A Kick in the Pants for Jewish Projects

Kickstarter.com Offers New Fundraising Framework

Golden Years: ‘Oma and Bella’ documents the lives of the filmmaker’s grandmother, Oma (right), and her best friend.
Courtesy alexa karolinski
Golden Years: ‘Oma and Bella’ documents the lives of the filmmaker’s grandmother, Oma (right), and her best friend.

By Margaret Eby

Published November 19, 2012, issue of November 16, 2012.
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Testimonies: Stories of Refugee Children During World War II

$2,000 goal met October 12, 2012. $3,301 Total, 42 Backers.

Historian Samantha Lakin and photographer Laura Bernier teamed up to expand on Lakin’s Fulbright project gathering interviews from Jewish children who fled to Switzerland to avoid Nazi invasion in Europe. Some 42 backers donated over $1,000 more than Lakin and Bernier’s goal of $2,000. The pair were able to produce an exhibit at New York’s Museum of Tolerance featuring Lakin’s painstaking research and Bernier’s gorgeous, heart-wrenching photos to capture the tumultuous lives of the refugee children. Their supporters? A vast, varied community who all tapped in through social networks. “Rabbis, survivors and their families, ambassadors, professors, scholars, photographers and filmmakers all felt connected to ‘Testimonies’ through Kickstarter,” Bernier said.

Punk Jews

$10,000 goal met July 6, 2010. $10,721 Total, 206 backers.

“We wanted to do something substantive, something where we could ask real questions about our heritage and could be empowered by our Jewish identity,” explained Jesse Mann, the director of the Kickstarter-funded documentary “Punk Jews.” Along with partner Evan Kleinman, Mann raised $10,721 to make a series of short films about a subculture of, well, punk-ish Jews. Mann encapsulates the secular and urban community of Jewish culture-makers who are redefining what it means to be Jewish within the DIY music world. Along the way, he formed a community of music-loving backers, who were rewarded with CDs, concert tickets and yarmulkes.


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