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Fain Award Criteria

The Irving J. Fain Award seeks to honor URJ congregations that work to create a world filled with justice, compassion, and wholeness. Grounding their work in Jewish values, these congregations have created programs or initiatives that aim to: 

  • Galvanize the congregation and community around a social justice issue

  • Stand with vulnerable populations in times of need

  • Effect legislative change at the local or state level 

  • Develop leaders within the congregation 

  • Foster sacred and civil dialogue  

  • Partner across lines of race, class, and faith 

We’re looking for programs, initiatives and campaigns that are innovative, multi-generational, and replicable. Ideally, they will engage people using multiple types of activities, including: advocacy/community organizing; hands-on service; and educational programming. 

We encourage congregations of all sizes to apply so that we can honor the diversity of creativity and engagement across our entire Movement. 

Winning programs: 

  • Are replicable and can be lifted up as models for other congregations to follow 

  • Demonstrate creativity 

  • Involve a sizeable portion of the congregation 

  • Are inclusive and encourage widespread engagement while fostering a culture of sacred dialogue  

  • Promote effective advocacy and/or community organizing work 

  • Build alliances with other community groups across lines of difference 

  • Teach the congregation about the Jewish values related to the program 

  • Educate the community regarding social issues in which the congregation is involved