Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Hadassah Foundation's New Video!

Equality. Every woman deserves it. The Hadassah Foundation ensures it.

The Hadassah Foundation changes the lives of  women and girls in Israel and the United States.  
We back grantees that promote legal and social justice;  economic security; education, and leadership.  With your support, we can do even more. Click here.  
Contribute today and Join us! 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Support Women and Girls on #GivingTuesday!

Recent news makes it abundantly clear: we cannot afford to ignore the needs of girls and women, whether here in the United States, or in Israel.  

At the Hadassah Foundation, we invest in organizations developing cutting edge programs to empower Jewish girls and young women in the United States, and Israeli women of all backgrounds.  

And with your support, we can do even more!

A gift to the Hadassah Foundation helps improve the lives of women and girls in both the U.S. and Israel.   Please support our work on this #GivingTuesday by making a donation at www.tinyurl.com/hfgift.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grantee Profile: Merchavim's Arab Teacher Integration Projects Finds Jobs for Teachers in Jewish Schools

The Hadassah Foundation supports Merchavim's Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools Initiative, which 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.  One of the teachers served by this program is Faten Jebara, who teaches English to students in grades 2-6 at the Shaked School in Ra'anana.

"My experience has been wonderful and empowering – I can't see myself moving from this school although I often get offers from school principals at Arab schools - I wouldn't change my job for the world. I am a type of 'role model' that proves that if you work tougher you can build relationships, learn about a person and make a change in people's mindset….The children's parents have given me great trust and believe in me. You might think that some of them would have issues with an Arab teacher teaching English with an accent – but these issues have never been a problem… I am really making a difference to the kids, they have less stereotypes and see Arab citizens in other roles in society (other than construction workers, cleaners etc.) and see that relationships and friendships are precious and are above our social groups. The kids come to me and feel free to discuss their concerns and ask questions (about my religion, customs, etc.) and find in me a confidant. The job is demanding but I am more than satisfied professionally and personally.

Merchavim accompanies me, and all the integrated teachers in Jewish schools, the entire way. Teachers get great guidance, hands-on tools and professional coaching on how to deal with work in the classroom, [and] situations that arise with integrating into the school community."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Want to Be Inspired?

Earlier this year, the Hadassah Foundation ran two contests—a video contest and an essay contest--in honor of its "Chai" (18th) Year of grant making.  Both contests—open only to high school students—asked them to address their aspirations as a young, Jewish, female leader in their community, and how they wanted to change or add to the world.  The goal of the contests was to lift up the voices of the next generation of Jewish feminist leaders.

The video winner, Tallulah Bark-Huss, from Chicago, IL, is now a freshman at Boston University.  The Hadassah Foundation has arranged for her to have a one-on-one meeting via phone or videoconference with Amanda Lipitz, a Tony Award Broadway producer and documentary filmmaker. 

"I strive every day to be an empowered and motivated female leader in all aspects of my life, especially in the Jewish community," said Bark-Huss. "To be given a chance to speak my truth and show what it is that I believe a female Jewish leader encompasses is an amazing feeling."

The essay contest winner, Amanda Powers, from Newton, MA, is now a freshman at Harvard University. The Hadassah Foundation has arranged for her to have a one-on-one meeting via phone or videoconference with noted author Anita Diamant.  "My identity as a Jewish woman has always been central to my drive and passion for making the world a better place, so I am incredibly grateful to be acknowledged by a foundation doing such amazing work to lift up Jewish women around the world," said Powers.

You can read the essay and watch the video here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Microfy Lauded for its Work with Eritrean Migrants in Israel

Congrats to our grantee, Microfy! They won the first-ever Shimon Peres Prize through the Israeli Deutsche Future Forum Foundation for their joint project with Migration Hub Network, an organization that supports local efforts worldwide that help migrant populations. Microfy was cited for its work with Eritrean women in Tel Aviv.  Above, Microfy's former and current co-directors are pictured receiving the Prize at a ceremony last week at the Jewish Museum in Berlin.   

