Recent studies show that Jewish adults are trending away from institutional Jewish organizations. The majority of these institutions have been slow to evolve in how they serve the needs, identities, and passions of the emerging Jewish community.
The Research & Development initiative of the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF R&D) has launched the #yourjewishfuture challenge to reimagine what Jewish life can be for Gen Z adults and those to follow. JJF R&D seeks to ensure that Jewish life is an ongoing movement, designed for today and the future, powered by dynamic and diverse people at its core, to enhance our lives and the world.
We call on you to use modern tools and methods, and your own creativity and diverse experiences to inform and imagine new possibilities for Jewish life in North America.
Submit your idea to be eligible to win prizes from a $15,000 pool and the opportunity to attend an in-person gathering to prototype your idea.
Click on the “Guidelines” tab above to learn how to participate.
Learn more about JJF R&D on the “About the Sponsor” tab.
The goal of this challenge is to identify an unfulfilled need among Jewish young adults and then propose an actionable solution that addresses this need. We are looking to innovators of all beliefs to inspire us with prototype-able solutions that will provide connection, meaning, and purpose for a diverse audience of Jewish young adults.
How might we use spirituality, ritual, and community to support people in transitional phases of life?
Design a way to celebrate or acknowledge epic moments in one's young adulthood (e.g. moving to a new city, breaking up with a partner, dealing with stress, choosing a first job, celebrating good grades, etc.).
How might we help young adults build community across physical and metaphorical distances?
Design a way for people to find and create meaningful Jewish communities when they move to new schools and/or cities.
How might we explore and design for mental wellness by connecting people to the community, activities, and passions that give them a sense of hope and purpose?
Design a mindfulness/mental wellness practice that is inspired by a Jewish experience or by what Judaism means to you. This design should be resonant with and accessible to a wide variety of peers.
Using one of these example prompts, or identifying one of your own, create a solution that helps reimagine the future of Jewish life and provides new ways to support an increasingly diverse, divergent, and dynamic Jewish population.
Winning ideas will have the potential to reach the majority of our potential market — an estimated 2 million young Jews, their friends, and families. They will have the ability to appeal to large swaths of Jewish populations, and not just those who are already seeking to be involved in Jewish life. Winning ideas will create new points of access for unreached populations.
Winning solutions will likely resonate with non-Jewish communities as well by demonstrating the importance of cultural values and rituals, and social infrastructure.
In addition to the cash prizes shown below, all winners will have the opportunity to meet with the JJF R&D team in person for an exclusive design-thinking summit. First-, second-, and third-place winners will have their solutions prototyped by the Jim Joseph Foundation to test the concept in the market. Honorable mention winners may be able to workshop their ideas to a prototype state.
First Place: $6,000
Second Place: $4,000
Third Place: $2,000
Additionally, up to three additional teams may be recognized with honorable mention awards of $1000.
Participant Eligibility & Requirements
We are looking to design solutions for unfulfilled needs for Jewish young adults. We define “young adults” as those around ages 18–25. We anticipate most ideas will come from people in this age demographic, as they best understand their own needs. That said, anyone may participate in this challenge and present a user-centered solution to a clearly identified need.
You do NOT have to be Jewish to enter this contest.
You may enter as a team (max. 4 team members) or as an individual.
The proposed solution should make use of relevant tools and modalities available; modern technology, social media, in-person gatherings, art, video, etc.
Your form submission will include a description of your solution, the unfulfilled need, inspirations/precedents, engagement strategy, and potential for scalability.
The determination of the winners will be made by a group of judges and subject matter experts selected by the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Competitor explains clearly how the unfulfilled need is relevant to the target market.
If you choose one of the example prompts, please explain why it is an unfulfilled need among users.
If you are identifying a need of your choosing, please explain the unfulfilled need clearly and why it is important to the target audience.
Challenge solution addresses the unfulfilled need and is described in enough detail to create a clear picture of how it might be implemented. The description explains and/or illustrates how this solution solves the problem.
Submission explains why and how this solution can be expanded, and how it may be adaptive and applicable for other contexts.
Submission gives thought to how the solution will technically reach and engage with the aspirational audience, and where/how this target market will interface with the design solution.
Submission gives examples of other real-life scenarios that served as inspiration for the idea and could inform design and execution. If there are no direct examples of inspiration, the submission points to some corollary offerings that may offer insight.
Judges will use the following principles to frame their review of submissions:
Wide-Aperture Engagement — novel ideas will look to engage both Jews and non-Jews that are not currently engaged in Jewish institutional life.
Human-centered — ideas should be focused on serving the needs and behaviors of the people in question.
Thanks for being a part of our crowd! How is your submission going? At this challenge, we accept individual entries and team entries. Both are wonderful options. If you need help choosing which is best for you, or finding team members, let the community know and we can help out.
Hi everyone! We are a few weeks into the Jewish Life is a Vibe Contest and we are so excited to see you join our challenge and start submitting your ideas! If you have any questions please post them in the “Forum” page and we will respond as soon as we can.
Innovating our communities is essential in bringing people together in relevant and meaningful ways. Check out this New York Times article that uses bees and the pandemic to remind us how vital community is.
The North Star of Research & Development at the Jim Joseph Foundation is to ensure that Jewish life is in ongoing movement, designed for today and the future, powered by dynamic and diverse people at its core, to enhance our lives and the world.
We will accomplish this by discovering the unknown, by identifying unmet needs, aspirational participants, and new partners, and by launching critical new projects. Fueled by ideation, testing, and learning, we will develop capabilities and value propositions that better serve modern Jewish communities. The Jim Joseph Foundation mission is to create a world in which all Jews, their families, and their friends lead connected, meaningful, purpose-filled lives and make positive contributions to their communities and to the world, inspired by Jewish learning experiences.
The Jim Joseph Foundation is one of the largest and most influential philanthropic foundations in the Jewish communal space, housed in San Francisco, with an R&D outpost based in New Orleans, LA.