We are honored to be named “one of the top 50 most innovative Jewish organization in North America” by Slingshot ’13-’14! Here’s what the evaluators at The Slingshot Fund had to say about us in The Guide:

While the social entrepreneurs featured throughout Slingshot are critical to the ongoing relevancy of Jewish life, for the Jewish community to continue to thrive, legacy institutions must also continue to innovate to remain relevant. There may be no better example of the drive for ongoing relevancy than at the Jewish Learning Venture (JLV) in Philadelphia. As the Slingshot organization with the oldest roots, JLV can trace part of its ancestry to the early 1800s. Born from the 2009 merger of the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education, founded in the 1980s, and the Jewish Outreach Partnership, an organization created in 1836, JLV works as a collaborative agency that seeks to expand and enhance the way Philadelphians experience Jewish community. In order to remain current in a community whose needs have changed dozens of times over nearly two centuries, JLV focuses on the real needs of the local Jewish community by developing family engagement programming, strengthening synagogues, and building up Jewish educational institutions.

JLV serves as a resource for local Philadelphia Jewish organizations, providing tools and methods for these organizations to build partnerships with each other, expand outreach in the community, and connect local communities of families. JLV programs touch a wide range of audiences, including technology training for congregational school teachers, collaborative affinity groups for synagogues, the website jkidphilly that provides a connection point for Jewish families with young children, and Reshet (Hebrew for “network”), a training program for local Jewish professionals and lay leaders. Reshet has recently expanded nationally, with JLV training local coordinators to run Reshet programming in seven different cities.

As a result of JLV’s programming, more families incorporate Jewish ritual into their homes and feel more connected with the Jewish community. Evaluators are impressed with the number and diversity of partnerships that JLV has created in the Philadelphia community, and how the national Reshet network impacts communities outside of Philadelphia. “[JLV] keep[s] breaking new ground fearlessly,” says one Slingshot evaluator. “Since the merger [it has] continued to innovate in Philadelphia and to impact communities nationwide.”

Rabbi Phil Warmflash, Executive Director of Jewish Learning Venture, speaks about the innovative work of the agency:

How have you been impacted by our innovative work? Share in the comments below!