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Hadassah Foundation at Amplifier's Summer Convening

Earlier this month, the Hadassah Foundation attending a program sponsored by Amplifier, an organization that helps "giving circles"--groups of people who pool their money to make joint philanthropic gifts--work more effectively.  Many nonprofits are creating giving circles as a way to better engage donors, and representatives of giving circles from across the United States (and some from overseas!) came to the gathering.

Although the Foundation is not a giving circle, some of the benefits of participating in a giving circle, e.g. donors feel more knowledgeable about their philanthropy, feel like they are part of something larger than themselves, and their pooled money enables them to make larger gifts, also applies to the work of the dedicated volunteers who sit on our Board.

Some of the Foundation's close philanthropic "allies," such as the Jewish Women's Fund of San Francisco and the Jewish Women's Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches, also came to the gathering, as did representatives from one of the Foundation's newest grantees, Challah for Hunger.  Above, Amanda Winer (left) and Rachel Hirsch (middle), members of Challah for Hunger's Young Funders Committee, learned about ways to strengthen that organization's giving circles for young alum.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hadassah Foundation Invests $165,000 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 $165,000 in grants to seven organizations that strengthen the leadership skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women in the United States.

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 $7.8 million has been awarded to more than 90 nonprofit organizations.

With this latest round of grants, the Foundation has awarded a total of $500,000 to Israeli and American groups in 2017.

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.

Four of the 2017 grantees are receiving a renewal grant for their program, and three are first-time grantees.

"I am so proud of our efforts to boost the leadership skills and abilities of young Jewish women and girls," said Julie Morris, chair of the Hadassah Foundation.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Challah for Hunger, $23,000, New Grantee

Challah for Hunger, is a volunteer-driven social justice project that engages 7,000 students, the vast majority of whom are female, on 82 college campuses across the country.  Student volunteers bake and sell challah on their campuses, and donate funds to anti-hunger programs. They are receiving a grant for a mentoring program that will connect female college students with professional women who share their interests and for its annual conference for students and alumni.

Jewish Community Center of Chicago, $20,000  

The JCC's Seed6l3 program is a 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

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 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.

jGirls Magazine, $25,000, New Grantee

jGirls Magazine is an online community and magazine with a national reach written by and for Jewish girls ages 13-19 from all denominations. They work most intensively with 12 teenage girls, who form their editorial board and who review and edit the nonfiction, fiction, poetry, humor, music, and photography entries they receive from girls across the country; all the work is done online.

Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy at Bar-Ilan University, $20,000

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 20 high school girls enrolled in Jewish supplementary, day, or home schools.

St. Louis Jewish Community Center/Nishmah, $25,000 New Grantee

Nishmah–a program of the St. Louis Jewish Community Center–inspires, engages, and supports Jewish women and girls in the St. Louis area.  They received funds to develop an expanded, Jewishly-infused, formalized leadership curriculum for its Banot (Girls) Board, which serves 12-15 high school girls; the girls, in turn, create programming for elementary-school age girls. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New On-line Magazine for Jewish Girls and Teens

One of the Hadassah Foundation's newest grantees is jGirls Magazine, a totally on-line magazine by and for Jewish girls and teens.  After a long planning period, the magazine is finally live! Check it out here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Meet Our 2017 Tannenbaum Prize Winner!

The Hadassah Foundation has awarded the 2017 Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize to Stephanie Goldfarb, program director for youth philanthropy and leadership at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.


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.


Goldfarb, pictured above, was awarded the prize for her work with the JUF's programs for Chicago-area youth. During her seven years at the JUF, she has expanded a philanthropy program for Jewish teens that awards more than $50,000 annually to local nonprofits, and brought an innovative feminist-research training internship program for Jewish girls to the Chicago region. That latter program, the Research Training Internship program, has received funding from the Hadassah Foundation. 

"As the newest Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize winner, I not only feel a sense of unity with the women who recognized my commitment to social change for Jewish women and girls, I also feel as though I have an army of forward-thinking sisters behind me, pushing me to continue growing personally and professionally," said Goldfarb.

"Stephanie Goldfarb is a talented, charismatic, educator, filled with talent and passion," said Julie Morris, chair of the Foundation. "Bernice Tannenbaum would be so proud of the Foundation's selection."

