Beyond the D'var Torah: How to Unleash the Potential of Rich Jewish Content

Thursday, February 01, 2018, 12:30pm – 5:30pm EST
Venue in NYC. Address provided upon RSVP.

Update: watch video of Sarah Hurwitz's remarks >>


A mini-conference focused on creating deep exploration of Jewish texts, values and traditions. Building on the strong success of strategies that currently attract people to Judaism, we will discuss how mooring those experiences in Jewish content and creating new content-based experiences can deepen participants connection with Judaism, and otherwise, attract those currently not engaged.

The structure of the afternoon will allow us to learn from experts and also invite funders to bring our own observations and experiences into the conversation. Our goal, as always, is to create a meaningful, valuable, and interactive forum for funders.

Schedule & Speakers:

12:30 – 1:00: Light lunch

1:10 – 1:25: Opening Keynote — Sarah Hurwitz


Sarah Hurwitz was a White House speechwriter from 2009 to 2017, starting out as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then serving as chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Sarah worked with Mrs. Obama to craft widely-acclaimed addresses – including her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech and her political speeches during the 2016 campaign cycle.

While at the White House, Sarah Hurwitz connected with Judaism, exploring the wisdom of Jewish law, the power of Jewish spirituality, and the lessons of Jewish history. She is currently writing a book on Judaism and her Jewish journey.

1:25 – 2:15: Round 1 — Alisa Doctoroff, Past President, UJA-Federation of NY

Fundamental Questions: WHY are we doing this work? Why does rich Jewish content matter? What do we hope it does for people intellectually, behaviorally, emotionally, and practically?

2:15 – 3:05: Round 2 — Mark Charendoff, President, Maimonides Fund

Fundamental Questions: WHAT is available for people who want to engage in rich Jewish content? What works and what doesn’t, and what is missing? 

3:05 – 3:30: Break (with abundant kosher snacks)

3:30 – 4:20: Round 3 — Kimberly Miller Rubenfeld, Vice President, Circle of Service Foundation

Fundamental Questions: WHO can these experiences appeal to? How does engaging in this content with a community of others enhance the experience? 

4:20 – 5:10: Round 4 — Yossi Prager, Executive Director for North America, The AVI CHAI Foundation

Fundamental Questions: HOW can we be most strategic as funders? What are the obstacles and challenges we must address? How do we spur new ideas and leverage existing ones?

5:10 – 5:30: Closing — Adam Simon, Executive Director, Aviv Foundation

Fundamental Questions: WHERE are we headed and how would we know when we got there? 

Space is limited! RSVP now.

Shira Uriarte · · 212-726-0177 x205

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