What is the Synagogue Vegan Challenge? The Synagogue Vegan Challenge is the first-ever attempt to encourage Jewish spiritual communities to go vegan for one calendar year. To stimulate interest and incentive, we're offering a $5,000 grant to participating synagogues who undertake this (fun & delicious) challenge! Our first cohort of five (5) synagogues launched in Fall 2017.
Sounds interesting! How do I apply? Well, since you asked... Click the "APPLY" tab on the top of this page! This will direct you to an application form which should take, at most, ten minutes to complete. It's really that easy!
When's the latest my synagogue/community can apply to the Synagogue Vegan Challenge? The last day to apply to the Synagogue Vegan Challenge Cohort 2 is May 30, 2018. APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
Which synagogues were part of the first & second cohorts of the Synagogue Vegan Challenge? Visit THIS PAGE to learn more! If my synagogue is accepted, what happens next? Congratulations in advance for being accepted! Once your synagogue is chosen and terms are agreed to, it is up to your community to decide how you would like to spend the funds. But just remember, you have to commit to at least one vegan event each month to receive the full amount of the grant. But it's not as hard as it seems. Some fun ideas that fulfill the criteria of the grant could be: - Host a vegan catered Shabbat (or, have community members bring their own unique creations!) - Show a film promoting animal welfare and discuss it afterwards - Hold a learning session featuring discussion sources from the Shamayim V'Aretz website
The key is to be creative! We look forward to seeing how individual communities engage in animal welfare & vegan activities (but make sure to survey your community after each event. We need data!).
Can the grant go towards non-food items? No. The grant only covers the direct cost of food. Everything else is up to you.
Could I start a new synagogue and use this as seed money or does the synagogue need to exist already? Yes, you can start a new one if you are willing to put in the effort!
You mentioned data. If my synagogue/community is selected for the Challenge, what materials will I have to provide you? Yes, you read that right, but it's not as difficult as it sounds. We need to know that you are providing opportunities for your community to enjoy vegan cuisine. To do so, we ask you that every quarter, you send us four (4) pieces of information:
- All the receipts/invoices for those that are requesting reimbursement. - A list of names of participants who attended events. - Feedback from those participants (survey results). - Rabbinic/Administrative reflections on how the Challenge is going and a description of upcoming plans.
What's VegFund and how are they involved with the Synagogue Vegan Challenge? VegFund provides grants to vegan activists to support their outreach efforts. They fund events worldwide and inspire people to choose and maintain a vegan lifestyle. We have partnered with them many times in the past, but this by far their most generous funding of one our programs. We thank them for their partnership and friendship. To learn more about VegFund, visit http://www.vegfund.org/
What if I'm not vegetarian/vegan? Can I still apply? Sure! We encourage everyone to apply who might see a benefit to reducing the amount of meat in their diet at the individual and aggregate level.
If I'm not a vegan, am I a bad person? Absolutely not! This challenge is not meant to shame or make anyone feel bad about themselves. Rather, the reason we started this challenge is for Jewish communities to think more deeply about the nexus of animal welfare ethics, kashrut (kosher law), and compassion for all. We believe that by encouraging gentle, non-judgmental discussion and by showing how tasty and nutritious a plant-based diet can be, Jewish communities can reduce the average amount of meat consumed at an average meal.
Where can I learn more about The Shamayim V'Aretz and its activism? Visit http://www.shamayimvaretz.org/ to learn more about The Shamayim V'Aretz Institute. And make sure to sign up for our newsletter for the latest in what we're up to!
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