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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Meet the 2018 Tannenbaum Prize Winner!

The Hadassah Foundation has awarded the 2018 Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize to Michal Gera Margaliot, Executive Director of the Israel Women's Network (IWN) in Tel Aviv. The Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize recognizes emerging professionals who have made innovative contributions to advance the status of women and girls in Israel and the United States. Awardees demonstrate a high degree of talent, commitment, and accomplishment in their work. The prize honors Bernice S. Tannenbaum, z''l, for her lifetime of service to the Jewish People; the State of Israel; and Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.


Margaliot, pictured above, was awarded the prize for her work with IWN, where, as executive director since 2016, she has significantly increased the organization's media presence and influenced public debate about the status of women in Israeli society. Under her leadership, the IWN has established a network for the different feminist groups in Israel, forged numerous partnerships with governmental agencies, created a hotline that provides legal aid to ultra-Orthodox working women, and advocated for feminist employment policies and practices.


Earlier in her career, Margaliot was the parliamentary advisor to Knesset Member Merav Michaeli, and served as her chief of staff when Michaeli was the opposition whip. This experience, along with her LL.B and LL.M from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has enabled her to expand IWN's advancement of policy and legislation in the Knesset and in government ministries.


"I am humbled and honored to be recognized by a veteran and leading organization, the Hadassah Foundation, and in honor of a woman like Bernice Tannenbaum," said Margaliot. "Having the Hadassah Foundation recognize the work we are doing in Israel is most important for us, as we face constant attacks on women rights through gender segregation and exclusion of women from public spheres. Our long partnership is truly empowering and allows us to continue striving and fighting for equality for all women in Israel." 

Established in 1984, the Israel Women's Network (IWN) is a nonpartisan civil society organization working to advance the status of women in Israel by promoting equality and diversity via a range of innovative projects and programs that target change on a policy level. The IWN is responsible for some of the most prominent and precedent-setting gains towards women's equality in Israel over the years, including: admittance of women into the Israel's Air Force; enforcing women's representation in public companies' directorates; updating sexual harassment laws; extending maternity leave for working mothers; delaying the extension of women's retirement age; establishing a National Committee for the Advancement of Women in the Israeli Knesset; and an Israeli Supreme Court decision that shifted the burden of proof from employee to employer in wage-gap discrimination cases.

 "Michal Gera Margaliot is an outstanding leader in the Israeli feminist movement," said Julie Morris, chair of the Hadassah Foundation.  "We are excited to honor her achievements to-date, and feel she has the potential to have an even greater impact on Israeli society."

The Prize provides $500 in general operating support to the IWN, as well as $2,500 to further Margaliot's professional development.  Margaliot will use her Prize to fund her communication skills to increase the visibility of the IWN and the status of Israeli women to a non-Israeli public and the English-speaking media.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Win for Israeli Women in Israel's Rabbinic Court System

The Rackman Center, a Foundation grantee, has won a two-year old battle against Israel's rabbinic court system. Thanks to the efforts of the Rackman Center, a woman was appointed to serve as a judicial assistant in an Israeli rabbinic court — one of the most senior positions in the Orthodox-run court system.

Shira Ben-Eli was appointed to her position on the Jerusalem District Labor Court earlier this month. In this role, she will have close contact with the court's decision making process.

Nearly two years ago, the Rackman Center filed a lawsuit against the Civil Service Commission and the rabbinical courts administration, calling for equality in Israel's rabbinical courts, particularly for non-rabbinic positions.  As a result of their suit, the requirement that a judicial assistant have [Orthodox] rabbinic ordination or qualification as a dayan, a rabbinic judge--both of which are limited to men in Israel--ultimately was lifted.

Read more about the victory here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Grantee Profile: ITWorks

ITWorks is an Israeli organization dedicated to creating opportunities in Israel's booming hi-tech industry for those outside of the economic mainstream.  It was established in 2006 by Ifat Baron (a former winner of the Foundation's Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize!) who wanted to address the mismatch between the tech industry, and its ever-expanding need for employees, and those who have been left behind.  ITWorks offers training programs for in-demand positions in hi-tech, and uses its ties to approximately 130 partner employers to place its program graduates.  One key element of their programs: they do not start a new training program unless there is a demonstrated interest by the government to take it to scale after being piloted by ITWorks.  Over the years, 5,000 people have benefited from their training programs, and 3,500 have found meaningful employment—83% of whom have stayed on the job for more than a year.

