Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Seeking Nominees for the Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize!

Can you help the Hadassah Foundation identify an amazing emerging feminist leader?

The Hadassah Foundation will be awarding its annual Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize on June 8th, and we need your help soliciting applications for the Prize. As in previous years, the Prize will be awarded to an emerging leader serving Jewish girls and young women in the U.S., or to an emerging leader in the field of women's economic empowerment in Israel; we will accept nominations from current/former Foundation grantees as well as from organizations that have not received a grant from us to-date. Ideally, we are looking for someone with less than about 15 years of professional experience.

All (electronic-only) applications are due by Monday, February 2nd, 2015. More information can be found here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shatil Meets the Hadassah Foundation Board

We had a special visitor at the Hadassah Foundation's Board Meeting last week--Naomi Schacter (pictured, at center, back row), Shatil's associate director, came by to meet the Board and talk about the challenges faced by women in Israel. We covered a broad set of issues--from the difficulties faced by women who want to marry and divorce free of religious coercion, to the challenges faced by contract workers. Thanks, Naomi, for a fascinating talk!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Shopping for a Good Cause--Foundation Event at the New Rebecca Minkoff Store

Last night, friends of the Hadassah Foundation shopped with a purpose at a great event at the new Rebecca Minkoff store in Soho! We got to view Rebecca's latest designs, and a portion of all sales were donated to the Foundation. Many thanks to Rebecca Minkoff, pictured above, alongside her aunt, Foundation Board Member Debbie Minkoff, for opening her store to us, and for even signing some purses! More pictures from the event can be viewed here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Current and Former Hadassah Foundation Grantees in #Slingshot1415!

We are very excited to announce that 10 current and former Hadassah Foundation grantees have been cited as being among the most innovative organizations in the Jewish community in the latest edition of the Slingshot Guide!

Current grantee AVODAH was once again on its national list of the most innovative groups; past grantees Hazon, Keshet, Mayim Hayim, Moving Traditions, and Yeshivat Maharat also made the list. Like last year, Slingshot once lifted up the accomplishments of feminist groups for its separate Women and Girls supplement. Past grantees the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Lillith Magazine, and Shalom Bayit were named to this list.

Congrats to them all!

A full list of all the organizations in the Slingshot 14-15 guide, including the Women and Girls supplement, can be found here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shatil Visits the Hadassah Foundation

Today, we had the good fortune to meet with Foundation grantee New Israel Fund--Shatil.  Naomi Schacter, the associate director of Shatil (above, left) told us about the progress of a Foundation-funded initative to convince the Israeli government to support local, women's cooking cooperatives as the providers of  school lunches in poor communities. Several years ago, the government began to pay for hot school lunches in the "periphery." Shatil and its allies are working to ensure that local women get their fair share of these government contracts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CWJ Fighting for Rights of Lesbian Seeking Divorce

The Center for Women's Justice, a Hadassah Foundation grantee in Jerusalem, is reporting that a rabbinic court in Israel is making a women's get (a religious divorce) contingent on the woman, who is attempting to divorce a man, keeping her children away from her female partner.  Civil divorce, like civil marriage, is not an option in Israel. 
Read about the case here:  
Rabbinic court bars woman from introducing her children to female partner

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Hadassah Foundation's 2014 Grants

We are excited to announce the full list of grants that the Hadassah Foundation has made in 2014! With this latest set of grants, we have awarded approximately $6.25 million to nearly 75 organizations in Israel and the United States since 2000.

This year, we made grants totaling $360,000 to 22 organizations in Israel and the United States that empower girls and women. We awarded $240,000 to 18 Israeli organizations that are empowering Israeli women from all walks of life, as well as $120,000 to four organizations in the United States as part of our new initiative to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.

In addition to supporting eight first-time grantees, the Foundation also awarded “sustaining” grants for the second consecutive year. These grants provide general operating support to four long-term grantees which have played a particularly critical role in supporting the economic empowerment of women in Israel.

The 2014 grants were awarded to the following organizations:


Legal Aid

Bar Ilan University, The Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant)
The Rackman Center 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)
The Center 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)
Itach-Maaki is a 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.

Tmura - The Israeli Antidiscrimination Center, $20,000
The Reclaiming Feminine Justice: Understanding and Combating Economic Violence program aims to make known and reduce the instances of economic violence that occur in Israel by using law reform and legal action against the perpetrators of this little known form of abuse.

Yedid, $5,000
The Making It Work: Empowering Low-Income Working Women project helps enforce and improve labor laws affecting women in Israel. Yedid proactively reaches women in abusive workplaces and helps them seek enforcement of labor laws.
Policy Education and Coalition Building

New Israel Fund, Shatil, $10,000
Toward Sustenance: Women Establish Social Businesses fosters policies, regulations and practices more conducive to the advancement of women’s microfinance initiatives, with a focus on catering enterprises that provide meals to schoolchildren in poor regions.

Van Leer Jerusalem Institute - The Center for the Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere, $18,000
Working in concert with a range of women’s group in Israel, the Center has created a “Gender Index,” a first-of-its kind, quantitative, and up-to-date index which aims to illustrate and monitor the status of diverse women and gender issues in Israel from a vast range of fields.

Asset Building

Adva Center, $18,000
The Adva Center will produce several short videos based on its guidebook for Israeli women called “What Women Need to Know about Saving for Retirement.”

Economic Empowerment for Women, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant)
Economic Empowerment for Women 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, $20,000
The Latet Atid program (“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.

Sidreh, $17,500
The Socio-Economic Development of Bedouin Women in the Negev project improves the socio-economic status of Bedouin women via financial literacy classes and small business development services. The grant also supports the production of the only feminist Arabic-language newspaper serving this community.

Vocational Training and Job Placement

Jerusalem Intercultural Center, $20,000
The Improving Health Care in East Jerusalem through Training Women Paramedical Professionals project prepares East Jerusalem residents trained in paramedical professional fields at universities in the West Bank and Jordan to pass Israeli Ministry of Health certification and competency exams so they can work in their chosen fields at health institutions in East Jerusalem, many of which suffer from staffing shortages.

Olim Beyahad, $9,000
Olim Beyahad assists Ethiopian Israeli university graduates ages 21-40 in finding suitable jobs at the forefront of Israel’s workforce, while providing them with practical skills that enable them to gain employment, and ensure long-term vocational success. The Foundation is supporting a networking and enrichment program for female participants in the program.

Women’s Spirit, $7,500
Women’s Spirit works to promote economic independence for women who are victims of domestic violence. Its extensive network of volunteers provides mentoring, access to jobs, and hands-on coaching in the world of work to clients.

The National Council of Jewish Women Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University, $20,000
The 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, $15,000
This organization trains women who are attempting to exit prostitution for jobs in the fashion sector.
Women Against Violence, $15,000 This Arab-Israeli feminist organization, based in Nazareth, received funds for its Women and Employment program, which is designed to improve job prospects for Israeli-Arab women with college/university degrees.

Leadership Development

WEPOWER, $25,000
WEPOWER, a nonpartisan organization, works with women who are considering a run for public office, as well as train those who have already been elected. The College for Women in Politics in the Negev trains a cohort of women who have just been elected to municipal governments/city councils in the Beersheva region, to help them better understand issues and budgets from a gender perspective.

United States

Leadership Development

AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, $28,000
AVODAH Women Leading Together (AWLT) is a career and leadership development program for early career AVODAH alumnae (ages 25-30) that will enable participants to develop a career and leadership strategy, engage in career and leadership coaching, and participate in immersive long-term small group peer coaching.

Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, $33,000
The JCRC’s Long Island office will create the Girls LEAD program, leadership development program for Jewish, female teens from the Five Towns community. Working in concert with the JCC of the Greater Five Towns, and the Women’s Fund of Long Island, this program will develop the teens’ personal leadership skills, and strengthen their leadership abilities through consensus building, philanthropy and volunteerism as they learn about, and select, a local organization for a grant, and then provide hands-on service to the organization.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego, $35,000
The JFS of San Diego’s Girls Give Back program educates Jewish girls from the area about gender inequality, develops concrete leadership skills, and empowers young women to actively engage in the San Diego community through ongoing volunteer work and service learning projects.

