10 big Jewish ideas in final round


The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles this week announced the 10 finalists for the Next Big Jewish Idea contest, which offers a $100,000 prize to the winner. The finalists include a Jewish superheroes game, Jewish care packages for those in the military, social service resources and a plan to make day school free.

Nearly 112,000 votes were cast for more than 300 submissions during the first round of voting, Jan. 11 to March 31. The finalists include the top five vote-getters along with the five chosen by a panel of judges. The final round of voting opened on May 2 and will end on June 3. 

In June, the judges will reconvene, armed with new information from the finalists along with the public’s votes for the finalists and all online comments for each idea. The winner will receive up to $100,000 in funding and services as well as access to Federation’s expertise and wide-reaching community connections. 

Although the judges will choose the winner, Scott Minkow, Federation’s vice president of partnerships and innovation, said the community is “encouraged to make their voice heard” by voting online. Minkow hopes the public dialogue might help the non-winning ideas bring in other means of funding and support. 

Some of the ideas that didn’t make the final cut nevertheless showed a flair for the creative. “Spiritual fitness” called for a Jewish gym with treadmills posting psalms on their screens for every mile walked. “Life Advice From Old People” is a blog sharing stories and videos of any elderly person that the author has come across. “Dance Wherever You Are” would implement a national celebration on Rosh Hashanah using art exhibitions, music and dance. “Love Thy Neighbor” proposed a program of adopting one non-Jewish urban family per synagogue to build interfaith community connections. 

The 10 finalists:

Art Space Match would use bartering to connect Jewish artists with institutions such as synagogues, Jewish day schools, JCCs or Jewish retreat centers. In exchange for an organization’s donating space, the artists would offer workshops, create new projects and host open studios for the community. 

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