Alexis Dalmat Cohen, Rabbi Mordy Birnbaum, Rachel Wasserman, Bobby Harris and Garrett Colvin are five of the 25 nonprofit innovators the AJT is recognizing.

Alexis Dalmat Cohen, Rabbi Mordy Birnbaum, Rachel Wasserman, Bobby Harris and Garrett Colvin are five of the 25 nonprofit innovators the AJT is recognizing.

This issue of the Atlanta Jewish Times marks the first of what we hope will be an annual look at the state of the art in Jewish nonprofit groups, viewed through the lens of innovative approaches by individuals to achieve their goals.

On this and the following pages you will find 25 people who are working in the Jewish community for nonprofit organizations. Some of them are working with long-established synagogues. Others are flying solo or nearly so with startup groups.

For some, innovation involves the people they work with. Others are using creative approaches in pursuit of longtime Jewish communal goals. Still others are using new ways to raise the money their organizations need.

What’s important to understand is that this list is not a Top 25. Not only are we not ranking the innovators on the list — the only order to the list is alphabetical — but we also are not claiming that these 25 people are better, more creative or more valuable to the community than any number of others we considered for the list. These 25 people are outstanding examples of the creativity, energy and outside-the-box thinking the Jewish community needs to confront the challenges of the 21st century, but they are not the only or necessarily the best examples.

We will be surprised, impressed and a bit disappointed if anyone who reads this issue recognizes all 25 people. One of our goals in creating the final list was to draw from the breadth and depth of the community to highlight individuals whom many in Jewish Atlanta don’t yet know.

At the same time, we will be stunned and extremely disappointed if you read through the list and don’t quickly think of one or more people whose absence you consider to be a shocking oversight. We have several people in mind whom we expected to be on the list, but once we decided to cut off the list at 25 names, we knew many worthy people would be omitted.

As we said, we hope to make this an annual list because the community does not stand still, and its need and opportunity for innovation are always growing and changing. We’re happy to get started on the 2016 list right away, so if you know of someone we overlooked, let us know.

Send an email with your suggestions to Editor Michael Jacobs at mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com. Include a few sentences on why the person or people you are nominating should be recognized for innovation in the Jewish nonprofit world. And we’ll make next year’s list another one the community can be proud of.

This year’s list (click on a name to read more about that person):

All profiles written by Zach Itzkovitz

Next: Rabbi Patrick Aleph Beaulier