The Russell Berrie Foundation
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Jewish Renaissance


Russ Berrie was passionate about promoting the continuity and enrichment of Jewish communal life. The Foundation’s values, vision and goals for Jewish Renaissance are the following:


  • We believe in the legacy of the Jewish people.
  • We believe in developing a Jewish community that will sustain and strengthen the Jewish people through the celebration of its common legacy and values.
  • We believe in connecting the younger generation of Jews to the creative spiritual joy of being Jewish so that they embrace values and traditions and consciously choose to transmit that passion to the next generation.
  • We believe that there should be a strong connection between Jewish life in America and Israel, and that we should inspire Jews and non-Jews alike to become passionately committed to the future of Israel.
  • We believe in creating a sustained dialogue between Reform, Conservative and/or Orthodox communities so that they may learn from each other and strive to accept and understand their differences. We also believe in creating a world where people of all faiths can respect each other’s differences and positively impact trans-denominational and inter-religious understanding in future generations.


  • We seek to transform the Jewish community by developing leaders who will transmit their passion for and commitment to Jewish values.
  • We seek to build bridges between Jewish denominations as well as to connect Jewish people to people of other faiths.
  • We seek to ensure the future of a vibrant and healthy state of Israel.
  • We seek to become a leader in Jewish philanthropy and collaborate with innovative funders to seed or sustain transformational initiatives.
  • We seek to influence the development of Jewish identity and Jewish pride through educational initiatives.
  • We seek to inspire communities to celebrate Jewish traditions in innovative, inclusive and engaging ways.
  • We seek to create a flourishing environment for the Jewish arts, culture and learning.


  1. Rabbi Bemporad and the Reverend Dr. Kowalski at menorah lighting ceremony

    Advance the causes of Jewish continuity and survival of the Jewish people, through transmitting to current and future generations of Jews a passionate and meaningful sense of Jewish identity.
  2. Serve as a catalyst to:
    1. Promote Jewish pluralism,
    2. Foster inter-religious understanding between Jews, Catholics and those of other faiths; and
    3. Successfully integrate intermarried families into the Jewish community.
  3. Build a cadre of Jewish leaders who will create a Jewish Renaissance in the 21 st century through:
    1. Nurturing and sustaining Jewish educational, cultural and community building initiatives, and
    2. Transforming Jewish institutions.