The Prize provides $500 in general operating support to the JUF, as well as $2,500 to further Goldfarb's professional development.


In addition to her work for the JUF, Goldfarb serves as a resource to other community organizations serving teens. She has run "philanthropy boot camps" at summer camps and for BBYO programs serving Jewish youth, "taste of philanthropy" programs at congregations, and provided trainings for other Jewish professionals about philanthropy, LGBTQ issues, and experiential Jewish education.  She has also run programs on Jewish cooking, which takes advantage of her experience as an award-winning chef who has appeared on multiple Food Network shows.


Goldfarb received her bachelor's degree from Arizona State University in Women's and Gender Studies, with a Certificate in LGBT Studies, earned two masters degrees from Loyola University Chicago (in Clinical Social Work and Gender Studies), and a  Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Yeshiva University.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 #Slingshot Fund Guide Highlights our Grantees!

Congratulations to eight current and former Hadassah Foundation grantees who were included in the 2017 edition of the Slingshot Fund guide:

Challah for Hunger

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance


Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy

Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters

Yeshivat Maharat

Shalom Bayit

Moving Traditions

The Guide highlights the most innovative organizations in the Jewish community.  This year, in addition to producing a national guide, they created guides highlighting innovation in the Los Angeles and Bay Area.
The full Guide can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grantee Profile: The JCC Chicago's Project Teen-Seed 613 Program--Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship

The Hadassah Foundation supports the JCC Chicago's Project Teen--Seed 613, a social-entrepreneurship program for Jewish teen girls.  The JCC Chicago had a successful track record running a social-entrepreneurship program for adults, and with the help of the Foundation, adopted the program to the needs of teen girls. Working in small groups, the girls developed projects that have a social benefit, which were formally unveiled at an event--Launch Night--open to the community at large.  Spencer Rule, above right, along with other teens in the program on Launch Night, describes how this program has impacted her.

My name is Spencer Rule and I was recently a member of the pilot cohort of Project Teen-Seed613, a new, teen social entrepreneurship program of JCC Chicago, grant funded by The Hadassah Foundation. I was born and raised in Chicago, and am currently a senior at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. This fall, I will be attending Babson College in Massachusetts, the number one school for entrepreneurship.

I was introduced to Project Teen-Seed613 by the club sponsor of Jewish Student Connection, Julie Minor. In October, I was accepted into the program and began attending monthly seminars in January. I immediately had a connection with the eleven other girls in the cohort. The program was split into three groups based upon interests. I chose the group that focused on "women's initiatives,"  and worked  alongside three other girls. One of the most enjoyable moments in the program was finally deciding on the product we wanted to create. We had been sitting around a table in the JCC, bouncing ideas off each other, when we had an epiphany. Our group came up with a product called You Flow G12L, a monthly subscription box to empower young women and stop the stigma against periods. The box would include tampons, pads, an educational component about how to live a healthy life, and a small gift. For every box bought, another box would be donated to women and teenagers who do not have access to the feminine care products they need. I enjoyed the program so much because I was able to collaborate with other girls with shared interests in business and entrepreneurship and that really inspired me. I had never been a part of something like that and it was truly incredible.

The cohort acted as a platform for me to really experience social entrepreneurship for the first time. In creating our product, I was able to learn about different business design theories, how to research the feasibility of a business, how to market for a business, and so much more. Most importantly, I was able to create the foundations of a potential business while simultaneously making lifelong friendships. It was incredibly fun but also a lot of work. I expected there to be a lot of work, but at the same time I learned about so many things that entrepreneurs must do that I never realized existed or were so important.

My group and I pitched our idea at a Launch Night on May 23rd at the JCC surrounded by friends, family, and community members. I am still impressed by how feasible and real this program is; we even received a business card from one of the community members who attended the event who was interested in our idea. I am so thankful for this experience because I think it was a vital component of my path to becoming an entrepreneur. I am so excited to be able to use this experience as a starting point for my time at Babson and as a future entrepreneur. My time in Project Teen-Seed613 has given me a lot of new confidence and knowledge about entrepreneurship that I would never have had otherwise.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hadassah Foundation Now Accepting Proposals for Programs that Empower Israeli Women

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 27th.
For more information: www.hadassahfoundation.org

The Hadassah Foundation...out and About!

