Bronfman’s Big Idea: What’s Yours?


The Electricity of New Ideas

Every time I think about Charles Bronfman’s Big Idea contest for Jewish communal innovation, I just can’t wait to hear what the ideas are. Great news– it’s time to talk about them!

The Official Yes

I’ve just spoken to Prof. Jonathan Sarna, Director of Brandeis’ Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership who says:

“I am absolutely delighted for there to be discussion of Jewish communal innovation on your blog and elsewhere. One of the most important contributions of this initiative, from my perspective, has been the excitement that it has generated around this important theme. Nothing in our regulations precludes such discussion. To the contrary, we welcome it!”

I Want To Hear From You

Let the games begin. I want to hear from you. If you submitted an idea to Bronfman’s contest (or if you didn’t). I want to you to feel comfortable using The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy as a platform to be heard. Use this blog to share, think, talk about, and develop your idea with a friendly and thoughtful audience. I am at your disposal.

Please contact me by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at mnorton [at]

Can you tell how excited I am?

(Special thanks to Prof. Sarna for his quick and kind reply.)


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Photo credited to Jared Smith, with thanks.

10 Responses to Bronfman’s Big Idea: What’s Yours?

  1. thenewjew says:


    Prof. Sarna adds:

    “I obviously cannot guarantee that members of the committee will not read your blog and be influenced by what contributors write. From an official point of view, however, there can be no barrier to applicants speaking their mind and expanding on their ideas.

    Thanks for continuing your own important work!”

    My comment:

    Seems to me that promoting these ideas is what the whole contest is about.

  2. Rabbi Cause says:

    I put my Bronfman idea on-line, along with the flaws I perceive. A couple of readers emailed me that they might perfect it and submit it; I hope they succeed. You can find it at

  3. thenewjew says:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Interesting. I’d like to hear more.


  4. […] week I invited you to submit your Big Ideas for communal discussion a la Charles Bronfman’s Brandeis contest. Ideas on any scale and […]

  5. Gary Kulwin says:

    I have posted my book proposal, entitled “Hebrew Nation”, on my website for your review ( The five page essay essentially suggests that we need to define a new “denomination” in American Jewish life, namely “Hebrew Americans” (i.e. Israeli ex-pats and others who have Hebrew fluency), and build new kinds of institutions around this core group. Comments, anyone?

  6. thenewjew says:

    Dear Gary,

    I am fascinated. I took a brief look just now and can’t wait to come back and read it more thoroughly. I would love to talk with you further about presenting this idea in my Bronfman Big Idea series.

    I have your e-mail and will drop you a line at the end of the week when I get a chance to sit with it further.

    Thanks for commenting. I look forward to speaking with you further and hearing your thoughts.

    Hag urim sameach,


    mnorton [at]

  7. TNT -KOCHNIK says:

    I submitted this proposal, which was not a finalist. I would like to hear some criticism of my proposal.
    Project Renewal is a program that pairs wealthy jewish communities in america with supposed poor communities in israel .this program ignores the fact that 1/3 of jewish residents in american cities live below the poverty level.and huge numbers of israelis take overseas vacations each year but, this argument is for another time.
    my proposal is to divide america into the same geographic regions as project renewal uses and each jewish region in america would build a village in the negev for american jews to move. this would have the effect of building dozens of new jewish villages in a region presently being over run by the beduin enemy. these jewish villages would keep their ties to the american communities that founded them and in return for the help that american jews give the villages the jewish villages would produce educational
    info and send shalichim back to america to help educate american jews and reduce intermarriage and assimiliation and bring intermarried jews and their families back to judaism. If this program is successful schools in the villages for diaspora jews can be built such as an international nursing school, business school music school etc.
    Drug treatment, weight loss and behaviour modification programs can be built for diaspora jews to attend. the jnf claims to have been planting trees in israel for 100+ yrs yet we still talk of the negev desert and not the negev forest. my proposal will not decieve american jews the way jnf does. my project will consist of the new jewish villages planting huge numbers of trees each yr in the negev so that in a few decades people wil talk of the negev forest instead of the negev desert.
    my proposal also calls for an attempt to contact the super rich in our community who presently fund every non-jewish cause imaginable but seem to ignore jewish causes. if we can ignite the spark of yiddishkeit in the super rich and get them to back this program, it will undoubtably be a success!
    I feel this idea is more in line with the Birthrite idea than the 5 semi finalists chosen by the brandeis team.
    I would like to hear criticism as to why i am wrong.

  8. Nir Kouris says:

    Our Future: The next Generation!
    My idea, project and Vision:
    eCamp Israel -International Technology Summer Camp in Israel

    We welcome kids& Teenagers from all over the world to join Israel’s success story:
    eCamp Israel is an International Technology Summer Camp, opening the gates to the #1 success story of Israel – Technology Innovation. eCamp Israel introduces the campers to an enriching experience that touches their deepest emotions and spur creative energies in their minds. We provide an original, creative and fascinating program, matching worldwide youth with Israeli peers in a unique way using universal language – Technology. eCamp Israel is an overnight summer camp where worldwide youth who love technology get together for an unforgettable experience.
    please visit:

    Good Luck to all of us!
    Nir Kouris

  9. My friend on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

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