Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Hadassah Foundation at the Jewish Funders Network

The Hadassah Foundation was active at the Jewish Funders Network's annual meeting in Tel Aviv this week. In addition to participating in a session about Jewish values, the Foundation helped organize a meeting, pictured above, of funders interested in women's issues.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eliminating Sexual Harassment in the Israeli Workplace

Each year, countless women face sexual harassment on the job in Israel--causing some to lose their positions when they complain. Others simply quit rather than file a complaint.  During our visit yesterday to our new grantee, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, we learned about their plan to provide in-depth consultations to several employers so they can reduce, and hopefully eliminate, this threat to their female (and male!) employees. Companies that adopt comprehensive plans would be eligible for citation--making Israel the first country in the world to recognize these good corporate citizens.

Equal Pay for Women for Equal Work

The Hadassah Foundation is excited to partner with the New Israel Fund's technical-assistance arm in Israel, Shatil, on its Equal Pay Project.  Yesterday we learned about an online tool that they have developed that will enable employers to easily upload, anonymously, payroll data, and will produce a customized report indicating pay gaps, by sex, within job titles. They will also work closely with a handful of organizations to reduce any disparities in pay based on sex.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Single Mothers: A Force to be Reckoned With

Today we had the priviledge of meeting Irit, pictured above, a leader in the 1000-member coalition of single mothers organized by our grantee, Yedid.  Single mothers like Irit who cannot obtain child support from fathers receive up to $1450/month from the Israeli government.  However, if they earn as little as $600/month, their payment is reduced--and encourages these women to stay out of the workforce. Though the Yedid campaign, women like Irit argue that child support should not be linked to the mother's income.

You can hear from Irit herself here.

Learning from an Israeli Colleague

We were fortunate to have lunch today with Hamutal Gouri (third from right, above), a colleague who directs the Dafna Fund, a feminist foundation in Israel.  They are supporting sime of the same groups we support; they are also trying to build the feminist field as a whole in Israel via research and outreach to young feminist leaders.

Training Haredi Women for Work

Today we visited a project we fund at Hebrew University--the National Council of Jewish Women's program to train ultra-Orthodox women for positions in the early childhood field. We met members of the program's third cohort on their first day of classes, and they were a very enthusiastic bunch! About half of the program graduates work in NCJW early-childhood programs, with the others taking on other positions to bring much-needed income into their households.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


We finished our day with a delicious meal at Ima's (no, we get no payment for the plug!) in Jerusalem...and dined with members of the Foundation's extended Hadassah family.

Next Stop: Hadassah Hospital

We could not pass through Jerusalem without taking a visit to Hadassah Hospital! It was an especially meaningful stop for Foundation Board Member Julie Morris, pictured above, who was honored for her (and her husband's) substantial generosity to the Hospital--and who unveiled a wall plaque in their name. Kol HaKavod, Julie!

WEPOWER: Convincing Israeli Women to Run for Public Office

With the Israeli elections only a week away, it was a propitious time to meet with our grantee, WEPOWER, a non-partisan group that trains women with leadership potential to run for office. Last year, we funded a project that trained first-term city councilwomen from the Negev to be better public servants; this year, we are funding programs targeting two different populations: one project fosters the leadership potential of women already involved in their community and the second will work with women in their 20s and 30s. WEPOWER estimates that about 80% of their alumnae either run for office thenselves or otherwise are involved in campaigns.

Micro-loans and Mentoring for Female Entrepreneurs

Today we met with two inspirational female entrepreneurs (pictured above)--Haya, who runs a cosmetology business, and Chani, a DJ who runs events for Orthodox women.  The two are supported via our grant to Latet Atid, which provides micro-loans and mentoring to women with incomes at or near the poverty line.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rackman Center Fighting for "Chained" Women

Our grantee, the Rackman Center, pictured above, helps Israeli Jewish women obtain a religious divorce (a "get"), without which they are denied the right to remarry.  About 33% of "secular" Jewish men, and about half of all religious Jewish men seeking a divorce in Israel, threaten to withhold a get in the hope of getting more money from their ex-partner during their divorce.

Rosie the Riveter, Israel-style

Our new grantee, the Israel Women's Network (staff pictured with us, above) is attempting to make well-paid blue collar jobs a more viable option for women. They will be working with Israel's Electric Company as well as with another large employer to improve their recruitment efforts and create company-wide practices (e.g. ensuring that female trade workers have access to single-sex showers and lockers.)

Itach--Maaki: Feminist Lawyers Fighting For Israeli Women

Our grantee, Itach--Maaki (staff pictured with us, above) is on the cutting edge of feminist issues in Israel. They have won major advances for preschool workers, the vast majority of whom are female. This past weekend, in advance of the Israeli elections next week, they had a program calling attention to the fact that several candidates on the new united Arab parties political list--at one of whom is a shoo-in to be elected to the Kneset, is a bigamist, in clear violation of Israeli law.

Kav LaOved: Aiding Eritrean Women in Israel

There are about 6500 Eritrean women in Israel, caught between a rock and a hard place: they left their war torn home in search of a better life in Israel, yet the Israeli government makes it near impossible to apply for refugee status.  Pregnant women are often fired, illegally, from their black market, low-wage jobs, making life even more difficult for them. Our grant to Kav LaOved (staff pictured with us, above) enables them to serve this extremely vulnerable group.

Breakfast with Tmura

It was great to reconnect with our 2014 Tannenbaum Prize winner, Yifat Bitton (far right), who heads up our grantee Tmura. Our funding helps Tmura litigate cases where women have been the victim of economic violence.

Turning the Tables: Creating an Alternative for Women Leaving Prostitution

Our first visit of the day was to Turning the Tables, the only organization in Israel training women attempting to leave prostitution for a legal livelihood. Clients engage in intensive sewing, designing and patternmaking classes--and many now earn at least some money each month from their new skills.  They are now attempting to open a second studio and training program in Haifa by June; above, the Foundation joins Turning the Tables at their studio in Tel Aviv.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shutafot--A United Voice for Israeli Feminist Organizations

Today we met with Ronit Piso (pictured above, far right), the coordinator for Shutafot, an organization that coordinates certain advocacy efforts for eight leading Israeli feminist organizations, including several current and former Foundation grantees.  Their latest initiative: to raise concerns about the current (and future) retirement income crisis for many Israeli women.

EEW Supports Female Entrepreneurs in Israel

Today, as part of the Foundation's Board Mission to Israel, we met with our long-time grantee, Economic Empowerment of Women. EEW helps women start businesses, and provides follow up services to nascent business owners for five years after they finish the organization's formal training program.  We met two EEW alum (pictured above)--Naomi, who is a glassworks artist with a shop in downtown Haifa, and Umaya, a pastry caterer who let us sample her delicious desserts!

Hadassah Foundation Begins Mission

Our journey to Israel began with a visit to the Workers' Advice Center--Ma'an, where we support a project that benefits Arab Israeli women who are exploited as agricultural workers. WAC works with both farmers and the women, cutting out middle men who take a percentage of these womens' very modest pay. The women also learn about their rights as workers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Developing Leadership at UCLA

The Hadasssah Foundation is pleased to support the new Esther Fellowship at UCLA Hillel.  The participants in the inaugural cohort, pictured above during a visit last week, are developing their skills as emerging leaders, and taking on leadership roles within Hillel as well as in other organizations across campus. The Foundation's grant to UCLA Hillel was one of four it made last year as part of its new focus in the U.S. on developing the leadership capacity of Jewish girls and young women.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Hadassah Foundation Takes on Los Angeles!

Last week, the Hadassah Foundation held its first-ever house party in Los Angeles.  Foundation Board Member Andrea Silagi, pictured bottom right, graciously opened her home to the crowd, who came to learn about the Foundation's work in the U.S. and in Israel.  Many thanks, too, are due to Hadassah Southern California, which helped with logistics