Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Names Rabbi Sharon Brous Recipient of Inaugural Inspired Leadership Award

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced it has selected Rabbi Sharon Brous as the recipient of its first Inspired Leadership Award. The Foundation created the biennial award program to recognize an outstanding professional leader whose vision can help transform the Los Angeles Jewish community. It provides a $100,000 donor advised fund for Brous to distribute to programs and projects of local Jewish organizations that support her vision.

Brous is the founder of IKAR, a vibrant Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles dedicated to the integration of spiritual and religious practice and the pursuit of social justice. Among her accomplishments, Brous is credited by many for her innovative approach to reaching out and drawing back many young, unaffiliated Jews to Judaism. She was included in the Forward newspapers annual list of the 50 most influential American Jews for three consecutive years, and Newsweek has named her one of the leading rabbis in the country.

Rabbi Brous exemplifies the committees criteria for this prestigious award: shes a forward-thinking leader who is ahead of her timetruly creative and entrepreneurial in her approach to Jewish communal issues, said Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland. Her dynamic personality and commitment to Judaism and social justice are truly inspirational. Shes a person of integrity and accomplishment who works to effect positive, meaningful change in the Los Angeles Jewish community.

He continued, For the first time in The Foundations more than 50-year history, we have established a monetary award program that recognizes and supports the work of an individual. Our role as a prime source for funding causes in Jewish Los Angeles continues to evolve and expand. Consequently, our board feels it is incumbent upon us to identify outstanding young leaders and support their work.

Rabbi Brous was selected from 15 candidates nominated by The Foundations board. However, our organization has been aware of Rabbi Brouss breakthrough work for several years, and in fact, she was one of the inspirations for establishing the award, Schotland concluded.

Surprised to Receive Award

I am thrilled and honored to receive The Foundations inaugural Inspired Leadership Award, Brous said. We started IKAR four years ago believing that if we approached traditional Jewish life with a pious irreverence, a true sense of mission, a spirit of innovation and risk taking, and a real sense of humor, we could build a beautiful and compelling model, and simultaneously catalyze a critical conversation in the American Jewish community about the Jewish future.

We knew that these were ambitious objectives, but we also knew that the time was right to create a new model of Jewish community, particularly in a moment defined by religious apathy on one hand; extremism and divisiveness on the other. This award recognizes our work toward realizing our vision, the rabbi added.

Brous Fund: Encouraging Others to Live Charitably

Brous plans to use the $100,000 donor advised fund to inspire others to give thoughtfully and generously. This includes a matching challenge to IKAR community members who join her in a tzedakah (charity) collective. Brous envisions a group that will study the Laws of Tzedakah (charity and justice) and collectively explore visionary, purpose-driven organizations and projects around the city that merit funding.

My goal is to inspire people who might not otherwise be giving to give, and give meaningfully. We will be leveraging The Foundations gift to create an even greater pool of resources, Brous said.


Brous, 34, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2001. She received her masters degree in human rights from Columbia University, where she also received her bachelors degree. After ordination, she served as a Marshall T. Meyer Rabbinic Fellow at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City. Following her move to Los Angeles in 2002, she was Rabbi in Residence and director of Advanced Jewish Studies at Milken Community High School.

For the past seven years, Brous has served on the faculty of REBOOT, a nonprofit that seeks to revive Jewish tradition, and on the regional council of Progressive Jewish Alliance. She teaches social justice and spiritual activism at Hebrew Union College and sits on the rabbinic advisory boards of American Jewish World Service and Hebrew College, Newton, Mass. A native of New Jersey, she resides in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles with her husband, David Light, a comedy writer, and their two daughters.

About IKAR

IKAR is a Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles founded in 2004. IKAR, which means root or core, is deeply committed to the integration of authentic and passionate spiritual practice and serious engagement in the pursuit of justice as a human and religious obligation. Of the 370 families and individuals who are members of the community, the majority are previously unaffiliated or disaffected young Jews. The community meets regularly for the Sabbath and holidays as well as for learning and community engagement. For further information, please visit

About The Foundation

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation is the largest manager of charitable assets and the leader in planned giving solutions for Greater Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists. The Foundation currently manages assets of nearly $800 million and ranks among the ten largest Los Angeles foundations (based on assets). In 2007, The Foundation and its 1,200-plus donors distributed $78 million in grants to more than 1,850 organizations with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. For further information, please visit

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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