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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Hadassah Foundation RFP for Israeli Organizations

The Hadassah Foundation has just announced its RFP for Israeli organizations working to empower low-income Israeli women. We are interested in social change, gender-sensitive projects that help low-income women of all backgrounds in Israel achieve economic independence. Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded. The Foundation is particularly interested in programs that provide cutting-edge approaches to solve problems that have not been addressed previously.

Areas of interest include:
• Savings, Asset Development, and Pension Planning
• Grassroots Programs that provide resources and training
• Legal and Policy Advocacy Initiatives
• Business Development Services that help women who own businesses improve their outreach and marketing
• Workplace Discrimination
• Leadership development initiatives that increase the number of, and capacity of, women in positions of leadership.

All applications are due by 11:59 AM (ET) Thursday, July 28th.
For more information:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Grantee Spotlight: The Jewish Women's Archive's Rising Voices Fellowship

The Rising Voices Fellowship enables teen girls to use social media and blogging so they can be positioned as thought leaders in the Jewish community.  The program, which draws teen girls from across the country, includes both in-person weekend gatherings and regular on-line sessions. The girls hone their editorial skills with the help of JWA's staff as well as through a peer editing program, whereby each girl's work is edited by another member of the program. Fellowship alumna Eliana Gayle-Schneider, pictured above, explains how this JWA program has influenced her:

"JWA's Rising Voices Fellowship has played a tremendous role in shaping the Jewish feminist lens through which I now view the world. Rising Voices has taught me an immense amount, not just about feminism and Judaism, but about leadership and what it means to use writing as a tool for change.
The Rising Voices empowered cohort is truly like no other. We represent the full spectrum of the Jewish community; from modern Orthodox, to the classically Reform. Some of us go to shul, some to temple, some to synagogue, but we all go to rallies for income equality. Some of us write about the pop stars and fashion; others write about Emma Goldman and dreams of becoming Orthodox rabbis. But all of us have one thing in common: we are feminists. I am a member of an extraordinary and powerful group of young women, we are intellectual and passionate--and yes, we are feminists. Hearing one another's stories, I now understand how important it is to really own this badge of honor. To name what I have always known myself to be: a Jewish feminist.
For me and so many others, feminism and Judaism have never gone exactly hand in hand. While this is something I have tried to explore independently, the process of discussing these matters with my Rising Voices peers adds a new layer of depth. Whether in monthly webinars with the entire group, or simply texting my peer editor in Massachusetts, I feel connected to young women across the country who share my passions. The Rising Voices Fellowship bridges geographical gaps and provides an important venue for the developing young female voice. I've had the awesome  privilege of working side by side with my amazing, passionate RVF peers, digging deep and writing about the issues we care so deeply about--feminism, Judaism and finding our place in both of these worlds.
Rising Voices Fellowship is helping each of us to make a difference in so many important ways. We are a group of young women who are on the cusp of big transitions. We are en route to college, imagining our next steps in the world. Rising Voices Fellowship helps us to explore issues about our own identities as Jews and as women; providing us with the tools we will need to grow as feminists and as activists. 
The voices of teenage girls, and more specifically those of Jewish teens, are nearly invisible from the public's view. By raising our empowered teenage voices, we tackle issues from sexism to ageism. Rising Voices allows for twelve truly unique young women from all over the country to think critically about our lives, our country and our culture. The Fellowship allows for each of us to learn from one another. Although this satisfaction is certainly a remarkable result, the means for making a difference is not in the individual process of writing, but in putting our thoughts and opinions out into the world; through blogging."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shaping Future Leaders of the Jewish Community

The Hadassah Foundation was proud to be a sponsor of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America's conference last week, "Ethics, Leadership, and the Jewish Future."  The conference, which attracted more than 100 attendees, including many leading figures in the Jewish community.  The conference was part of Hartman's Created Equal Project, which includes a new curriculum that looks at the nature of leadership in the Jewish community, including the role that gender plays.  Among those attending the conference were six graduate students in Jewish communal services from schools across the country. These inaugural members of the Created Equal Graduate Students Seminar
(pictured above) have studied the Created Equal curriculum in virtual sessions over the past several months. The Foundation is currently supporting the Created Equal Project, including the program for graduate students.    

