The Dan Cedarbaum Prize in Jewish Education

This Prize is designed to nurture educational experiments that are “Kaplanian in spirit” and “innovative in educational character.”

In keeping with the general orientation of the Mordecai M. Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood, the prize will underscore the value of experiments that draw from Kaplanian values and principles to address the unique challenges of 21st Jewish life. 

Passing through the prozdor (corridor) of peoplehood,  we look for approaches that enable learners and communities of learners to dwell in the chambers of spiritual meaning, tikkun olam, Jewish creativity,  deepened connection to Jewish texts, and meaningful relationships to Israel.   

A program Kaplanian in spirit creates a range of possibilities that include experiments that:  

  • Encourage an appreciation of Hebrew language and literature 
  • Boost participation in the life of the synagogue and community
  • Put Jewish values and ethics into action 
  • Craft models of living creatively in both Jewish and a second, host civilization (North American or world).
  • Enrich Jewish living through the arts. 
  • Inspire accessible role models of Jewish engagement 

The more synergy between these goals within a given experiment the better, though no one initiative will necessarily encapsulate all the goals. 

We use a Deweyan rubric to sketch out our understanding of innovation in educational character.  All experiments that help learners and communities of learners grow in their Jewish journeys provide a possible basis for funding and future collaboration.

As growth is a process that stretches across the life cycle, we honor proposals for early childhood, children, teens,  adult, seniors, family, and intergenerational learning.  The venues for such experiments may be the synagogue, the community, the school, the camp or any other educational venue. 

The prize is for either a new idea yet to be initiated or for significant new, creative dimensions added to a project already in motion. It is not for a completed project though we are happy to add such projects to our innovation garden (please contact Karen Morris at

Evaluative Criteria

The Prize Selection Committee has selected evaluative criteria by which they will assess each submission.

Eligibility, Timeline & Key Dates 

In November of 2022, we will celebrate the 40th yahrzeit of Kaplan with a day of learning where the prize-winning experiments will be announced and explored for their relevance to other Jewish communities.  This day of virtual learning will include experiments as we open a digital garden of educational innovations on the 21st century Kaplanian vision website.  

Individual educational entrepreneurs, congregations, schools, camps, and other community based educational groups are all encouraged to submit proposals. 

As needed, the staff of the Kaplan Center is available to consult with you in January, February, and March of 2022.

Applications are closed for the Dan Cedarbaum Prize in Jewish Education. The two winners will be announced at our June 26th webinar which is also an exploration of Jewish leadership in honor of Dan Cedarbaum’s first yahrzeit. 

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