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Jewish Federation of St. Louis has named five projects to receive 2015 Innovation Grants. The grants are designed to stimulate the growth of new ideas that address Jewish education or engagement in the St. Louis Jewish community. Jewish Federation of St. Louis will work closely with the grant recipients to support their entrepreneurial efforts.

Winners of the grants are:

  • Feast Like the Middle East (Shira Berkowitz) – This initiative plays on the rich, Jewish tradition and culture around food. It is centered on stimulating a contemporary cultural connection for the young adult Jewish population through traditional Jewish food grown and prepared locally. There is an opportunity in the St. Louis Jewish community to enrich the knowledge of locally sourced food that is artistically prepared as a way of connecting young Jews to their culture/heritage and the contemporary society they live in. The vision of this artist and partner chef is to provide the strong St. Louis young adult Jewish community with an immersive and artistic experience around food.
  • Neighborhood Kiddush (Sam Freedman) – Neighborhood Kiddush is a new community wide young couples and families Kiddush. The Kiddush will be a place where young Jewish families can come together and socialize on Shabbat afternoon (after services). This program will create an opportunity for families to get out of their home and spend time with other Jewish couples/families and will allow for young couples/families to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships. Different families will host a Neighborhood Kiddush in their home to provide an intimate setting and to provide a low barrier access point for families and young couples that may not be affiliated.
  • St. Louis Jewish Parents Magazine (Stephanie Berk) – This entrepreneur has taken the initiative to create a monthly, free-to-reader, high quality magazine. Experts in the fields write the content based on research and in direct response to requests from readers. This magazine acts as a resource for Jewish parents in St. Louis to read about parenting info and find out what is going on in the local community. With four pilot issues to date, the Innovation Grant will support the entrepreneur in developing a sustainable business model.
  • Painting Our Community with Pride (Jennifer Bernstein and team) – This initiative will implement a year-long marketing/outreach campaign to create a more inclusive St. Louis Jewish community for LGBTQ individuals and their families. Starting with the St. Louis Pride Fest, this team of innovators increased marketing and awareness to bring a larger representation from the Jewish communities to the Pride Festival and Parade. The final component of this initiative is to bring Keshet to St. Louis, a national organization working for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life. Keshet will implement community trainings and celebrations to increase inclusivity in the Jewish community.
  • Pop-Up Kosher Restaurant (Marian Gordon) – The St. Louis community is lacking in a variety of kosher restaurants and options for individuals and families to have meals outside their homes. The Pop-Up Kosher Restaurant will begin to solve this issue by creating pop-up restaurant experiences that offer unique, kosher dining opportunities to the St. Louis Jewish community.

Designed to tap the creativity that exists beyond Jewish community congregations, agencies and organizations, the grants were available to individuals or groups of individuals who live in St. Louis. The 2015 grants provide innovators opportunities to experiment and/or test the feasibility and strength of their ideas. In addition, Jewish Federation of St. Louis will provide support through mentor connections, publicity and marketing efforts, peer consultations and brainstorming sessions, and strategic planning consultation.