UCLA Hillel, $24,000
UCLA’s Esther Fellowship will poise undergraduate women for leadership on campus, and help them serve as leaders and role models for other women. The program includes a Jewishly-infused curriculum, and students will meet with female leaders from the local Jewish community.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jewish Women of Tomorrow at the Hadassah Convention

The Hadassah Foundation was excited to organize a session about Jewish women of tomorrow at the Hadassah national convention in Las Vegas last week!  Our fabulous panel was moderated by Deborah Meyer, the director of our former grantee, Moving Traditions (pictured on the left); Talya Husbands-Hankin, a consultant to another former grantee, Keshet (pictured second from right) was also on the panel.  Other session participants included a student at the local Jewish day school, and a member of the Hillel board at UNLV. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hadassah Foundation at Hadassah's National Convention

The Hadassah Foundation is having a good showing at Hadassah's national convention in Las Vegas! Today, Board Member Lonye Rasch (center, above) and Director Rabbi Ellen Flax (to Lonye's left) spoke at a session about how Hadassah empowers women around the world, with a focus on the Foundation's grant making in Israel.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Breakthrough for Gender Auditing in Israel

Our grantee, the Adva Center, reports this good news:

A campaign begun 10 years ago by the Adva Center to convince the Israel Finance Ministry that it should undertake a gender audit of the national budget, for the purpose of increasing gender equality, as well as budget transparency and efficiency, saw a breakthrough in October 2013, when the Minister of Finance appointed a national committee to examine that very possibility. The Adva Center provided professional consulting services to the committee.

On June 25, 2014, another milestone was reached, when the committee submitted its interim report. The Committee recommended that government ministries undertake gender audits of their own expenditures, and that the State Revenues Authority undertake a gender audit of state revenues, beginning with the national budget for fiscal 2015.

Gender mainstreaming, which includes gender auditing of budgets, is a strategy for improving the status of women in society. It involves examining whether a particular program or budget, which is assumed to be gender neutral, actually has a differential effect on women and men, then changing the program or budget so that it contributes to greater gender equality.

Adva Center brought the strategy of gender mainstreaming to Israel in 2004, when it created the Women's Budget Forum, a coalition of 30 women's and human rights organizations which began to work for women's fair share of government spending. This strategy is recommended by the European Union and has been implemented in many European countries, including those of Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and Spain. (It is also a strategy that was funded by the Hadassah Foundation.)

The Committee for Gender Auditing the National Budget of Israel delivered its interim report in late June, at the Knesset, at a meeting of the Knesset Committee for Promotion of the Status of Women, chaired by MK Dr. Aliza Lavie. The Committee recommended that government ministries undertake gender audits of their own expenditures, and that the State Revenues Authority undertake a gender audit of state revenues, beginning with the budget for fiscal 2015. The Committee also instructed the Budget Department of the Finance Ministry and the Office of the Prime Minister to prepare a Gender Audit Guide. The Adva Center was informed that its gender experts will be involved in creation of the Guide. Finally, the Committee recommended that a gender audit be included in the official, published budget book of each government ministry.

Hadassah Foundation Seeking Proposals for the Empowerment of Israeli Women

The Hadassah Foundation has issued a Request for Proposals for Israeli organizations working to help low-income women in Israel achieve economic independence. Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded for programs that provide training in savings, asset development, and pension planning for women; grassroots resources and training for women; legal and policy advocacy; business development services that help women who own businesses improve their outreach and marketing; and leadership development initiatives that increase the number and capacity of women in positions of leadership. The foundation rarely funds entrepreneurship or financial planning programs that take place in only one location, and rarely invests directly in a cooperative or other business. To be eligible, organizations must have amutah or mossad tziburi status.

For complete program guidelines, information about previous grant recipients, and application instructions, visit the Hadassah Foundation website. All applications are due by July 30, 2014.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yifat Bitton is 2014 Tannenbaum Prize Awardee!

The Hadassah Foundation is thrilled to announce that Dr. 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, has been named this year's winner of the Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize!  Tmura is a two-time grantee of the Foundation; it is currently receiving funds for a project to combat economic abuse against women in Israel.

You can read all about Dr. Bitton's achievements at ow.ly/xAckN.

Mazel tov to Dr. Bitton and to Tmura!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Director of Yedid Wins Rappaport Prize

Last week, the Hadassah Foundation was excited to host Sari Revkin (pictured above, on the left), the Executive Director of Yedid,  one our grantees.
But the excitement extended beyond hearing about the latest developments at the Jerusalem-based Yedid, which, through a Foundation grant, is helping women assert their economic rights in Israel.  This spring, Sari was awarded the "Women Change-Maker" prize by The Rappaport Family Trust and La'Isha Magazine, a 120,000 Israeli Shekel award (approximately $35,000) for a woman who has created change in the public, social, or economic sphere in Israel.

