The Nonprofit Response To The Diversification Of Jewish Life

What does it mean to be ‘Jewish’ in North America? It’s a difficult question to answer because there isn’t one fixed notion of Jewish identity anymore. Rising intermarriage, adoption, conversion, a growing group of people without a Jewish parent or formal conversion self-identifying as Jewish, and Israel’s stipulation on who is Jewish under the Law of Return means distinctions between Jews and Gentiles are no longer as clear as they were a couple of decades ago.

Jewish politics is also undergoing a process of diversification. Once upon a time, we could speak of a consensus in national Jewish politics, in which disagreements were battled out internally. As Democrats and Republicans fight ever more viscerally, so do Jewish Democrats and Republicans. Where US Jewish politics was once a synonym for Zionism, there are now fractures developing in the pro-Israel consensus along partisan and generational lines.

Given the tremendous diversification of Jewish politics and Jewish identity, it is no surprise that the traditional, centralized institutions and pillars of community life, like Jewish federations and synagogues, have lost some of its power. Jewish Millenials are creating countless of local institutions, NGOs, and charities in an effort to better respond to the rapidly changing social and religious needs of the Jewish community.

While many of these new startups are making positive changes and offer points of entries for young Jews to take up leadership positions, they also create a tremendous clutter of niche operations in the Jewish innovation sector and widen the gaps between underfunded startups and existing underutilized infrastructure.

At Robin Hood Israel Foundation (RHIF), we want to help these ambitious new start-ups make more effective use of the scarce available resources and stand out in the overcrowded Jewish innovation sector. To do so, RHIF acts as an umbrella organization and provides smaller NGOs, charities and social welfare organizations with an existing 501(c)(3) nonprofit vehicle. Furthermore, our nonprofit start-up accelerator and incubator HaYoreh provides start-ups with access to funding, advice and management assistance to help them find more sustainable ways to address social problems without compromising on innovation.

Are you a new Jewish startup and do you want to magnify your social impact? HaYoreh's Incubator/Accelerator Program is open to any Jewish charity, NGO or social enterprise in North America. To apply, please fill in this form on HaYoreh’s website and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible!