Thursday, December 15, 2016

Israeli Grantees Lauded for the their Work Fighting Violence Against Women

Staffers at two current Foundation grantees in Israel--Orit Sulitzeanu, Executive Director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, and Maki Hacham Neeman, founder, and Tamar Schwarz, CEO, of Women's Spirit--as well as Efrat Pudem, who works for a former grantee, the Tmura Center—were lauded for their work on behalf of women victims of violence at a special ceremony at the Israel President's residence late last month.

The women all received the Minister of Social Equality 2016 Award for Organizations Fighting Violence against Women to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  The Award – given for the first time in Israel – was granted to five organizations that significantly contributed to combating violence against women in Israel.

 The Minister for Social Equality, Gila Gamliel, said in her speech that:  "The violence against women crosses sectors. It is a problem for all of us and is reflected at all levels, and therefore should be fought against using new legislation initiatives, stronger enforcement measures, more educational means and rapid developing of legal tools. A healthy society should encourage and acknowledge the importance of organizations operating to eradicate violence against women and humankind. I pledge to introduce soon a national plan to combat violence against women, with the aim of having zero incidents of violence against them. This is not just a wishful thinking; it rather is a strategic objective essential to securing the social strength of Israel."

President Reuven Rivlin also supported this mission at the ceremony, stating in his speech: "Violence against women is everywhere, it is present and persistent. It is not only physical and verbal, but is also emotional and sometimes even financial. Even today, despite advances in the legal sphere, social and mass media still report every day about the devastating effects of violence against women."
Mazel tov!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grantee Spotlight: WEPOWER's Atidot Program

WEPOWER is a nonpartisan organization in Israel that trains and supports women who run for public office and who want to become involved in politics.  Its Atidot [Women of the Future] program targets women ages 25-40 who are involved in their community and are poised to take on further leadership. The program includes lectures, shadowing/mentoring with a woman in a leadership position, and a group project. Vered Asaf (pictured above), from Yerucham, Israel, who runs a program for at-risk youth, explains how she has benefited from this program:

 "The project has helped me make connections with members of the Knesset. I accompanied Knesset Member Dr. Aliza Lavie, and I wandered around the corridors of the Israeli Knesset. I saw woman leaders in the political field. I went to important committees meetings and understand more deeply how this scene works. I would not have had this experience if it were not for the program….In addition, we had to create a vision for ourselves and connect the vision to the goals that we want to achieve. We were closely monitored, and [the program staff] offered help for any difficulty or dilemma we faced, and they were always there for consultation. This is was very helpful."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hadassah Foundation at #slingshot16

It was great to see so many of the Hadassah Foundation's current and former grantees at Slingshot Day 2016! It is always a wonderful opportunity to learn about innovation in the Jewish community.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

5776: Year in Review

This past year, 5776, has been a strong year for The Hadassah Foundation!

  • We awarded $550,000 to outstanding groups in the United States and in Israel that are bringing the issues of women and girls from the margins to the center of Jewish concern—up from $450,000 last year;
  • We awarded the eighth annual Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize to Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, who founded and directs a Foundation grantee, Turning the Tables, which offers vocational training in the fashion industry to Israeli women looking to exit prostitution;  
  • We released a new video about the Foundation and our Tannenbaum Prize winner, which is now posted on YouTube; and
  • 10 current and former Foundation grantees have been cited by the Slingshot Fund as being among the most innovative organizations in the Jewish community.

In the coming year, we anticipate a range of activities in honor of our "chai" year of grant making, and hope you will help us mark this achievement!


As we count our blessings as we begin the new year, we also redouble our commitment to tikkun olam.  Your support of The Hadassah Foundation helps improve the lives women and girls in both the U.S. and Israel.   Please consider making a donation at Your contribution will enable us to find solutions to gender inequality in our lifetimes. 


We wish you and your loved ones a Shana Tova!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hadassah Foundation Invests $180,000 in Leadership Development for Jewish Teens and Young Women

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 $180,000 in grants to six American organizations that strengthen the leadership skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women.

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 $7.3 million has been awarded to nearly 90 nonprofit organizations.

With this latest round of grants, the Foundation has awarded a total of $550,000 to Israeli and American group in 2016, up from $450,000 awarded in 2015.

This latest round of grants to organizations in the United States is part of the Foundation's multi-year initiative—inaugurated in 2014—to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women in the United States.

Three of the 2016 grantees are receiving a renewal grant for their program, and three are first-time grantees.

""It is of the utmost importance to invest in the leadership abilities of young Jewish women," said Rabbi Suzanne Offit, chair of the Hadassah Foundation.  "We are proud to support the forward-thinking and creative professionals who are devoting themselves to this critical population."

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Jewish Community Center of Chicago, $30,000 (New Grantee)

The JCC's Seed6l3 program is a new social change fellowship for teenage girls ages 14-16.  Through seminars, and regular meetings with coaches, mentors and peers, the girls will be equipped with entrepreneurial tools and knowledge to develop a socially responsible venture that will impact the Jewish community.

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, $22,000 (New Grantee)

The JUF received funds for a cohort of Jewish teen girls to participate in the Research Training Internship (RTI), a program that generates new knowledge about the lives and experiences of Jewish teen girls; empowers girls to develop their own capacity to engage critically with social issues that impact them through an explicitly feminist lens; and positions girls as experts on their own lives and issues impacting them. 

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.

Jewish Women's Archive, $30,000

The Rising Voices Fellowship teaches Jewish female teens in grades 10-12 how to communicate effectively about their experiences, beliefs, and challenges, and use the power of social media to spark a wider conversation about Jewish identity and gender equality among their peers and within the larger Jewish community.

Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy at Bar-Ilan University, $33,000 (New Grantee)

LVJA, an online school for Jewish Studies established in 2014, received a grant to design and pilot an online course for high school girls that fuses classical Jewish text study with leadership skill building.  The course will be taught to cohorts of twenty high school girls enrolled in Jewish supplementary, day, or home schools.

The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, $30,000

Created Equal: A Research and Educational Project on Men, Women and the Ethics of Leadership project, is a new curriculum that explores how gender influences the broader narrative of Jewish life, including contemporary questions of leadership and gender equity. The Foundation's grant will support a series of workshops and programs based on this curriculum that target emerging leaders in the Jewish community who are attending graduate school programs in Jewish communal service as well as for a one-day conference that targets key players in the Jewish community at different stages of their career.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hadassah Foundation at the HWZOA Convention

More than 900 women and men attended the biannual convention of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America in Atlanta this past week--and several hundred of them attended sessions run by the Hadassah Foundation.
On Tuesday, the Foundation moderated a panel--"To be young, Jewish, female, and a Leader"--that featured several of our grantees. On Wednesday, Foundation Director Rabbi Ellen Flax led a study session on strong women in traditional Jewish texts. Both programs examined women's leadership, which is the main focus of the Foundation's grants in the United States.

Pictured above: top row, Foundation Directors Phyllis Silverstein, Lonye Rasch, Helaine Ohayon, Debbie Minkoff, and Liz Alpert.  Bottom row: Panelists Rachel Glicksman, AVODAH; Rachel Wasserman, the Jewish Women's Fund of Atlanta; Noam Green, the Jewish Women's Archive; and Rabbi Ellen Flax, the Hadassah Foundation. 

Joshua Venture Group Alum Leads New Foundation Grantee

Chana German (above, right) runs a new Hadassah Foundation grantee--the Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy.  Many of the skills she needed to develop and run a successful nonprofit were honed as a Dual Investment Fellow at the Joshua Venture Group, a program for outstanding social entrepreneurs.  Chana just finished the two-year program earlier this month, which concluded with a celebratory luncheon for the Fellows and funders in the Jewish community.  During the luncheon, Chana told the crowd how the program helped her become a better nonprofit manager and learn the "business side" of running an enterprise--in her case, an organization that develops virtual Judaic studies classes for day schools and religious education programs. With her new grant from the Foundation, Chana will create (along with another JVG Fellow in her cohort) an online course on women's leadership for high school girls that fuses classical text study of Biblical women leaders with practical leadership skill building.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Meet the 2016 Tannenbaum Prize Winner!

The Hadassah Foundation is thrilled to announce that Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, who does ground-breaking work with women attempting to exit prostitution, has been awarded the 2016 Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize!
Tzur Ben-Moshe is the Founder and Executive Director of Turning the Tables, a Tel Aviv-based organization that provides economic alternatives to women exiting prostitution. Since 2011, Turning the Tables has trained these vulnerable women for jobs in the fashion industry. They are taught how to sew, make patterns, design clothes, and market their goods; one successful graduate has created a critically-acclaimed clothing line! The program, which is supported by the Hadassah Foundation, has enabled dozens of women to begin a new life with dignity, including a legal way to make a living.
"It is a great honor to accept this award from the Hadassah Foundation, which bravely recognizes the diverse challenges that women in Israel still face," said Tzur Ben-Moshe. "Tens of thousands of women and girls in Israel are trapped in the cycle of prostitution and addiction. Turning the Tables is sending the message to them and to women in general that we see them and reach out to them."

The Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize recognizes emerging professionals who have made innovative contributions to advance the status of women and girls in Israel and the United States. Awardees demonstrate a high degree of talent, commitment, and accomplishment in their work. The prize honors Bernice S. Tannenbaum, z''l, for her lifetime of service to the Jewish People; the State of Israel; and Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.
In honor of Tzur Ben-Moshe, the Hadassah Foundation has released a new video that highlights the Tannenbaum Prize winner, as well as the work of the fund.  The video can be viewed at:

Congrats, Lilach!

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."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hadassah Foundation at the Jewish Funders Network

Last week, at the Jewish Funders Network, the Hadassah Foundation co-facilitated (along with Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, pictured above right) a breakfast session for funders interested in girls and women.  This annual gathering attracted 450 funders and foundation professionals--including several former Foundation board members. The conference enables the Foundation to gain greater visibility for its work, network with those who may be interested in our priority areas, and learn best practices in the field of philanthropy. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

#Slingshot16 Guide Honors 10 Hadassah Foundation Grantees

The latest edition of the Slingshot Guide was just released, and once again, a number of Foundation grantees were lauded for their achievements and innovation.  The Guide, which is published annually, draws attention to innovation and excellence in the Jewish community.  Current and former grantees in the guide include: Created Equal (of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America); Hazon; KESHET; and Moving Traditions.  

For the third year in a row, Slingshot has also released a supplement that highlights innovative organizations that serve women and girls.  Once again, the Foundation's current and former grantees were well represented:  AVODAH; Created Equal; the Hebrew Free Loan Society; JOFA: Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance; Mayyim Hayyim; Moving Traditions; Shalom Bayit; and Yeshivat Maharat.
Congrats to them all!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trading a Pink Collar for a Blue Collar

Too many working women in Israel are stuck in low-paying, pink collar jobs.  The Israel Women's Network is trying to increase their income--as well as break down critical stereotypes--by working with employers to make typical "male" jobs a better fit for women.  For example:  the IWN, in cooperation with a rapidly-expanding bus company, held an open house for the firm (see a picture of the flyer, above) that targeted several dozen potential female drivers. Now four women are on their way to better paid, union jobs with benefits.   

WEPOWER: Encouraging Young Israeli Women to Become Civically Engaged

As a result of grant from the Hadassah Foundation to WEPOWER, young women in Israel with great potential--such as Hadas, a modern Orthodox woman from the town of Omer (above, center), and Kefah, a young Bedouin leader, (above, right)--are being groomed for leadership positions.  As part of the Atidot (Women of the Future) Program, a cohort of young women have learned specific leadership skills, developed a vision for how they will impact society, and were paired with mentors in the public or non profit sectors.  One member of the group, Vered (not pictured) has set her sights on a seat in the Knesset--and was paired with a current female of the Knesset to help her on her way!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ensuring Arab Israeli Women Get at Least the Minimum Wage

In Nazareth, Foundation Grantee Kav LaOved is conducting a campaign to ensure that Arab Israeli women are paid a fair wage.  Gadeer Nicola, a lawyer who heads up the Kav LaOved office in Nazaeth (and who, unfortunately, is camera-shy!) explained that they serve many Arab Israeli women who are not paid the legal minimum wage.  A number of these women work in private pre-schools, as well as in the foster-care system; others work as contractors. She said that the government's enforcement of wage rules is more sporadic in the Arab sector than in the Jewish sector, which in turn discourages some women from seeking employment. Kav LaOved will advertise their services via Arab-language radio ads and social-media sites, thereby educating the public at large about employment rules covering minimum wage, sex discrimination, and the rights of pregnant workers.

Finding Jobs for Arab Israeli Teachers--in Jewish Schools

There is a significant mismatch in the job market for Israeli Arab women.  Many of these women with college degrees have studied education--but there are few available teacher slots in schools that serve Israel's Arab community. At the same time, many of the schools that serve the Jewish Israeli community lack sufficient English, math, and science teachers. A new Foundation grantee, Merchavim, plays matchmaker, placing the Arab-Israeli teachers with appropriate subject-area expertise in Jewish schools. At the Gvanim School in Kadima-Zuran, several such teachers, pictured above, are now on the staff.  Merchavim works with both the teachers and the principals to ensure that the placement is successful.   

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Isha L'Isha: Fighting for Justice for Contract Workers

In Haifa, women who clean municipal buildings used to be city employees--but now they are contract workers, toiling at a lower wage and without benefits. The Hadassah Foundation is supporting the work of Isha L'Isha (Women for Women) to get them back on the payroll, as well as opening up municipal tenders in Haifa to more female-owned businesses. Ronit Piso, above, is heading up the project for the group.

Women's Spirit: Giving Victims of Domestic Violence a New Beginning

Foundation grantee Women's Spirit has a unique mission when it comes to female victims of domestic violence in Israel. While other nonprofits and government agencies provide these women with social services and counseling, the staff (pictured above) and the many volunteers who power Women's Spirit help them get on their feet financially.  The Tel Aviv group now also works with women at a shelter in Haifa, and is working with banks to ensure that women who are in debt due to their ex-husbands' activities will be treated in a more understanding manner.

EEW Helps Female Business Owners Invest in their Own Enterprises

Economic Empowerment for Women is one of the Foundation's long-term grantees, teaching basic economic literacy and entrepreneurship to low-income Israeli women. The staff of the Haifa- based EEW, pictured above, works with women across the country and with just about every population group, from Arab Israelis (including the Druze) to the Ultra-Orthodox.  Since women entrepreneurs are less likely than men to invest any extra funds they may have into their business,  EEW created a savings program that attempts to address this discrepancy:  women who commit to saving funds earmarked for their businesses are eligible for a matching grant from EEW.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Microfy Supports Budding Female Entrepreneurs in S. Tel Aviv

Microfy, a grassroots, volunteer-driven organization, works with women who are often overlooked: the residents of Tel Aviv's southern neighborhoods, who live a world away from the city's lucrative hi-tech scene. In addition to providing training to entrepreneurs, the women are enrolled in a business forum, which gives them on-going support as well as critical business contacts. Program participant Sigalit (above, next to a website advertising her childcare business) not only found support in the business forum-- she also found tax specialist (who was also a program alum), who helped her get substantial business-tax refund!

Getting More Women in Israeli Board Rooms

Jasmine, a Foundation grantee, will be working with a cohort of accomplished Jewish and Arab women to put them in their rightful place: in the board room of Israeli companies.  More women in such leadership positions increases the likelihood that companies will adopt female-friendly policies.  Staff from Jasmine, pictured above, will provide training to these women via the Open University in Israel, and then offer them high-level mentors, who will grant them access to positions of power.

Job Readiness Program Helps Women in the Triangle Region

Foundation grantee Tishreen, working with Na'amat, the Israeli women's group, is providing intensive job-readiness training and support to Arab Israeli women in the Triangle region.  The area faces an extraordinarily high unemployment rate. Staff from the two nonprofits, pictured above, are improving the Hebrew language skills of these women, are teaching them how to apply for work, and are bolstering their self-worth.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fast Start for New Anti-Sexual Harassment Code in Israel

The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel formally debuted its new national anti-sexual harassment code for Israeli employers last week at a conference attended by many of the country's leading businesses and government agencies. Staff, pictured above with a new publication that explains the code and which was supported by the Hadassah Foundation, said that a dozen employers approached them after the briefing, seeking ARCCI's help to implement the voluntary code. There is great interest in the code, in response to a number of recent well-publicized sexual harassment cases in Israel.
Watch a short video about the code here.

Aiding Haredi Social Entrepreneurs

One of the Foundation's newest grantees is Presentense in Jerusalem, which is helping ultra-Orthodox women create or expand their own businesses.  Presentense is working with another nonprofit, Temech (staff from both groups are pictured above), to adapt its successful business incubator program to the needs of this population.  In some cases, the women develop programs and services specifically targeted to their own community, e.g. a toy rental program for early-childhood programs.

Hadassah Foundation Project Wins Israeli Government Award

Staffers from Shatil, pictured center and right, told the Hadassah Foundation that a key element of a program it supported is about to receive a prize from Israel's Public Administration Commissioner.  Shatil, as part of project to ensure equal pay for female workers in Israel, partnered with Israel's Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission to create an online tool--now on the EEOC' s website--that enables employers to enter pay data anonymously and view any potentially discriminatory patterns. The EEOC worker who was Shatil's partner in creating this tool will be cited for her work next month.

Big Win for Center for Women's Justice!

During a visit today to Center for Women's Justice, the Hadassah Foundation learned that it's Jerusalem-based grantee just had a major win. Director Susan Weiss, pictured, reported that the Israeli courts just ruled that a man who hid his business partner for 10 years (!!!) in order to help his associate evade giving a get, a Jewish religious divorce to his wife, could be held liable for his actions. The divorcing women received a settlement worth around $60,000.
They also won a judgement that enables women from all streams of Judaism in Israel to use the Orthodox-controlled ritual baths for conversion and other purposes.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Grantee Spotlight: The Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s Girls Give Back Program

The Girls Give Back program educates teen girls on 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.
Emma Glassman-Hughes, pictured above, an alumna of Jewish Family Service of San Diego's "Girls Give Back" program, became involved at the age of 16 when a friend told her about the program. She attributes much of her success to her mentor, Jessica Nare, the former Director of Leadership Programs at JFSSD who created the program.  

Girls Give Back was like no other program Emma had ever experienced. Before joining, Emma would have never publicly identified herself as a feminist. It exposed her to the history and importance of the movement, including to feminist icons such as Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan.

According to Emma, if it was not for her time with Girls Give Back, where she eventually served as a mentor to younger students, she wouldn't have had the chance to explore her political positions, or had the space to interact with, be challenged by, and learn from other Jewish girls her age. Emma attributes her current work—as the lead writer for a feminist (and successful) women's health start-up in New York City—to her experience with GGB; she is simultaneously pursuing her college degree in Boston.  

 "This program not only empowers young girls to discover themselves politically and to develop themselves as speakers, creators, and thinkers; it makes the part of the women's movement that is closely aligned with anti-poverty, racial justice, and political reform movements accessible and relevant for young Jewish girls--the majority of whom are coming from upper-middle class families.  

We were given the opportunity to convene downtown at a non-profit, short-term housing facility for homeless and at-risk youth, and to host an informational meeting about feminism with some of the kids of the shelter. It was the first time that I was forced to recognize that social perspectives are going to differ depending on social circumstances, and that a homeless girl of 16 might have a different opinion about feminism than her financially-stable counterparts. Instead of making it a teaching experience, we took the time to listen to our homeless peers' grievances and hear their stories. This exchange enriched our activism exponentially, and it was an opportunity unique to the work done by GGB.
The work I did with San Diego's homeless communities was some of the most meaningful hands-on work I have done, and GGB gave me a front-row seat to observe (as well as give me a shiny set of tools to facilitate) social change at its most inspiring!"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Seeking Nominations for the Tannenbaum Prize

The Hadassah Foundation is seeking nominations for its annual Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize. The Prize honors the achievements of an up-and-coming feminist leader--someone who is making a positive impact on the lives of Jewish girls and young women in the United States, or for Israeli women. It also provides the winner with something that is all-too-rare in the Jewish community: funds to pursue a professional development activity. 

All (electronic-only) applications are due by Friday, March 4, 2016. More information can be found at

New Hope for Victims of Domestic Violence In Israel

Thanks to the efforts of several Hadassah Foundation grantees--including Women's Spirit, Yedid, and Isha L'Isha, as well as other leading women's groups in Israel--female victims of domestic violence in Israel will receive better treatment from Israeli banks.  A new treaty recently signed by the banks enables women staying in domestic violence emergency shelters to receive more tolerant and socially oriented treatment from the banking system. Every bank and credit company will appoint two workers to help women forced into debt as a result of economic abuse. This will help reduce and prevent the too-common problem of domestic violence victims being trapped in an endless cycle of interest payments and growing debts as a result of their abusive partner's actions--more than 90% of women in shelters deal with enormous debts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Elizabeth Swados, z"l

The Hadassah Foundation is sad to mark the passing of Elizabeth Swados earlier this month. Ms. Swados, who was a gifted writer, musician, composer, and theater director, was the recipient of one of the Foundation's first grants in 1999. She, in collaboration with the JCC in Manhattan, received support for Jewish Girlz, an original musical that addressed the problems and joys of being a young Jewish female in the United States.  Liz wrote the musical with a group of young teen girls who performed it at the JCC.  We will miss her powerful voice!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hadassah Foundation Now Accepting Proposals for US Grants

The Hadassah Foundation is 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. All applications, to be submitted by email only, are due by February 5, 2016.  The grant term will be July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017.  The Foundation will provide a limited number of grants of up to $40,000.
Complete guidelines, as well as the cover sheet and project budget sheet that all applicants are required to use, can be downloaded at

Meeting Grantees Face to Face: A Board Member’s View

While in Israel for the past three weeks on a family trip, I was privileged to be able to visit two Hadassah Foundation grantees: Women's Spirit, located in Tel Aviv and Hebrew University--The National Council of Jewish Women's Research Institute for Innovation in Education in Jerusalem.
Although, as a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors, I first learned about—and was impressed with--the work of both groups as a member of our Israel Grants Committee, it was nothing compared with actually meeting these organizations' dedicated workers, volunteers, and clients face to face!
Women's Spirit provides women victims of violence with the tools and support to re-enter the workforce, achieve financial independence and gain back much needed self-confidence. Much of their work is carried out by a dedicated core of volunteer mentors, who work one-on-one with women seeking to reestablish themselves financially. Michal Gilad, Resource Development Coordinator for Women's Spirit, arranged and hosted my visit to their office where I met with the Director, a volunteer mentor and a client. I spoke with Rachel, a volunteer mentor who explained that after retiring, she wanted to find something meaningful to do as a volunteer. She is currently mentoring T, who was also at the meeting. Rachel said that they meet and speak regularly, as often as T needs the contact, so she can gain the confidence to use the professional tools provided so as to go back to teaching, something she gave up a long time ago while in an abusive relationship. It was obvious that Rachel loves what she is doing, and T explained that without the kind support and encouragement from Rachel, she would not be able to move ahead. I was also so impressed with Michal Gilad and the Director, Aimee Slayter, who are obviously dedicated to the success of this program. I left Women's Spirit feeling so inspired by the depth of humanity and humility shown by each woman, whether professional, volunteer or client. I felt truly honored that the Foundation helps support this organization!
My second visit was to Hebrew University--The National Council of Jewish Women's Research Institute for Innovation in Education.  For the past several years, the Foundation has supported a program that trains Haredi women to work as professional and para-professionals in early childhood development and education. Finding NCJW's tucked away office Hebrew University was definitely a challenge, but one well worth it!  I was fortunate to be invited to join the last class of the course, where I met with the students and the professionals running the program. Dr. Ayelet Giladi, Academic Manager of the Early Childhood Program ran the course and introduced me to the students, ranging in age from 19-37. The determination and dedication of the students became immediately apparent as I heard from two women, both juggling seven children apiece and work commitments. They come once a month to Hebrew University's Mt. Scopus in order to study so as to increase their knowledge and credibility to work with schools, children, parents and social workers in their communities. One woman told me that she is divorced, a mother of two children and lives about 1 ½ hours away by public transportation—she said she comes to the class in order to be able to go back to her community and be more effective when working with children and parents.
After visiting both projects, I left feeling so proud to be part of the Hadassah Foundation, and of our support of such worthy projects—I know we are definitely doing work that repairs the world, Tikkun Olam.
--Helaine Ohayon, Hadassah Foundation Board Member
(Ohayon, second from right, is shown above with staff and volunteers from Women's Spirit.)