And the winner is …

After 10 days and nearly 9,000 votes, the winner of Shape Your Jewish New York and a $250,000 grant from UJA is … Tikkun Olam Makers!

This big idea brings together a community of innovators to inspire and create solutions --both prototypes and products -- for the neglected needs of people with disabilities and the elderly, empowering them to navigate more easily in their daily lives.

UJA is proud to partner with the Reut Group, the creators of Tikkun Olam Makers, to make this idea a reality and to help meet the needs of these communities. Tikkun Olam Makers, which began as a pop-up initiative as part of the Maker Movement, will now have a permanent home in New York City.

The Big Ideas

Check out Tikkun Olam Makers, the winning big idea, and our other three finalists below.  


The Reut Group

A community of innovators creating affordable solutions for the needs of people with disabilities and the elderly.
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Tikkun Olam Makers addresses problems in the elderly and disabled communities that currently have no affordable market solution and no government solution. These neglected problems are too often swept under the rug — that’s where we come in. Since its launching in 2014 from Israel, Tikkun Olam Makers has mobilized communities around the globe, engaging thousands to create nearly 250 prototypes of products solving neglected challenges. In its near-three years of operation, Tikkun Olam Makers has been tremendously successful, scaling globally (in thirteen nations including six communities across the USA) – and has been recognized as one of Israel’s 15 most promising startups. Our “big idea” is to scale this model and establish a permanent Tikkun Olam Makers in New York, making our community the first to do so globally.

Tikkun Olam Makers already has an established presence in New York, with our very successful Makeathon in April 2017 in partnership with Cornell Tech and with the endorsement of the City Hall Commissioner of Disabilities. With your vote, we can continue creating affordable solutions for the neglected needs of elderly and disabled New Yorkers for years to come.

70 Faces Media

A multimedia web series comprised of essays, videos, and podcasts spotlighting Jews who defy expectations, conventions, and stereotypes.
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There’s an ancient rabbinic teaching which says there are 70 faces to the Torah — meaning there is no one way to interpret the Torah, just as there’s no one way to be Jewish. At 70 Faces Media, a nonprofit media company, we’re dedicated to telling all facets of the Jewish story. And from the transgender abba to the first female Hasidic judge to the Argentinean-Brazilian-Israeli Jew, that story keeps expanding.

With your vote, our new series, Chosen, will use podcasts, videos, and essays to spotlight Jews who defy expectations, conventions, and stereotypes. Every month, 70 Faces Media reaches more than two million people across our brands, including Kveller, My Jewish Learning, JTA, The Nosher, Jewniverse, and Alma. By sharing these stories throughout our platforms, we will empower our audience to connect to the Jewish story and celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community.

Friedberg JCC

A safe, nurturing, and fun summer day camp based on Jewish values for LGBTQ youth and their allies.
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Camp Ga’avah (Pride) is a summer day camp that will also offer year-round programming for LGBTQ youth and their allies to provide a safe, fun place for youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our goal is to help campers build strong relationships and confidence, and learn skills to better navigate their individual journeys. Camp Ga’avah will offer traditional camp activities, including swimming, arts, sports, and trips, plus support groups, leadership training, and counseling. Campers will also celebrate Shabbat together, participate in tikkun olam projects, and create a strong Jewish community. Family members will join campers for year-round programs, giving them a way to connect with the larger LGBTQ Jewish communities.

The impact that Camp Ga’avah will have on the LGBTQ youth and their families is significant. Campers will feel less isolated and more connected to peers and the Jewish community. Campers will build lifelong friendships as a result of participating in Camp Ga’avah. They will be more resilient and better able to cope with adversity. Campers will also be able to take on leadership roles and will serve as role models to other Jewish LGBTQ youth. Through the training and support that the campers receive, they will understand that they have the ability to make change. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many children, teens, and staff by providing them with the carefree summer they deserve.

Central Synagogue

A fearlessly inclusive Jewish hub — THE place for any New Yorker looking for a blueprint for Jewish life.
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The Center for Exploring Judaism (CEJ) is a holistic home base from which we can welcome anyone interested in living Jewishly. Built on warmth and inclusivity, the Center will offer classes, counseling for families, individuals, and couples as well as conversion if desired.

Our goal is to scale our model and bring it to the larger New York City community. The high intermarriage rate charges us with finding a way to keep Jews in the community — to be warm, grateful, and fearlessly inclusive while welcoming those who wish to live Jewishly. We endeavor to create a place where no one is judged, turned away, or pressured with an agenda. CEJ will be a place where non-Jews feel our genuine gratitude and respect for their curiosity about Judaism, and Jews feel a renewed connection to their roots. The potential impact of CEJ is enormous. Solely by word of mouth, our current program has served nearly 600 people, celebrated 200 conversions, and welcomed 70 new babies! Our students have gone on to join communities all over the city. A center like CEJ could change not only the nature of interfaith relationships and conversions, but the landscape of Judaism in New York — and beyond.


While the contest may be over, we’re only just beginning to shape our Jewish New York.

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