The Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust
Mini-Grant Program

Through the generosity of the Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, Jewish LearningWorks is able to offer a limited number of 2-to-1 matching grants ranging from $200 to $1,000 to synagogues in the San Francisco Bay Area seeking to create meaningful and relevant adult learning experiences, with an emphasis on reaching younger adults with children still at home. This grant does not fund family education programs in which adults and children learn together.

What can be funded?
Synagogues can seek funding for a wide range of experiences that can include:

  • bringing speakers in to lecture or foster discussion on a variety of topics
  • an off-site experience, such as a visit to the Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • collaborations involving multiple synagogues
  • either one-time events or several session programs
  • out-of-pocket expenses for promoting the program

Priority is given to programs which:

  • reach a large number of parents of children still living at home.
  • use speakers and teachers from the Bay Area (we can connect you to experts in a wide range of topics!)
  • are expected to reach at least 20 participants, with priority given to programs that have the potential to attract larger audiences
  • programs that are focused on Jewish ethics, spirituality, history, Arts and culture, parenting, contemporary Judaism, Israel and the Middle East, or introductions to other religions (and not primarily focused on Torah study, holidays, or Hebrew)
  • reflect creative, high quality approaches to adult education

What cannot be funded?
Neither the Becker grant nor the portion matched by your synagogue may pay for the following items, which should not be included in the itemized budget that you include with your application:

  • speakers’ travel expenses
  • in-house synagogue staff time
  • programs that are already scheduled or that are regularly scheduled (such as an annual Scholar-in-Residence program)
  • educational experiences for children.

Recipients of the grant will have one month to submit a letter from the executive director certifying that the synagogue has committed to providing the 1/3 match for the program.  This time might also be used to fundraise within the congregation for the 1/3 match.
Grant checks will be sent two weeks after receipt of the letter of acceptance.
A brief report from the grantee, that includes a head count, a satisfaction survey and an actual budget, will be required following the implementation of the program.

How does a synagogue apply?

The simple online application form may be found here. Applications may be submitted at any time, and applicants will hear of the decision within two weeks of submission. Applications for projects to be implemented in the 2017-18 fiscal year must be submitted by December 31, 2017. Thereafter applications will be considered only for projects to be implemented in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Only one application may be submitted per fiscal year. Those who are interested in applying in the future are encouraged to contact Sherry Knazan at

Past recipients:

  • Congregation Beth Chaim (Danville) for Songs of Our Hearts, a parallel learning program for religious school parents.
  • Contra Costa Midrasha, Beth Chaim, B’nai Shalom, and B’nai Tikvah for The Touch Screen Generation: Jewish Ethics for Parents of Generation”S," a multi-unit program for parents of teens.
  • Temple Isaiah (Lafayette) for a parallel learning program for parents of teens.
  • Congregation Ner Shalom (Cotati) for learning opportunities for parents of young children.
  • Congregation Netivot Shalom (Berkeley) for an evening of learning about the relationship to wine in Judaism.
  • Or Shalom Jewish Community (San Francisco) for Enchanted Journey with Piyut, built around exploring Jewish sacred song.
  • Congregation Shir Hadash (Los Gatos) for Experiencing Jewish Culture, looking at the Jewish experience through the lens of the Arts, language, and food.