Founded in 2005 under the leadership of Michael Steinhardt and the late William Davidson, the Areivim Philanthropic Group is a unique consortium of major North American philanthropists committed to developing and supporting transformational projects. Areivim works to significantly impact the next generation of Jews through formal and experiential Jewish, Hebrew, and Israel education.
Our partners meet several times a year to identify the challenges of our time and brainstorm how they, as dedicated philanthropists, can develop and support projects to enhance Jewish life in North America. Areivim Working Groups in the past have focused on the areas of Jewish Part-time Education, Jewish Early Childhood Education, the Potential of the Synagogue, Israel Engagement, Modern Hebrew Language, Israel Branding and Advocacy, and more. Once a project is launched as a result of the efforts of a particular Working Group, group members help transition the project to the next level. Each Partner can be involved in as many Working Groups as desired. With Working Groups engaged with academic advisors and consultants to help achieve our goals, Areivim has enjoyed a successful track record of creating transformative projects.
For example, the Areivim Philanthropic Group dreamed up Hebrew Public: Charter Schools for Global Citizens, the Israeli Scouts Atid program, and the Hebrew at Camp/Kayitz Kef Hebrew Language Immersion Program in Day Camps.
Hebrew Public started with one school in 2009 and now there are 10 campuses in the network with grades ranging from Pre-K to 8th grade. Hebrew Public is leading a national movement of exceptional, diverse public charter schools that teach Modern Hebrew to children of all backgrounds and prepare them to be successful global citizens.
Resulting from the work of the Israel Engagement Working Group, Israeli Scouts Atid, an English-language track of the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) in the US, was launched in 2016.
The Working Group on Modern Hebrew Language developed the Hebrew at Camp/Kayitz Kef Program in 2013. Kayitz Kef gives American Jewish youth the ability to converse in Modern Israeli Hebrew and to own contemporary Israeli culture as part of who they are. An independent evaluation of the project has shown that returning campers are able to regain the language ability achieved during the previous summer after only two weeks and are then able to grow to even higher levels of proficiency. Beginning with one pilot program at Camp Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, New York, during the summer of 2013, Kayitz Kef served 631 campers at 12 day camps in 2019. In the summer of 2020, the Covid crisis required us to pivot and restructure the program, helping our camps offer remote and in-person Hebrew engagement and successfully increasing our network to 15 camps, including our first 3 overnight camps. Additionally, due to the online platform, more campers than ever before experienced authentic and engaging Hebrew programs
For the summer of 2021, Kayitz Kef has expanded to 20 camps across the United States and Canada – 16 day camps and now 4 overnight camps – to deliver authentic and fun Hebrew language learning to over 1,300 campers. Given that we are once again engaging campers exclusively in person and solely through our Hebrew immersion approach, we are on track for exceeding our long-term growth plans.
Other projects that Areivim endorses and works with include OneTable, TAMID Group, and the Jewish Food Society.
The Jewish Food Society's mission is to honor and revitalize Jewish culinary traditions by preserving beloved Jewish recipes and celebrating new ones.
OneTable's mission is to make Shabbat dinner accessible to tens of thousands of young people who otherwise would be absent from Jewish community. OneTable provides hosts and guests with easily accessible tools and resources, making these rituals not only attainable but sustainable.
Areivim is currently exploring the possibilities of Philanthropnik, a new potential initiative in partnership with the Fooksman Family Foundation, which would serve as an educational and collaborative platform focused on empowering, educating, and connecting high-achieving Russian-speaking Jews (RSJs) to their Jewish identity and philanthropic potential. Philanthropnik’s goal would be to cultivate an empowered and engaged North American RSJ community that will be connected to Jewish culture, embrace a deep sense of Jewish Peoplehood, and see philanthropy as an integral part of its Jewish identity. What makes this idea unique is that it would be a community-driven initiative led by philanthropically engaged RSJs for philanthropically engaged RSJs and would focus on all the various aspects of philanthropy from a Jewish perspective and build connections with both the American and world-wide Jewish communities.
With these initiatives and more, Areivim is working to transform and revitalize Jewish education and to engage Jews throughout North America in Jewish life.