margins of the Jewish experience.
  The Museum of Jewish Montreal is a new model for 21st century Jewish museums, educating the public about the Montreal Jewish community’s diverse and vibrant past through creative public programs and groundbreaking online and mobile engagement tools. The Museum’s physical space in Montreal's historic Jewish core is a hub for a number of other innovative Jewish cultural initiatives, enabling it to reach broader audiences by offering year-round programming.
  SVARA makes the spiritual, moral, and intellectual technology of Talmud study accessible and available to all Jews as a universal practice for developing radically empathic, mature, evolved human beings who will create a vibrant Jewish community and a more just, peaceful, and healthy world. SVARA presents Talmud as the best way to instill confidence, a feeling of authenticity, and love for Judaism. SVARA consciously recruits diverse learners and creates a learning experience in which students are responsible for each other’s learning and deeply connected to each other.
  Unorthodox, the leading Jewish podcast, connects Jews and the Jewishly-curious to Jewish arts, culture, politics, and religion, using the medium of audio. Unorthodox is also one of the most successful media-based examples of transdenominational, big-tent Judaism, welcoming all who are curious about Jewishness and Judaism, no matter their background, religiosity, or level of observance. It is a neutral, judgement-free zone where Jews and their allies coexist - whether actor or politician, rabbi or small-town accountant, gay mom or retired bubbe or zayde.

Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs

  LAZOS is a Latin American Jewish network of high-potential young adults that aims to strengthen Jewish life through regional integration and community innovation. Lazos connects entrepreneurial young Latin American leaders to each other in order to involve them in the construction of valuable projects that will contribute to the development of Jewish identity and community life across the continent.

Natan is proud to note the other grantees across all of our committees that are being led by ROI entrepreneurs:
0202
Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
Jewish Kids Groups
JQY
Kulna Yerushalayim
Israel Story

Natan Book Award at the Jewish Book Council

Natan is proud to relaunch the Natan Book Award at the Jewish Book Council. The Award brings Natan’s values of infusing Jewish life with creativity and meaning into the intellectual arena by supporting and promoting a breakthrough book intended for mainstream audiences that will catalyze conversations around the issues that Natan grapples with in its grantmaking.

 

Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel

Spies of No Country tells the unknown story of four of Israel’s first spies. Recruited by a rag-tag outfit called the Arab Section before the 1948 War of Independence, these men assumed Arab identities to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations. At the height of the war, the spies posed as refugees fleeing the fighting, reached Beirut, and set up what became Israel’s first foreign intelligence station.

Beyond telling a true espionage story, Spies is an attempt to look at Israel’s own secret identity and to suggest a different way of understanding the country. Israel has always seen itself as part of the story of Europe, but over half of the Jewish population comes from the Islamic world. The spies of this story were Jews from Arab countries – members of a marginal minority in the early Zionist movement who put their Arab identities at the service of the new state. These identities were, in large part, genuine.

Understanding Israel in the 21st century means thinking less about Europe and more about the Middle East. Not only are Israel’s surroundings Middle Eastern, and not only were most Israelis alive today born in the Middle East, but the native culture of much of Israel’s population is Middle Eastern and Mediterranean. As the old elite of the kibbutz movement has faded, this culture has come to the fore – in religion, politics, pop music, and food. It shapes every aspect of life in the country. This makes Israel increasingly hard for North Americans, natives of a different culture and of Jewish communities almost entirely European in background, to understand.

Press for Spies of No Country

About Matti Friedman

Matti Friedman’s work as a reporter has taken him from Israel to Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, the Caucasus, and Washington, DC. He is a contributor to the New York Times Op-Ed Page, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Tablet, and elsewhere. He is a former Associated Press correspondent.

Matti’s 2016 book Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War was chosen as a New York Times’ Notable Book and as one of Amazon’s 10 best books of the year. Pumpkinflowers was selected as one of the year’s best by Booklist, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs, the National Post, and The Globe and Mail. Matti’s first book, The Aleppo Codex, an investigation into the strange fate of an ancient Bible manuscript, won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize, the ALA’s Sophie Brody Medal, and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for history. It was translated into seven languages.

Matti’s journalism has focused in recent years on understanding the lopsided media coverage of Israel (“An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” in Tablet; “What the Media Gets Wrong about Israel,” in The Atlantic; “Falling for Hamas’s Split-Screen Fallacy,” in The New York Times), the rise of Mizrahi culture in Israel (“Israel’s Happiness Revolution,” in Tablet), and about real life behind the headlines in Jerusalem (“The Ties that Bind Jerusalem,” in The Globe and Mail and “The First Palestinian in Jerusalem’s City Hall?” in The New York Times).

Matti was born in Toronto and lives in Jerusalem with his family. He is an engaging, dynamic speaker who speaks frequently to English-speaking audiences across North America and in Israel.

Natan Book Award Finalists

For the first time, Natan also announced three 2018 Natan Book Award Finalists, awarding each $2,500 toward marketing or distribution of their books:

Jeremy Dauber's Jewish Comedy: A Serious History (W.W. Norton, Fall 2017), which explores the millennia-old history of Jewish comedy as a unique window into understanding Jewish identity from the Bible to the present day;
Ilana Kurshan's If All the Seas Were Ink (St. Martin's Press, Fall 2017), an accessible and personal guided tour of the Talmud that offers new insights into its arguments through the lens of a deeply personal memoir of love and loss;
James Loeffler's Rooted Cosmopolitans: Human Rights and Jewish Politics in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press, Spring 2018), which uncovers the forgotten story of inextricable links between the creation of the international human rights movement, Zionism and the struggle for equal rights for European Jewry in the early 20th century.

Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen, co-chair of the Natan Book Award committee, notes that by awarding support to Finalists, Natan is able to shine a spotlight on a variety of Jewish themes and issues. "Those of us on the committee were eager to delve into the many ideas and questions raised by these books, and we think they deserve to be shared widely. Kurshan's intimate, personal relationship with the Talmud will bring Jewish text alive for readers of all backgrounds; Loeffler's history upends the contemporary demonization of Zionism as antithetical to human rights; and Dauber brings the long view to understanding Jewish humor and its critical role in shaping Jews' understanding of themselves and other communities' understanding of Jews."

The submission period for the 2019 Natan Book Award will open on December 11, 2017.

2018 Natan Book Award Committee

Daniel Bonner
Tali Rosenblatt Cohen, co-chair
Franklin Foer, co-chair
Matthew Hiltzik
Jodi Kantor
Rebecca Lieberman
Judith Shulevitz
Tali Farhadian Weinstein
Michael Wigotsky

Board Discretionary Grants

Amplifier
Jewish Emergent Network
Jindas
Ohel Ayalah

Confronting Antisemitism

A Wider Bridge
Academic Engagement Network
Creative Community For Peace
Fuente Latina
Israel Story
JIMENA
KUNSTENISRAËL
The Lawfare Project

Core Grants

BimBam
Eshel
Limmud International
Mayyim Hayyim
Paideia
Shahaf
Tsofen

Jewish Connections

ChaiVillageLA
Jewish Kids Groups
Jewish Studio Project
JQY
LAZOS
Museum of Jewish Montreal
SVARA
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

NatanFocus: Jerusalem

0202
Kulna Yerushalayim
MiniActive
Muslala
New Spirit
Shaharit
The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research
The Jerusalem Intercultural Center