Jewish Los Angeles is transfixed—not by Showbiz drama and intrigue— but by the quest for the Next Big Jewish Idea.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles launched a contest to choose a great new idea to help transform and renew Jewish life in LA and they will fund it with $100k. The contest, “The Next Big Jewish Idea” has been very successful in attracting attention, votes, page views and participation.

The range of ideas very from the serious to the ridiculous, but if you peel away the layers, there are some great ideas. One of the most inspiring parts of this project for me personally, is to see good ideas that have bounced around for years, or ideas hatched independently, appear on the site submitted by people I’ve never met or worked with. There is some deep common wisdom in the spiritual fabric that connects Jews around the world – and one of the beautiful manifestations of that connection are some of the great projects that you can vote for. We are a people driven to perfect the world, our community, and our lives – and the ideas submitted are an impressive testimony to that impetus for Tikkun Olam.

Here are a few that caught my eye – there are many other great ones: Nesahama: A Jewish Community Center for the 21st century – one that embraces the spiritual and cultural. (I purchased the domain Neshama Center in 2004 when Rachel and I wanted to start one in NYC) Jewish DIY guides, websites and classes. JED -Jewish TED style conference (Discloser: par of Jewlicious Festival this year was dedicated to TED style talks.) Return On Investment ideas for Jewish education to make Jewish education FREE. Lots of Jewish Yoga – including a submission from our own Yogi In Residence Marcus Freed – Bibliyoga: Yoga with a Jewish twist. There is Nechama a community concierge. Shabbat Rocks mobile experiential learning. And hundreds more.

The voting on The Next Big Jewish Idea ends tomorrow night at midnight, and then second round of evaluation by a committee begins. We look forward to announcing the great Jewish idea down the road and wish all the contestants the best of mazal.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah