Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood
Love of education. Respect for hard work. Appreciation of community. And pastrami on rye. Mix together in equal parts and you have the makings of a people - the Jewish people.
For thousands of years, the concept of Jewish Peoplehood has inspired, intrigued, vexed, and perplexed Jews and non-Jews alike. Many believe that the principle form of Jewish expression is no longer found exclusively in the synagogue but also in Jewish humor, music, food, and art. Today, Jewish identity is often defined by tradition, heritage, culture, and family. Jewish Peoplehood encompasses a collective Jewish identity and as Mordecai Kaplan, the 20th Century Jewish thinker defined it, a “civilization.” However, the important question to ask is not only what is Jewish Peoplehood, but what does it do?
In the spirit of building Jewish identity and involvement in the community, the Koret Foundation and Taube Philanthropies joined together for a collaborative philanthropic venture called the Koret Taube Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood, a grantmaking approach that spans the San Francisco Bay Area, Poland, and Israel.
We embrace Jewish Peoplehood as a framework for engaging in the global conversation about a collective Jewish experience and identity from cradle to grave. Jewish Peoplehood is about inclusiveness. It is about building community, making relationships with other Jews, and supporting one another beyond our local and national borders. Through our collective efforts, we seek to create Jewish identities that are enriched by positive Jewish experiences, cultural pride, and an ongoing sense of belonging to each other and the world.
The goals of the Koret Taube Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood are:
- Increase Jewish identification and involvement in Jewish communal life worldwide.
- Inspire greater interconnections among members of the Jewish community through positive, shared Jewish learning and experiences.
- Elevate Jewish literacy through informal Jewish education focused on Jewish history, religion, culture and contemporary life.
- Increase active participation in Jewish communal activities through volunteerism, Jewish service learning, community service, and involvement in Jewish communal initiatives.
These goals address underlying assumptions that drive the principles of the Initiative: Inspire connections; Promote Jewish arts and culture; Advance Jewish knowledge, ideas and values; and Strengthen global Jewish communities.
"The Jewish Peoplehood initiative enables us to be brave and imaginative in creating programs that explore the whole range of conversations taking place about Jewish identity and values. It's what lets us commission a sketch-comedy Purimspiel, hear a mayoral candidate's D'var Torah, host Jewish meditation retreats, and celebrate Elul with both shofars and didgeridoos."
- Barry Finestone, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco