Kate Carlisle (

Colby College’s Center for Small Town Jewish Life, which provides educational and cultural programs aimed at invigorating Jewish life in Maine communities, has been awarded a prestigious Signature Grant from the Covenant Foundation.

The three-year award of $149,693 will be used by the center to enhance its year-round training and mentorship programs, rabbinical internships, leadership initiatives and entrepreneurship workshops, and events, including its popular annual Fall Shabbaton.

“We’re incredibly honored to have received this grant,” said Rabbi Rachel Isaacs, director of the center. “What’s most exciting about being recognized by the Covenant Foundation is that it puts small-town Jewish life, and small-town Jewish life in Maine, on the national stage.”

The center, founded in 2015, addresses the needs of Jewish students at small colleges and the communities that host them. A collaborative effort of Colby Hillel, Colby’s Jewish Studies Program, and Waterville’s Beth Israel Congregation, the center hosts activities, programs, and initiatives aimed at creating vibrant centers for Jewish living. The programs include a widely attended annual summer conference in Waterville.

Rabbi Isaacs, the Dorothy “Bibby” Alfond Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby, also leads the Beth Israel Congregation in Waterville. In 2014 she was named one of America’s most inspiring Jewish clergy by the Jewish Daily Forward.

Since 1991 the Covenant Foundation has provided more than $31 million to support Jewish education in North America. The foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies, committed to the idea that those with the creativity and passion to be catalysts for change and innovation in Jewish education are worthy of recognition and support.

For more information:

Center for Small Town Jewish Life
The Covenant Foundation