Last month, you could have found the Hadassah Foundation out and about at both ends of the country!

Board Member Liz Alpert, above, on the left, attended in San Francisco the 25th anniversary Creating Hope celebration of our former grantee, Shalom Bayit.   They raised $350,000 to support their efforts to strengthen crisis intervention services for battered women, abuse prevention education for Jewish youth, and programs that build a Jewish communal response to abuse.  Mazel tov!

On the other end of the country, in New York City, the Foundation attended the closing conference of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America's Created Equal Fellowship program. The Fellowship, which was supported by the Foundation, uses Jewish texts to explore themes related to gender equality and leadership in the Jewish community.  The Fellows, pictured above, are all graduate students in Jewish communal programs from across the U.S. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chai Year Essay and Video Contests for High School Students!

We are so excited to announced that in honor of our Chai (18th) Year of grant making, the Hadassah Foundation is conducting two contests--an essay and video competition--for high school students! 

We've had 18 years to demonstrate what it means to be a Jewish feminist via our grant making, and we want to encourage the next generation to take their identities as Jewish feminists seriously, too!  So we are seeking submissions--no more than 500-600 words or one minute of video in length--that address one of the following set of questions:

1) What are your aspirations as a female Jewish leader in your community?  How do you want to change or add to the world?   OR
2) Which Jewish female leader, past or present, inspires you, and why? How has she influenced your dreams and aspirations?

The essay contest winner will have a one-on-one meeting via phone or videoconference with Anita Diamant, author of "The Red Tent," several guides to Jewish practice, and the New York Times best-seller, "The Boston Girl;" and the winner's work may also be published in Hadassah Magazine. 
The video contest winner will have an opportunity to have a one-on-one meeting with Amanda Lipitz, a Tony Award Broadway producer and documentary filmmaker, via telephone or videoconference; and the winner's work may also be featured on the Hadassah Foundation's web site and/or in a video about the Hadassah Foundation's Chai Year.  Ms. Lipitz served as Executive Producer and Creator of MTV's groundbreaking series Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods; her documentary, STEP, was shown at the Sundance Festival and will be distributed by FOX Searchlight.     
All entries must be submitted electronically, along with an official entry form, BY 5:00 PM EST MONDAY, JULY 10, 2017.

A copy of the guidelines, and the entry form, can be downloaded here.

All Good Things Come to an End....

Our final day of the Mission last week included visits to two grantees.  First up was the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, where we learned about their efforts to help women who are trying to secure a get, a Jewish religious divorce. They also told us about their efforts to help ultra-Orthodox women secure their place on the ballot--Ultra-Orthodox parties normally do not let women run as candidates.  Our last visit of the trip was to Kav LaOved, whose staff, pictured above, are helping migrant women who work as caretakers to elderly and disabled Israelis.  About 80% of these workers are female, and many work 24/7 under very difficult conditions.

Eating our Way through a Druze Village

On our way back from Haifa, we stopped off in Daliat Ein Carmel, where we met a Druze woman, Hikam (far right), whose catering business is growing thanks to the support of our grantee, Economic Empowerment for Women.  EEW provides support to entrepreneurs for five years, helping them through their most difficult years. Naturally, we had to sample some of Hikam's delicious wares for lunch....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Improving Conditions for Contract Workers

Our grantee, the Haifa-based Isha L'Isha (board members and staff, above), is aiding women who clean buildings in that city's municipal buildings. These workers are employed by a contractor, who underpays them and denies them benefits. They are putting pressure on the city to employ them directly.

