Nachshon – On Embracing Risk as An Institutional Value

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Before they hired their first staff member, the board of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation defined their core values, which were later adopted by Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.

One of those values is:

נחשון “NACHSHON” (First into the water): Drive Forward

We embrace new insights, big ideas, and fresh initiatives with an action orientation, learning as  we go. We are willing to rise to the occasion when others cannot, do not, or will not.

The story of Nachshon is a midrash you may have shared at your seder this year – at the Red Sea, with the Egyptian army closing in, Moses stood with his arms outstretched – but the sea was unmoved until one man, Nachshon, plunged in. Continue reading


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Have you ever picked up a small pitcher of milk for your coffee only to have half of the contents dribble down the side and pool onto the counter?  Often, design is something we don’t think about unless it is really bad or really good.  And yet, there is a remarkable and nuanced history behind the shape and construction of almost everything we touch, a story behind the design of each object – even the container holding your milk. Once, I thought design meant the funky looking chairs that I couldn’t afford from Soho furniture shops.  Then my cousin, a textile designer, explained design to me in very different terms.  Continue reading

Grantmaking 2014

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2014 was Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah’s first full calendar year of operation. Our work incorporates a variety of strategies for advancing the understanding and application of what we call Living Torah.  But our most direct way of doing so is by supporting projects and partners who share our perspective through grants. As we start 2015, it’s exciting for us to look back at the portfolio we’ve built over the last year and to take a minute to celebrate the organizations we’ll be partnering with over the next several months. Continue reading

The Constant Pull of Past and Future

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The following was originally published December 1, 2014 by eJewishPhilanthropy.  Many thanks to Dan Brown and Maya Bernstein for allowing us to repost on this blog.

One of the great challenges of infusing your professional life with Jewish Sensibilities (indeed, the same applies to all aspects of life) is balancing the tension between one’s obligations to those who have come before and those who will succeed us…Maya describes eloquently our need to acknowledge the fears that come from seeing ourselves as a link in a chain of generations, l’dor va dor, and the great importance of freeing ourselves to innovate. Continue reading