Under her leadership, Yedid has assisted thousands of families from low-income and other  vulnerable populations to break free from the cycle of poverty, access their rights, and secure their futures in Israel.
Mazel tov!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jewish Women's Funds Gather for Force for Change

More than a dozen Jewish women's funds from across the country, as well as the Dafna Fund from Israel, gathered together to discuss communalities and how they can better work together.  Many of our conversations focussed on how we can work together to further women's leadership in the Jewish community.  The Hadassah Foundation's founding chair, Barbara Dobkin, has generously supported this gathering for many years, believing there is greater power in the groups working together.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Shutafot Exhibit Showcases Economic Inequality for Israeli Women

Shutafot, a coalition comprised of some of the leading feminist organizations in Israel, is "drawing" attention to economic inequality.  This Foundation grantee recently ran a poster competition to illustrate this issue, and a panel of experts selected the finalists and semi-finalists, all of which are currently on display at the upscale Dizengoff shopping center in Tel Aviv. Ronit Piso, who directs the coalition, is pictured above, next to the posters on display at the shopping mall. Hear Ronit talk about her favorite poster in the exhibition here. The Hadassah Foundation supports Shutafot via the Jewish Women's Collaborative International Fund, a coalition of 17 Jewish women's foundations and funds in the U.S. and Israel.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hadassah Foundation and Hadassah Leadership Fellows Visit Van Leer Institute

Hadassah's Leadership Fellows (pictured above)--Hadassah new program for younger women with leadership potential--today visited the Van Leer Institute, a Hadassah Foundation grantee.  The Institute's Naomi Chazan described their gender index, which is supported by the Foundation and measures gender inequality in many areas in Israel.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making Sense of Israel's Pension System

Barbara Swirski, the director of the Tel Aviv-based think- and action-tank, the Adva Center, has long championed work that improves the economic gender imbalance in Israel. On the computer screen next to Barbara, above, is the prototype of a Hadassah Foundation-funded guide for women trying to make sense of Israel's pension system--there is no other source of unbiased information for women. After the guide is completed, Adva is using Foundation funds to create a series of animated films about women and pension issues. This is work is particularly important because Israel created a 401k-style pension program for virtually all workers several years ago. Women, who are disproportionately likely to engage in low-wage and contract work, have fewer viable investing choices available to them than full time and well-paid workers.

Fighting for the Rights of Israeli Preschool Teachers

The Hadassah Foundation is proud of its long partnership with the Israeli feminist legal group Itach-Maaki.  Among its many priorities is fighting for the rights of ultra-Orthodox preschool teachers, who are grossly underpaid.  Their director, Keren Shemesh-Perlmutter, is pictured above.

Giving Career Alternatives to Women Exiting Prostitution

Turning the Tables is a Tel Aviv-based group that is helping women exit the sex trades by offering them alternative careers in the fashion industry. Their studio, pictured above, along with their Director, Lilach Tzur Ben Moshe, is a hub of activity. Women take sewing and design lessons, create clothes (on the rack besides Lilach) that can be sold, or engage in sewing piecework for pay. Other groups in Israel provide social services for this vulnerable population, but this is the only organization focusing on alternative career choices.

Watch Lilach describe some of clothes that program participants have designed here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jewish Intercultural Center Helping E. Jerusalem Health Workers Pass Certification Exams

East Jerusalem residents typically study at colleges and universities in the West Bank or Jordan.  For those who study in the allied health professions, such as nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy and want to work in their home community, where there is a shortage of qualified Arabic speaking health professions, passing the mandatory Israeli Ministry of Health certification exams can be challenging, since their studies do not always align with the content of the exams.  With funding from the Hadassah Foundation, the Jerusalem Intercultural Center has developed test-preparation courses for these professionals, the majority of whom are female.  Above, three members of the first class of nursing students who passed the certification exam with the help of JICC lead a tour of their workplace, Murkassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

NCJW and Hebrew U. Providing Employment Training for Ultra-Orthodox Women

Today, at the National Council of Jewish Women's (NCJW) Research Institute for Innovation in Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, there was a milestone ceremony: the first group of ultra-Orthodox women trained by the Institute for careers in early-childhood outreach "graduated" from the program.  The Hadassah Foundation, which funded the training program, was on hand to present the certificates of completion to the participants (pictured above.)  Israeli municipalities with large ultra-Orthodox populations have expressed an interest in hiring these women, who have traditionally not participated in the workforce despite high levels of poverty in the ultra-Orthodox sector.