Integrating Arab Israeli Teachers into Jewish Schools

We started the day with a visit to Jewish elementary school in Haifa, where our grantee Merchavim has placed several teachers of Arab Israeli background. There is a surplus of Arab Israeli women trained as teachers, and a shortage of English, math, and science teachers in Jewish schools. The teachers we met, above, said they felt welcomed and at home at the Jewish school.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Supporting Female Entrepreneurs in South Tel Aviv

Our final stop of the day was to our grantee Microfy, which is helping female entrepreneurs like    Orly and Keren, pictured above, in South Tel Aviv, a depressed part of the city. Microfy provides training and on-going support to these women via mentoring and a business forum, where they can network and learn from each other.

Strengthening the Environment for Female Entrepreneurs in the Negev

At our visit to the Adva Center, we learned about the role of the Mayor's advisors on women's issues, a position every municipality is required to have--but only a handful fund as a full-time position. Edna Sabag, of the Beersheva Municipality, above right, is one of those rare women. Along with Adva staff, also pictured above, she has created a network for these women. Their new project, which is funded by the Foundation, is to improve the environment in the Negev for Jewish and Bedouin businesswomen. Three businesswomen from each of 20 cities in the region will create locally tailored efforts.

Securing Economic Rights for Israeli Women

Our grantee, Itach-Maaki, fights for the rights of economically insecure women in Israel.  Today, they told us about their efforts to help Bedouin women in polygamous marriages, especially when they have been abused by their husbands, and their work on behalf of the 30,000 (low paid) Israeli women who work as teachers' assistants, and who are ill represented by the main workers' union.

Training Women for Hi-Tech Jobs

We were in Lod to visit our grantee Machshava Tova, which is training women in app development for phones and other mobile devices. We wished a hearty mazal tov to program graduate Tikvah, above right (standing next to Ornit Ben Yashar, the organization's director), who will start a new, better paying job next week!

Finding Work for Arab-Israeli Women

Our grantee, Tishreen, is working with Arab-Israeli women in the lower Triangle region to find work. Their program focuses on job readiness skills, Hebrew instruction, and confidence building. Given the paucity of jobs in the different villages, the women are prepared for positions such as kindergarten assistants and cashiers in Jewish settings.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Catching up with our Tannenbaum Winners

We were fortunate to have dinner with two of our Israeli Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize winners: 2014 winner Yifat Bitton, founder of Tmura, and Lilach Tzur Ben-Moshe, the 2016 winner, who founded Turning the Tables. Bitton, second from right in the first row, uses the legal system to fight for the rights of women, and Ben-Moshe, pictured to her left, works with women exiting prostitution. The Tannenbaum Prize is awarded annually to an emerging leader in Israel or the US who has advanced the cause of girls and women. The previous night at dinner, we were able to catch up with the inaugural Tannenbaum winner, Vardit Dameiri Madar, a social justice lawyer who recently left her long-time position at Foundation grantee Yedid for a new job heading up the legal clinic at Hebrew University.

Securing Housing for Poor Israeli Women

We visited our grantee Shatil, which is working to ensure that women who live in public housing are able to do so with dignity. They are also working to  increase the supply of public housing, since there is a 30,000+ waiting list. Shatil staff, pictured above, are training female residents--70%+ of public housing residents are single female parents--to know their rights and advocate for themselves. They scored a recent win: 5 percent of all new housing units must be reserved for those eligible for public housing. Shatil and the women are also advocating to liberalize eligibility criteria: as of now, a women must have extremely limited/no income, receive no alimony, have at least 3 children, and cannot have a spouse or significant other at the same residence.

Hadassah Hospital

At our stop at Hadassah Hospital, there were two special treats: a tour of the world-famous Chagall windows, and meeting a truly inspirational woman, Naela Hayek (pictured above.) She is a head nurse in the ICU division, and co-founded Nurses in the Middle East, which seeks common ground among nurses in the region. She recently presented her project at the UN!

Boosting Haredi Female Entrepreneurs

Our first stop of the day was at our grantee PresenTense, which, in cooperation with another nonprofit, Temech, is helping ultra-Orthodox women grow their small businesses. This includes women like Reizy Heller (above left, pictured alongside PresenTense and Temech staff), who markets the work of her husband, a prominent caricature artist in the Haredi community.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Financial Literacy for Russian-Speaking Immigrants

Our new grantee, Project Kesher-Israel, helps Russian-speaking immigrants navigate the Israeli financial system, be more savvy consumers, and save money. PKI staff, pictured above, report that the women they help can now achieve life-long dreams with their savings--such as visiting distant loved ones.