Recognition for a Job Well Done!

Our grantee, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, received a high honor from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel:  it was recently awarded their Human Rights Award, in memory of Emil Grunzweig.  This award was in appreciation of their 25 years of dedicated work to combat sexual violence, and for their advocacy work on behalf of its victims.  Above, the ARCCI staff receiving the award.

Mazel tov! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

14 Jewish Women's Funds = Force for Change

The Hadassah Foundation joined 13 other Jewish women's funds from the U.S. and Israel for the annual Force for Change conference this week. More than 50 women, representing lay and professional leaders from the 14 funds, met to discuss common strategies. On deck: a collaborative grant, with contributions from many of the funds in attendance, to support women in Israel.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Hadassah Foundation Awards $365,000 in Grants to Israeli Organizations

The Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the United States, is excited to announce it has given $365,000 in grants to 21 Israeli organizations that enhance economic opportunities for women in Israel.


The Foundation is a philanthropic pioneer in the fields of improving economic security for low-income Israeli women and developing leadership and self-esteem programs for adolescent Jewish girls and young women in the United States. Since 2000, approximately $7.1 million has been awarded to more than 80 nonprofit organizations.


Last year, the Foundation made grants totaling $450,000—it awarded $300,000 to 20 Israeli organizations which work to support Israeli women from all walks of life, as well as $150,000 to five organizations in the United States as part of its initiative to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.


Suzanne Offit, Chair of the Foundation, said, "We are proud to partner with such outstanding organizations that are making a real difference in the lives of Israeli women."


In addition to five first-time grantees, the Foundation also awarded "sustaining" grants for the fourth consecutive year. These grants provide general operating support to four long-term grantees that have played a particularly critical role in promoting the economic security of women in Israel.


The 2016 grants were awarded to the following organizations: 


Legal Aid


  • Bar Ilan University, The Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Provides legal counsel to women seeking a divorce. It works proactively to improve policy and practice by educating future family lawyers to safeguard women's rights and advocating for changes in Israeli family law.


  • Center for Women's Justice, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Pursues precedent-setting litigation and legal advocacy on behalf of women who have suffered unjust treatment, discrimination, or whose basic human rights have been infringed upon when seeking a divorce.


  • Itach-Maaki—Women Lawyers for Social Justice, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Public interest law organization working on behalf of low-income Israeli women. Itach helps women to file employment-related lawsuits and form peer support groups and educates the public about issues affecting women. 


Policy Education and Coalition Building


  • Isha L'Isha, $15,000:  For an advocacy project that has two goals: to change laws and policies so as to increase the participation and success rate of women-owned businesses in tenders issued by the Haifa Municipality, and to advocate for the direct employment of women in custodial jobs for that municipality, rather than employing them as contractors through an outside employment agency, as is currently the case. 


  • New Israel Fund, Shatil, $15,000: Through the Promoting Equal Employment Opportunities for Female Subcontracted Workers program, Shatil will engage in media campaigns, lobbying and grassroots efforts to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of women employed indirectly throughout Israel—70% of all contract workers are female--are granted full and equal employment opportunities.


  • Yedid, $8,000: Single Mothers for Change project aims to provide greater economic security for low-income single mothers. Working with a network of more than 800 low-income single female parents, YEDID will educate and advocate for public policies to improve the economic security of single parents and their children, focusing specifically on Israel's child-support law.


Workplace Discrimination


  • The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, $25,000: Enhancing Security in the Workplace project will enable it to implement an anti-sexual harassment code at several leading Israeli employers, with the goal of making this a model program for other Israeli workplaces.


  • Merchavim, $15,000: Merchavim's Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools Initiative places Arab Israelis trained as teachers—the vast majority of whom are female—in Jewish Israeli schools. This program aims to reduce the high level of unemployment of female teachers in the Arab sector, address a shortage of teachers in Jewish Israeli schools, and promote intergroup relations.



