Inspiring innovation in our Jewish community

Dozens of local programs have been chosen for inclusion in this year’s Slingshot Guide highlighting the top 50 innovative projects in Jewish life.

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In a nod to the ground-breaking work JUF, its family of agencies and its community partners are doing here in Chicago, dozens of local programs have been chosen for inclusion in this year's Slingshot Guide highlighting the top 50 innovative projects in Jewish life.

Slingshot's Guide-now in its 13 th  year-highlights trailblazing initiatives nationwide. Special this year, a Chicago-only edition catalogues the best of Chicago's thriving Jewish community. Both editions spotlight programs that are motivating new audiences to participate in Jewish life and are responding to the community's evolving needs in new and creative ways.

For the second consecutive year, JUF's  jBaby Chicago  was selected for the national guide. jBaby helps expectant parents and families of newborns and tots make connections, build friendships and engage in Jewish life.

Also included in the national guide were several national programs that have local efforts housed at JUF here in Chicago, including PJ Library and  Base Hillel .

Thanks to The Crown Family Philanthropies and the Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund, this year's special Chicago guide highlights 20 local organizations and shows the breadth of inspiring work happening right here in our own backyard.

"I am in awe of this community, which is doing such impressive and imperative work to keep Jewish life thriving here in Chicago," said Steven B. Nasatir, JUF president. "And I am in awe of our JUF/Federation, which is a part of nearly all these initiatives in some way-whether they are JUF programs, JUF partner agencies or receive funding through JUF's Breakthrough Fund. The impact we are having on this Jewish community is truly remarkable."

The Chicago Edition includes the following JUF programs:

jBaby Chicago  has connected with over 2,100 new families since its launch in 2014.

PJ Library  sends free Jewish books and music to families with children ages 6 months to 8 years.

Silverstein Base Hillel,  a home in Lincoln Park where a rabbi and her wife provide a hub for young Jewish adults, grounded in pluralism, learning, hospitality and service.

Ta'am Yisrael,  an 8th grade educational experience in Israel for non-day school students, organized by JUF's Education department.

The guide also highlights a variety of programs and organizations that are JUF's partner agencies or receive or have previously received funding from JUF.

These include:

A Wider Bridge  builds bridges between Israelis and LGBTQ North Americans and allies. 

Center for Jewish Leadership - housed at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership-cultivates innovative approaches to leadership and enhances the abilities of Jewish professionals and lay leaders. 

Honeymoon Israel  offers highly subsidized, nine-day trips to Israel for disengaged couples with at least one Jewish partner.

InterfaithFamily  supports interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them.

Jewish Enrichment Center's  trailblazing educational approach to Jewish children's learning believes that students should be the cocreators of dynamic Jewish life.

Keshet Special Needs. Extraordinary Opportunities  offers support services and training for individuals with disabilities to achieve their potential.

Libenu Foundation  provides residential, vocational, social recreational and respite programs for Jewish children and adults with disabilities.

Mishkan Chicago,  an independent spiritual community, is reimagining and reinvigorating Judaism and bringing spirit, song and celebration to places without a Jewish institutional presence.

Moishe House  gives Jewish 20somethings a place where they can define Jewish community and identity on their own terms.

Moving Traditions  emboldens teens to thrive by fostering self-discovery, challenging sexism and inspiring meaning and connection in Jewish life

OneTable  inspires people in their 20s and 30s to create their own Shabbat dinner experiences.

Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning  provides innovative Jewish learning experiences to open up Jewish tradition to people from a variety of backgrounds.

SVARA  is a traditionally radical yeshiva that makes spiritual, moral and intellectual technology of Talmud study accessible for all Jews.

Synagogue Community Partnership , a project of Jewish Child & Family Services, works with congregations to provide easily accessible, welcoming support and services in places where Jewish individuals work, live, learn and worship.

The Chicago guide also highlights  Avodah Chicago , which trains and supports emerging Jewish leaders for social change, and  Reboot , which reinvigorates Jewish traditions by producing events, exhibitions, digital tools, books and more to reimagine Jewish life.

The Slingshot Guide, published annually, is available in hard copy and as a free download at .

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