WePower: Promoting Women's Leadership in Israel

WePower, a nonpartisan organization, trains Israeli women to run for political office. We met three outstanding women (above, first row, center three, left to right) who have been impacted by Foundation-supported programs: 1) Lia Shteinberg, a first term City Council member in Lod working to provide support to other first term city councilwomen, so they will run for a second term; 2) Shiran Revah, who hopes to serve as a city manager before running for office; and 3) Rajaa Abu-Hia, who hopes to be the first Druze woman ever elected to an Israeli office!

Improving Prospects for Ethiopian Women

We were pleased to meet with our grantee, the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University.  For several years, we supported their program to train ulta-Orthodox women for jobs in the early-childhood sector. We now support a similar program targeting Ethiopian immigrant women. Many now work as cleaning women, and a job in the preschool sector would be a significant step up the ladder for them.

Fighting for the Rights of Israeli Women

The first "working" morning of the Foundation Mission focused on the rights of Israeli women. We began the day with a visit to the Israeli Knesset, to visit Knesset Member Zehava Galon. Although she represents the left-of-center Meretz Party, she felt there was definite cross-party support (especially among the Knesset's 33 female members) on such issues as domestic abuse and creating a legal case against "economic violence" (e.g. when a man denies his wife access to her bank account.)  
We then met with Susan Weiss (above, center, in white pants and grey sweater in group photo), director of the Center for Women's Justice. This legal advocacy group takes on precedent-setting cases on behalf of women who want to stem the abuses of the Israeli rabbinic courts in cases of divorce, conversion, and marriage.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Eating our Way Through Jerusalem

Today, Hadassah Foundation Board members had a tasting tour of Machaneh Yehudah, the central market in Jerusalem. Above, we sample foods with Yuval Attias, a chef who led our outting. We then accompanied Yuval to a kitchen, where we prepared our Israeli Arabic lunch.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

And We Begin....

The Hadassah Foundation began its "pre-mission" to Israel this evening with a lovely dinner in Jerusalem.  (Pictured above: Highly-sated Board members!) Over the next few days, we will engage in some touring and a celebration of Shabbat, before begining the heart of our work on Sunday: visiting our grantees.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Hadassah Foundation at #jfn2017

The Hadassah Foundation's Founding Chair, Barbara Dobkin (above, left) spoke today at a panel about women's philanthropy at the Jewish Funders Network conference, an international gathering of Jewish philanthropists and foundation professionals. Scholars from the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America have been featured in several sessions, and tomorrow, the Foundation will host a breakfast conversation for funders interested in leadership programs for girls and women.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Foundation Grantee Creating a Feminist Haggadah on Rape Culture

Last weekend, the Foundation visited its grantee, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Research Training Internship, where high school girls are leaning how to do research from a feminist perspective and influence local thought leaders.  This year, the girls are focusing on rape culture within the Jewish community, and are creating a Passover haggadah that will highlight this issue.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

JCC Chicago Creates Teen Social Entrepreneurs

The Hadassah Foundation visited the JCC Chicago to see our grantee, the Project Teen--Seed613 Teen Girl program, which encourages high school girls to become social entrepreneurs. The girls are creating a range of projects to benefit their community, and hope to impact local agencies that help high school youth, homeless teen girls, and the hungry. Sunday's session focused on creating a "prototype" in order to test a thesis or project.  Here, a participant has created a model sandal to be used on a hypothetical trip--this lesson will help the girls create prototypes for their own enterprises.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Adva Center visits the Hadassah Foundation

Our offices are in NYC...and yet about two-thirds of our funds go to Israeli organizations every year.  So it is always a special treat when one of our Israeli grantee partners makes the trek to our office! Valeria Seigelshifer (above left), Director of Gender Projects at the Tel Aviv-based Adva Center, dropped by today to discuss its efforts to strengthen Jewish and Bedouin female business owners in the Negev, a project supported by the Foundation.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hadassah Foundation at Hadassah Chicago--North Shore