Monday, March 24, 2014

WAV: Helping Arab-Israeli Women with Degrees Get Appropriate Jobs

Due to a number of reasons--including discrimination and a lack of transportation and child care options in Arab villages and towns, many Israeli Arab women with college degrees are un- or under-employed.  New Foundation grantee WAV (Women Against Violence) is a Nazareth-based group (their leaders are pictured above) that is working to maximize the potential of this population group. They work with college-educated women on their resumes and interview skills; simultaneously, they pressure the government to create programs and policies that will help this group. You can hear Aida Touma-Sliman, WAV,s Executive Director, discuss how the Hadassah Foundation is helping this effort here.

WEPOWER Helps Newly Elected Israeli Female Council Members

WEPOWER, a new Hadassah Foundation grantee, supports women thinking about running for office in Israel, as well as those just elected. They are a non-partisan group. They are providing training to a group of newly-elected city councilwomen from across Israel's southern region (pictured above) so they can be more effective public officials. At yesterday's training session in Beersheva, the group learned about the ways that women can improve their negotiating skills when promoting social change.

You can hear from Mina Kalman Haddad, a new city councilwoman from Beersheva who is participating in the training here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Latet Atid Aiding Female-Owned Microenterprises

The Foundation's visit to Israel began with a trip to Beersheva, to visit several female-owned enterprises aided by Latet Atid (to give a future.)  Latet provides each aspiring business owner (who must have a family income within +/- 5% of the Israeli poverty level) with a mentor (an experienced business consultant) along with a loan of up to $10,000.  Above, Irena poses with her home-based cosmetology office, which was paid for by the loan, along side Doron, a mentor.  Michal, also pictured above, a manicurist, plies her trade in a home office renovated via a Latet loan.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Breakfast Meeting at JFN

The Hadassah Foundation, along with the National Conference of Jewish Women, sponsored a breakfast meeting with Tziona Koenig-Yair (pictured at right), the head of Israel's EEOC at the Jewish Funders Network meeting today.  She discussed a new tool that Israeli companies can use--developed by her office--that can help them measure pay gaps between men and women in their employ.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hadassah Foundation at JFN

So proud that Idit Klein (left), the director of Keshet, a former Foundation grantee, spoke so convincingly today at the Jewish Funders Network conference about the need for "choice" in the Jewish community and the acceptance of formerly marginalized groups, such as LGBTQ Jews!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our New RFP for US Grants

The Hadassah Foundation is now seeking proposals for projects, curricula, and training programs that will enhance the leadership capacity of Jewish girls and young women ages 12--30 in the United States. The Foundation anticipates that this will continue to be the focus of its American grant making in 2015, and potentially in 2016 as well. All applications, to be submitted by email only, are due by March 28, 2014. The grant term will be July 1, 2014--June 30, 2015. Complete guidelines, as well as the cover sheet and project budget sheet that all applicants are required to use, can be downloaded here or here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stopping Work to Stop Gender Inequality in Israel

Last month, under the aegis of our grantee, Shutafot, hundreds of women across Israel took a coordinated “break” in the name of gender and economic justice.  During this 15-minute work stoppage, the women educated their fellow workers about the myriad forms of discrimination that Israeli women face in the workforce, and encouraged them to sign a petition calling for the end of this inequality.

You can read a full account of the campaign here.

Shutafot is a coalition comprised of six leading women's organization's in Israel (including several Hadassah Foundation grantees.) It is funded by The Jewish Women’s Collaborative International Fund (JWCIF) which is comprised of seventeen Jewish Women’s Foundations/Funds of North America and Israel, including the Hadassah Foundation.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Happy Ending

Back in April, the Hadassah Foundation board visited Israel, including its grantee Yedid. During that visit, we learned about (and blogged about) a client of theirs--a graphic designer--who was fired by her employer when they found out that she was pregnant.

Yedid has just told us that as of last week, they had won their case.  The fired worker received 30,000 NIS (about $8,600) in compensation. Congratulations!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Looking for an Amazing Emerging Feminist Leader!

Can you help the Hadassah Foundation identify an amazing emerging feminist leader?

The Hadassah Foundation will be awarding its annual Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize on June 10th, and we need your help to solicit applications for the Prize.  As in previous years, the Prize will be awarded to an emerging leader in the field of serving Jewish girls and young women in the U.S., or to an emerging leader in the field of women's economic empowerment in Israel; we will accept nominations from current/former Foundation grantees as well as from organizations that have not received a grant from us to-date.  Ideally, we are looking for someone with less than about 15 years of professional experience.

All (electronic-only) applications are due by Friday, February 7th, 2014. More information can be found here.