Jewish Life & Culture

“It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”
~ Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:21

Like many survivors of the Holocaust, William Konar found himself without a home, parents, or most of his family at the end of World War II.  In 1946, when he was 16 years old, he was brought to the United States as an orphan and settled in Rochester, New York. Despite achieving extraordinary success in his new homeland, he never forgot the lessons of the Holocaust. His Jewish identity never diminished, and his commitment to philanthropy and service grew wider and deeper with time.

As members of the Jewish community, we acknowledge and honor our obligation to take care of one another. By investing in this area, we hope to enrich and elevate our diverse and vibrant community, both in Rochester and throughout the world.

Funding Priorities

In the area of Jewish Life & Culture, our funding priorities include:

  • Supporting Jewish agencies operating in Monroe County and surrounding areas
  • Encouraging collaboration among local synagogues and Jewish institutions to create a dynamic local Jewish community
  • Building leadership skills and Jewish philanthropic engagement among members of our community, particularly those under age 50
  • Supporting local, national, and international programs that create spaces for conversations and learning about contemporary Israel, and that respect diverse opinions and positions
  • Assisting international programs and projects that support Jewish individuals and communities in distress
  • Supporting local interfaith activities that engage the Jewish community in dialogue and action with other religious groups

Select Grantees

The Konar Foundation makes an ongoing commitment to the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester. The Federation nourishes Jewish life through a variety of programs for families, women, and teens, and has been a vibrant hub of community activities since 1939.

Jewish Senior Life is at the forefront of senior care, creating a thriving, vital, innovative community for Rochester’s aging community. The organization is devoted to deeply enhancing the quality of life, health and well-being of older adults, their families, and others in our community, consistent with the values and traditions of our Jewish heritage. Jewish Senior Life consistently seeks innovative options for helping people age meaningfully and with dignity via community, at-home, and residential-care programs.

The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester (JCC) has been serving the community area for more than 100 years, providing programs that enhance the quality of life for everyone from infants and children to adult senior citizens. The mission of the JCC is to strengthen Jewish identity and promote Jewish continuity in an environment that provides opportunities for meaningful cultural enrichment, physical well-being, and social, educational, and recreational experiences for individuals and families. It is a place where Jews and non-Jews of all ages and backgrounds, affiliations and practices, come together, and learn, play, and grow.

Since 2001, the Rochester Jewish Film Festival has been presenting the best contemporary Jewish-themed films from around the world to the Rochester community. The festival exists to promote awareness and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people; to strengthen community consciousness of Jewish identity, history, and culture; to provide a forum for community gatherings that allows valuable dialogue; and to create an international showcase for filmmakers whose work explores Jewish themes.