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Jewish Journal

What’s the Big Idea?

by Julie Gruenbaum Fax

January 11, 2011 | 6:34 pm

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is convinced that someone out there has an idea that can transform Jewish life, and it is willing to pay for it.

This week, Federation launched “The Next Big Jewish Idea,” part of its centennial celebration for 2011.

“There have been a lot of great Jewish ideas that have transformed Jewish life. There has been everything from the blue-and-white tzedakah box to Hadassah to Birthright Israel, and these have all become firmly entrenched in our Jewish life,” said Scott Minkow, Federation’s vice president of partnerships and innovation. “So our thinking is the next idea is out there. What is next?”

Individuals 13 and older or organizations can submit ideas that fall into one of the Federation’s three priority areas — ensuring the Jewish future, serving Jews in need or engaging the wider community. Winning ideas will have the potential for broad and lasting impact.

Ideas can be submitted now through March 31 at nextbigjewishidea.com, and voting will be open at the same time. The three top vote getters will become finalists, and an additional three finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges. Online voting for the winner from among the six finalists will occur in April and May. The final winner will be chosen by the panel of judges, who will take into account the vote tally, along with the sustainability and innovation of the idea.

The winner, to be announced in June, will receive $100,000 in funding, plus office space, mentoring and support services at Federation’s Wilshire Boulevard headquarters.

“The idea is to use this milestone not only to look back and celebrate 100 years, but to look forward and to bring the whole community together,” Federation President Jay Sanderson said. “We want the L.A. Federation to be the innovation center for Federations across the country.”

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