Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism

Seed grants and a guided entrepreneurial journey to help students think imaginatively about serving the needs of the contemporary Jewish community.

Matt Green

Rabbi Matt Green, Director

The Be Wise Fellowship in Jewish Entrepreneurialism was created in 2012 in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Institute of Religion by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the Free Synagogue in 1922. The Be Wise Fellowship encourages students to emulate Rabbi Wise by thinking imaginatively about how we can serve the needs of the contemporary Jewish community and to make real their own vision for liberal Judaism in the twenty-first century. Recipients of seed grants will have the opportunity to embark upon an entrepreneurial journey, learning over the course of the year more about themselves, the Jewish community, and what it takes to move from vision to reality. Rabbi Matt Green is the director.

Throughout the Fellowship, grantees will:

  • Meet with Rabbi Matt Green and the full cohort of grantees during four evenings over the course of the year to explore Jewish entrepreneurialism;
  • Learn from out-of-the box thinkers and practitioners focused on 21st century Jewish life;
  • Work within a budget to execute their projects;
  • Interrogate their identities as future Jewish professionals in a creative context and work to articulate what sets them apart as unique contributors to the Jewish future.

Students are invited to work individually or in a group to design a project that will:

  • Identify a gap or a lack in the Jewish communal landscape and seek to fill it;
  • Promote entrepreneurialism and bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to campus;
  • Encourage fellow students to explore and experiment with community-building
    and outreach techniques; and
  • Showcase the values upon which Rabbi Stephen S. Wise founded the Jewish Institute of Religion that are still part of the New York campus culture (such as a commitment to diversity, Klal Yisrael, the prophetic tradition, innovation, and creativity)


Once proposals are submitted, a panel of HUC-JIR representatives will evaluate the ideas. Seed money will be granted to submissions that best meet the criteria and which the panel deems to have the most potential. Students will share their progress in mid-spring and will submit their final project by June 1. All projects that receive funding, not only the winning projects, will be publicized by the College-Institute.

Award Opportunities

  • Grantees are eligible to receive seed money to implement their proposal.
  • Grantees will be featured in internal HUC-JIR publicity; the College-Institute will also promote the projects through broader publicity, with the aim of gaining coverage in the Reform Movement and in the broader Jewish press.

Students must be full-time and in good academic standing (not on probation) in order to apply. Applications are sent to all New York students and are due in September.

For Further Information

Please contact Rabbi Matt Green at