The Foundation's current grant to ITWorks is for several training programs that target low-income single mothers.  ITWorks has created courses for them to work in payroll accounting and human resources in hi-tech firms, providing these women with market-ready skills.  They then work with companies to create positions that enable these women to balance employment with their child-rearing responsibilities.  Pictured above: the latest cohort of single mothers to graduate from their payroll accounting class—as of graduation, several had already passed an accounting industry exam, and were on their way to being placed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Foundation Alum "Shares the WOW"

Donna Orender, a Foundation Board alum, just released a new book: "WOWsdom! The Girl's Guide to the Positive and the Possible."  The book contains letters from men and women  from all walks of life to their younger selves, where they share their hard-earned wisdom.  Donna has created a national organization that has created curriculum for girls' groups based on this material--and is encouraging everyone to share the book (a.k.a. "share the WOW") with the young women in their lives. Mazel tov, Donna!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Good to See You Again! Hadassah Foundation Hosts Alumnae Luncheon

Earlier this month, the Foundation hosted its first-ever luncheon for its Board alumnae, as part of its "Chai Year" celebration of 18 years of grant making.  Our dedicated Board members (pictured above, and alumnae, top) are permitted to serve for a maximum of six years--which means we have a powerful collection of alumnae! The luncheon was a great opportunity to renew old friendships and create new ones, all while learning about the current work of the Foundation. A highlight of the gathering was a presentation by Prof. Yifat Bitton, the founder, chairperson, and senior attorney at Tmura – The Israeli Antidiscrimination Center, which fights for the rights of women who have suffered sexual, physical, and economic abuse; she is also a professor at the Striks School of Law at the College of Management in Israel.  Prof. Bitton, a former winner of the Foundation's Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize, is also a two-time nominee for the Israel's Supreme Court.    

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hadassah Foundation Grantees in the 2018 Slingshot Fund Guide

Congratulations to the seven current and former Hadassah Foundation grantees included in the 2018 edition of the Slingshot Fund Guide!  The annual guide highlights the most innovative organizations in the Jewish community, and provides additional visibility to these nonprofits and the causes they support.  The six Foundation-affiliated groups in the national edition of the guide are:  Hazon, jGirls Magazine, Keshet, Mayyim Hayim Living Waters Community Mikveh, Moving Traditions, Yeshivat Maharat.  Another grantee, AVODAH, was cited in a separate guide that highlighted outstanding Chicago-based groups.  Mazel tov!  The guides can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Grantee Profile: Tishreen

The Tishreen Association, which works with youth and women in the southern Triangle region of Israel, is opening up a world of opportunity for Arab-Israeli women who are participating in the Foundation-funded Women's Economic Empowerment program.

The Triangle--a concentration of Israeli-Arab towns in the central part of the state—is not far, as the crow flies, from several major population centers. But for many residents of these town, and in particular, for the women, these cities, and the economic opportunities that they offer, might as well be on another continent.  Many of these women have never worked outside the home, due to family obligations, local cultural norms, and poor public transportation. In addition, many lack the Hebrew language skills that are necessary for employment.  To compound matters, local opportunities for jobs are quite limited—the area, which has a poor educational infrastructure and a high crime rate, also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

For the past two years, the Hadassah Foundation has supported Tishreen's efforts (in partnership with Naamat, the largest women's organization in Israel) to provide job-readiness skills, basic computer skills, and Hebrew language instruction to local women. They also place the women in jobs—including as cashiers, cleaners and day care workers—in both Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli towns.  Graduates of the program remain connected and supported via an employment club, which includes those seeking jobs as well as those who have already been placed.

When the Hadassah Foundation visited the program last year (pictured above), Board members were moved by the first-hand testimonies of women who said that the program provided them with a sense of agency and hope for a better future.

In an evaluation of the program, one of the participants told Tishreen:  "This course it is the best thing that has happened to us.  We are productive and we, and those in our lives, notice that we are gradually developing and becoming more capable."