The Hadassah Foundation spoke to members of Hadassah Chicago--North Shore board today, enabling them to learn about our many grantees. Two Chicago-area programs are current grantees, and there is the potential for collaboration between the programs and local chapters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Grantee Staffer Named to JCCA Fellowship Program

Julie Minor, the program manager for the JCC Chicago's Project Teen--Seed 613 program, a Foundation grantee, was selected to participate in the Merrin Teen Professional Fellows program.  This program, run by the Jewish Community Centers Association (the central organization for JCCs across the country), is an 18-month long professional development program for staffers who work with teens at JCCs and their affiliated camps. The fellowship provides an intensive, transformative professional development program for early-career JCC professionals. It supports their growth within the JCC movement, in their work with teens, and their growth as a Jewish communal professional. There are four core areas of focus for the cohort: Jewish Literacy, Understanding Adolescence, Networking, and Leadership. The program includes 5 seminars, with the third seminar held in Israel.

At the JCC Chicago, Julie oversees the Project Teen--Seed 613 program, a social entrepreneurship program for teens; the Foundation supports an all-female cohort of the program. Congrats Julie!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hadassah Foundation Announces New Israel Grants

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 $330,000 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. In 2017, the Foundation is marking its  "Chai" anniversary—18 years (and more than $7.6 million in grants to over 90 nonprofit organizations) devoted to improving the lives the girls and women.


Last year, the Foundation made grants totaling $545,000—it awarded $365,000 to 21 Israeli organizations which work to support Israeli women from all walks of life, as well as $180,000 to six organizations in the United States as part of its initiative to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.


Julie Morris, Chair of the Foundation, said, "Our grantees are striving to make Israel a more equitable place for women, and lifting motivated women out of poverty."


In addition to two first-time grantees, the Foundation also awarded "sustaining" grants for the fifth 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 2017 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


  • Adva, $10,000: For the Negev Forum of Women Business Leaders, which aims to increase the economic power of Bedouin and Jewish businesswomen from more than 20 Negev communities, who will receive training and mentoring so they can plan and implement civic initiatives that increase women's economic opportunities.


  • 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:  For the Advancing the Rights of Women in Public Housing program, which aims to protect the rights of single mothers in public housing—an estimated 77% of the families in public housing are headed by single women—and expand eligibility criteria so that more such families can get housing support.


  • Yedid, $8,000: For the Single Mothers for Change, which strives 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: For the Enhancing Security in the Workplace project, which 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:  For the Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools Initiative, which 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, $20,000:  For a legal assistance and advocacy program to improve working conditions of 60,000 migrant caregivers working in Israel, 80% of whom are women and the vast majority of whom are working under problematic conditions.


  • Workers' Advice Center—Ma'an, $25,000:  For the Arab Women in Agriculture program, which 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):  For the promotion of asset development among low-income women who manage microenterprises, based on the U.S. model of the Individual Development Account.


  • Project Kesher Israel, $12,000:  For financial training to women from the former Soviet Union, who, due to language and cultural issues, do not know how to manage their finances or work with Israeli financial institutions.                                                                  


Business Training & Entrepreneurship


  • Microfy, $18,000:  For a women's business forum for nascent business owners from South Tel Aviv.      
  • PresenTense, $24,000:  For the 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:  For the Towards Integrating Women in the Male Trades project, which 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.


  • Machshava Tova, $20,000:  For a program that trains low-income women in app (application) development, so they can gain a foothold in the rapidly developing mobile telephone data field.


  • The National Council of Jewish Women Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University, $25,000:  For the Training Ethiopian Women for the Workforce as Educators in the Pre-School Sector program, which will enable these women to bring much-needed income into their lower-income homes.


  • Tishreen, $25,000:  For a job readiness program for Arab Israeli women from the Southern Triangle region. 


  • Women's Spirit, $5,000:  For the Seeds of Growth 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


  • WEPOWER, $25,000:  For a program to support women completing their first five-year term as city council members to run for a second term, since, traditionally, half of such women do not run for second term.