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!