JTA (and inside sources) report that Brandeis has selected a winner in their competition for Bronfman Visiting Chair in Jewish Communal Innovation (i.e., “the next big idea in Jewish life”). According to this article “the idea is based on the contest held by Sears Roebuck and Co. chairman Julius Rosenwald in 1929, in which Rosenwald offered $10,000 to the person who could answer the question: ‘How can Judaism best adjust itself to and influence modern life?’ Sixty-two contestants answered the question over two years, until Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, submitted his work ‘Judaism as a Civilization’ and won.”
Mazal tov, Yehuda!

Brandeis names competion winner
Brandeis University selected a Harvard graduate student as the winner in its competition for a visiting professorship and book deal, JTA has learned.
Yehuda Kurtzer, who is finishing his doctorate in Jewish history at Harvard University, won for his proposal, “Shuva: the Sacred Task of Rebuilding Jewish Memory.”
Brandeis and the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies offered a two-year visiting professorship and a book deal to the person who could come up with the best proposal for a book that would transform the way Jews think about themselves and Judaism.
Kurtzer’s book would be a combined history, theological statement and prescription for programming that can help Jews access their history through text study to create meaningful Jewish experiences, Kurtzer said Sunday at a Brandeis symposium for the five finalists in the competition. The open competition garnered 231 applicants.
The school would not comment on the selection until after the official announcement.