Employment Conditions of Low-Income Women


  • Kav LaOved—Worker's Hotline, $15,000: Kav LaOved received funds to improve working Arab women's employment and living conditions in the Nazareth region by providing individual legal assistance and consultations and offering workshops and distributing information to its target population. The program focus on women who are not being paid the legal minimum wage, as well as those employed in education, the largest single sector that employs Arab women.


  • Workers' Advice Center—Ma'an, $25,000: Arab Women in Agriculture program enables Arab Israeli women who live in the periphery to take on agricultural work under improved circumstances—including guaranteed (and properly documented) pay at at least the legal minimum wage.



Asset Building


  • Economic Empowerment for Women, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Promotes asset development among low-income women who manage microenterprises, based on the U.S. model of the Individual Development Account. 


Business Training & Entrepreneurship


  • Latet, $25,000: The program Latet Atid ("to give a future") helps women with incomes near the poverty line create or expand micro businesses. It provides business training to these burgeoning entrepreneurs while also giving them access to microloans, as part of an arrangement it has with Leumi Bank. 


  • Microfy, $18,000: Microfy, which works with women in South Tel Aviv to develop their own businesses, received a grant to create a women's business forum for nascent business owners, particularly those who have never run a business before and who lack access to many traditional business resources.           


  • PresenTense, $24,000: PresenTense received funds for its Yazamiot Venture Accelerator, an eight-month program that will train 15-20 ultra-Orthodox women entrepreneurs to launch small or social businesses, or grow existing ones.


Vocational Training and Job Placement


  • The Israel Women's Network, $25,000: Towards Integrating Women in the Male Trades project aims to close the gender gap which exists in the Israeli workforce in general, and in mid-level professional trades in particular, by integrating women into positions typically defined as "male trades," such as electricians, carpenters, drivers, and more.


  • The National Council of Jewish Women Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University, $25,000: Training Haredi Women for the Workforce as Educators in the Pre-School Sector program will enable these women to bring much-needed income into their large, lower-income homes.


  • Turning the Tables, $20,000: This organization trains women who are attempting to exit prostitution for jobs in the fashion sector.       


  • Tishreen, $25,000: Tishreen, working with Na'amat, and local governmental and non-profit partners, will prepare 25 Arab Israeli women from the Southern Triangle region to enter the job market. 


  • Women's Spirit, $15,000: Women's Spirit received support for Seeds of Growth, their core program, which will provide 400 women victims of violence of prime working age (20-60) with tools and support to reintegrate successfully in the employment world and achieve financial independence.


Leadership Development


  • Jasmine, $25,000:  Jasmine received funds for its Izun (Balance) Project, which will train 20 female Israeli business leaders to serve as board members on corporate, public, and non -profit boards.


  • WEPOWER, $25,000: Nonpartisan organization that works with women who are considering a run for public office, as well as train those who have already been elected.  WEPOWER received funds for two programs in the Galilee region: its "ATIDOT" (women of the future) program will train younger women leaders for political leadership, and its "Women for Future Leadership" program will train more experienced women who are active in their community to take on leadership roles in their locality. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Foundation Grantee Wins Fight for Israeli Woman Trying to Prove her Jewish Status

The Center for Women's Justice (CWJ), a Foundation grantee, has won a significant victory for an Israeli woman whose status as a Jew was questioned by the rabbinical authorities.  Their client's marriage application turned into a nightmare for two generations when a District Rabbinic Court "revoked" her mother's conversion to Judaism, 29 years after the fact--thus rendering their as client non-Jewish as well, and unable to marry a fellow Jew in Israel.  CWJ appealed the decision to the High Rabbinic Court. In a hearing yesterday, CWJ successfully challenged the lower court's decision. The tribunal of High Rabbinic Court judges, headed by Rabbi David Lau, accepted CWJ's appeal and declared that the client, and her mother, were Jewish!

"Today we can smile. Sarit came into the rabbinical court as a gentile and left with her Jewish status reinstated," said CWJ attorney Nitzan Caspi-Shiloni. 

Although their client's case has been resolved, the policy of investigating a convert's lifestyle when they register to marry or divorce has not changed. Continues Nitzan, "Converts may still have trouble sleeping at night out of concern that, at any time, the religious establishment can invalidate their Jewishness."