The Covenant Grants

Jews of Color (JOC) Engagement, Within and Beyond Our Walls

Organization: Hannah Senesh Community Day School, Brooklyn, NY

Grant Year: 2021

Project Director: Nicole Nash

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $135,000 (3 years)


Curriculum Development
Day Schools
Race and Diversity

Hannah Senesh Community Day School – To create a culture of belonging for Jews of Color by developing curricula, community programming, and a multicultural camp through the lens of equity and inclusion.

What sparked the idea for this grant project?

“Community” is more than our name—it’s our identity. Since 1995, Senesh has been committed to creating a community that reflects the evolving Jewish world and where all Jews feel a sense of belonging. This work has matured as we’ve deepened relationships and intentionally worked to build a community inclusive of underrepresented groups. We are committed to our value of Belonging/shayachut, to create a culture that honors the dignity of each person. After reflecting on and auditing our work in the areas of diversity and belonging, we are now focused on increasing the number of Jews of Color in our community and ensuring that JOC feel a sense of belonging both at Senesh and in the wider Jewish world.

What are the expressed needs (as they relate to this project) of your school community, and how do you hope this project will meet those needs?

We hope to leverage our position as a Jewish day school and a center of Jewish life in Brooklyn to further the conversation around how to create a culture of belonging for Jews of Color in the larger Jewish community. This project will allow us to: form an advisory council to offer perspectives and expertise we may not currently have as we deepen our work around racial equity and diversity; expand our strategic partnerships to further develop community programming through the lens of JOC inclusivity and belonging; bolster our JOC recruitment initiative; and launch a multicultural Jewish day camp. As we build the capacity of our own institution, we will serve as a model for other Jewish organizations.

What does a “culture of belonging” at Hannah Senesh look like?

A culture of belonging is multifaceted. Our vision for such a culture is that our students will see themselves reflected in their classmates, faculty, and staff. Our curriculum, programs, books, and materials will let all of our students know that they are an integral part of the Jewish people. They will experience a program in which diverse voices, stories, and experiences are celebrated. We will have meaningful engagement with Jews of Color and multiracial families and offer professional learning, workshops, and events to build community and troubleshoot obstacles and challenges. We will continue to foster relationships with organizations and individuals who serve the JOC community and will act as a model and advocate of this work in the larger Jewish world.