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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."

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Reason to Kvell: JWA's Rising Voices Fellowship Graduation Ceremony

I had the honor of speaking to the next generation of Jewish women leaders at Sunday's Graduation Ceremony for the Rising Voices Fellowship, a program of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) that is supported by the Hadassah Foundation, where I serve as a Board member.

 

Launched in 2013, the JWA's Rising Voices Fellowship (www.jwa.org/risingvoices) is a national program for female-identified teens in 10th-12th grades who have an interest in feminism, Judaism, social justice, and writing. The Fellowship teaches teens how to develop authentic voices, strengthen their leadership through writing, and influence important conversations in the Jewish community.

 

I found this year's cohort to be sophisticated, intelligent, and thought-provoking leaders. This group came from New York, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. I was particularly impressed with their discussions about the female role models in their lives (including their mothers and grandmothers, and female rabbis and cantors) and the impact these women had on shaping the thoughts of these young women regarding feminism, activism and leadership. It's clear to me that this group will be influential feminist leaders at their colleges and beyond.

 

JWA is a national organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women. JWA's website, jwa.org, is the world's largest collection of information about Jewish women, drawing more than 1.6 million visitors a year from all over the world. JWA also hosts public programs, sparks conversations through its podcast and blog and on social media, offers acclaimed educational programs, and is a leader among feminist, Jewish, and historical organizations. I am proud to be a former Board member and Treasurer of JWA; I currently serve on its Finance and Investment Committees.

 

I'm so proud of the girls I met, and am honored to serve on the Board of the Hadassah Foundation.


--Roz Garber Toledano

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Meet Our New Board Members!

The latest cohort of outstanding women to join our Board include:

Livia Asher, from Madison, WI, is a financial services professional recently retired from a Wall Street career in which she was a stock analyst for First Boston and Merrill Lynch and a portfolio manager for a variety of mutual funds at several financial management firms, including Madison Investment Advisors; CUNA Mutual Group/Members Capital Advisors; Mitsubishi Trust NY; and Allianz of America.  She currently or recently served in a variety of board leadership roles for many local and national organizations including: Hadassah Madison; Jewish Federation of Madison, where she received its Volunteer Service Award; Jewish Social Services; and her local synagogue, Beth Israel Center.  She has a BA from Queens College and an MBA from Long Island University.

Renee Evans, of Milton, GA, has had a long career as an educator in a variety of settings, including at Florida State University, and in the Georgia, Florida, and Texas school systems. She has also worked as a quality control laboratory analysis specialist, as a family service counselor, as an author, and as a business owner.   She is an active volunteer with the Jewish Federation of North America Israel and Overseas National Board, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lion of Judah, the Republican Party, Friends of the IDF, the JDC, the AJC, and is an Historic Royal Palaces Patron.  She is a graduate of Florida State University.

Tracey Spiegelman, of Coral Gables, FL, works in the field of luxury residential real estate.   She was a founding member and served as president of the Hadassah Chavurot Chapter in Miami and was a participant in the Young Leaders Mission in 1999.  She also serves as a board member of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (GMJF), chairs the Women's Amutot Initiative, and in 2013, was honored as the recipient of the Stanley C. Myers Presidents' Leadership Award by the GMJF. She serves on the Executive Board of Temple Beth Am as the Vice President of Religious Life. She is also involved with the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, Jewish Community Services, Shalom Bayit, Teach for America, United Way of Miami Women's Initiative and Tocqueville Society and the Honey Shine Mentoring Program. She is a graduate of Florida International University.

Welcome aboard!  We look forward to welcoming them in person at our next Board meeting, in June.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Victory Against Gender Segregation in Israel

The Israel Women's Network, a Foundation grantee, won an important court victory last week:  Israel's Labor Court ruled that the state is not allowed to hold a gender-segregated training course for civil servants.

The court accepted the IWN's position that a training program intended exclusively for male civil servants is a discriminatory practice, even if it serves an important purpose of integrating the Ultra-Orthodox population in the civil service in Israel. The court ordered that if at least 10 women will not be enrolled in the course, it will be discontinued. The IWN claimed that when the state conducts a segregated course, it accepts and institutionalizes gender segregation that cannot be accepted in a democratic state. 


IWN director and attorney Michal Gera Margaliot said the court had delivered a clear message that gender separation in civil service was prohibited.

"You cannot take us backwards by decades, and acceptance for employment cannot be done according to gender," she said. "It would be better for the state to integrate haredi men and women in the civil service and not lead toward the ejection of women from the public domain and the workforce."



 


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

She's Running for Mayor!

Galit Shaul, CEO of the Rackman Center, a Hadassah Foundation grantee, is running for mayor of the Emek Hefer Regional Council in Israel!  In an op-ed, Shaul says that she was inspired by the #MeToo movement in the US, which quickly became a social movement in Israel, too.  

The Hadassah Foundation is proud investor in programs that empower women and girls in Israel and in the United States--and is thrilled to see such a capable woman whom we have supported seek out a position of power!
 

You can read Shaul's piece (in English) here.



The Future of Feminist Funding in Israel

Hamutal Gouri, the outgoing director of the Dafna Foundation--and a long-time partner with the Hadassah Foundation--penned a must-read essay in ejewishphilanthropy.com about the future of funding for feminist activities in Israel.  She also discusses the feminist conference held in Israel last month, which was organized by Dafna and the National Council of Jewish Women, and which was attended by the Hadassah Foundation.

You can read the piece here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Sexual Harassment at the UN

Orit Sulitzeanu (above, center), executive director of our grantee, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, participated in a panel at the United Nations today about sexual harassment within the U.N. itself. It was painfully clear, based on statements from U.N. personnel, that the Hadassah Foundation-supported project, to create a workable anti-sexual harassment code in the workplace, could make a real difference there.