I had the honor of speaking to the next generation of Jewish women leaders at Sunday's Graduation Ceremony for the Rising Voices Fellowship, a program of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) that is supported by the Hadassah Foundation, where I serve as a Board member.
Launched in 2013, the JWA's Rising Voices Fellowship (www.jwa.org/risingvoices) is a national program for female-identified teens in 10th-12th grades who have an interest in feminism, Judaism, social justice, and writing. The Fellowship teaches teens how to develop authentic voices, strengthen their leadership through writing, and influence important conversations in the Jewish community.
I found this year's cohort to be sophisticated, intelligent, and thought-provoking leaders. This group came from New York, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona. I was particularly impressed with their discussions about the female role models in their lives (including their mothers and grandmothers, and female rabbis and cantors) and the impact these women had on shaping the thoughts of these young women regarding feminism, activism and leadership. It's clear to me that this group will be influential feminist leaders at their colleges and beyond.
JWA is a national organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women. JWA's website, jwa.org, is the world's largest collection of information about Jewish women, drawing more than 1.6 million visitors a year from all over the world. JWA also hosts public programs, sparks conversations through its podcast and blog and on social media, offers acclaimed educational programs, and is a leader among feminist, Jewish, and historical organizations. I am proud to be a former Board member and Treasurer of JWA; I currently serve on its Finance and Investment Committees.
I'm so proud of the girls I met, and am honored to serve on the Board of the Hadassah Foundation.
--Roz Garber Toledano
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