IEngage program gets $1 million Jim Joseph Foundation grant

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The Shalom Hartman Institute has received a grant from the S.F.-based Jim Joseph Foundation for $1 million over three years to expand its iEngage on Campus program on the West Coast and to launch new Israel education initiatives to be piloted at West Coast campuses.

The Shalom Hartman Institute, founded in 1976 in Jerusalem, is a pluralistic center for research and education that aims to improve the quality of Jewish life in Israel and North America. The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America now has received two major grants from Jim Joseph.

The iEngage on Campus program — which Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, called “a cornerstone of our work in North America”  — will include campus professionals, academics and undergraduate students at up to nine campuses from Southern California to Washington.

As for which schools will be involved, “We’re not yet in a place to name any of the new campuses,” Ben Cutter, a N.Y.-based official for Shalom Hartman, told J. by email. “Contracts are still being negotiated and conversations are underway  at a number of schools.” An announcement could come in a few weeks, he added.

The expansion will involve intensive training programs in Israel and North America that provide education on Jewish peoplehood and the relationship of the Jewish people to the State of Israel. The goal of the West Coast iEngage initiative, officials said, is to ensure that college campuses are sites of elevated and ethical discourse on Israel.

Program components during the 2016-17 school year include a fellowship program for Hillel directors, campus rabbis and educators; seminars on campus, and a scholar-in-residence program.

Al Levitt, president and chair of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said in a release that his board was “especially pleased that these programs leverage the close relationship between the Hartman Institute and Hillel International” and offer the opportunity “to positively influence tens of thousands of Jewish students on West Coast campuses.”