May 31, 2022 - Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund, has awarded $300,500 in grants to 20 programs that will strengthen Jewish life and provide the necessary support for religious, social, and educational growth in North America, Israel, and worldwide.
These grants help nurture Jewish engagement by supporting youth and family programs and post-college Jewish advocacy fellowships. Other grants provide rabbinic and graduate student scholarships globally. Grantees in Israel include those that are fostering pluralistic Jewish spaces. Other funding supports the Reform Movement's efforts to create an equitable workplace for all and increase visibility in communities, uplifting Jews from all backgrounds.
WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla J. Feldman says, "Since our founding in 1913, WRJ has been a primary funder of Reform Jewish causes, raising millions of dollars through the YES Fund and other philanthropic efforts to empower the future leaders of tomorrow."
The 2022-2023 WRJ philanthropic grants were awarded to the following organizations and programs:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grants
• Avodah Jews of Color Bayit & Leadership Development, $10,000: This renewed grant will continue to provide the opportunity for Jews of Color in Avodah's Jewish Service Corps in NYC to live together in a culturally competent space while also expanding leadership development opportunities across all of Avodah's sites.
• Jewtina y Co. Puentes Leadership and Resiliency Fellowship $10,000: WRJ's funding will support an in-person retreat, as part of a four-month program, providing participants with monthly opportunities to learn online from Latin-American activists and change makers. This grant will raise Jewtina's visibility and provide additional tools for Latin-Jewish community building.
• LUNAR: The Jewish-Asian Film Project, $10,000: This grant renewal allows LUNAR to create two short films and engage in community building among Asian American Jews and Jews of Color (JOC) in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York, and in two new communities.
The Reform Jewish Community of Canada Roadmap to Reconciliation, $10,000: WRJ's support enables the creation of "Shabbatons of Reconciliation," which will help Reform communities learn about the history of colonialism and systemic discrimination against Canada's Indigenous peoples. It will also offer ways to change negative behaviors and strengthen relationships with local Indigenous communities and organizations.
• URJ NFTYx and NFTY Teen Leadership, $15,000: This grant underwrites teen programming and leadership training, creating the next generation of Reform Jewish leaders.
• URJ Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellowship, $10,000: This leadership and activism initiative, run by Moving Traditions and NFTY, provides advocacy training to high school students who identify as feminists.
• Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa Arab-Jewish Summer Camp, $10,000: This grant supports a camp that brings together Arab and Jewish families for week-long programming that promotes cross-cultural understanding and friendship.
• Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa DEI Programming, $7,500: This funding supports Leo Baeck's middle school's initiative, "Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Starts with Me." It creates leadership opportunities for young women through student-led projects.
• Women of the Wall (WOW) Israeli High School Feminism Programming, $7,500: WRJ supports the launch of WOW's program, "Feminism and Religion: A Curriculum for Israeli High School Students." This program will engage high school students in topics such as gender equality and discrimination while giving them the tools to act for social change in their communities.
• HUC-JIR Student Scholarships, $72,000: WRJ funds student scholarships and awards at each HUC-JIR campus (NYC, Cincinnati, L.A., and Jerusalem).
• Overseas Rabbinical Scholarships, $16,000: WRJ supports rabbinical students studying at Abraham Geiger College (Potsdam) and Ibero-American Institute of Reform Rabbinical Training (Buenos Aries) that will serve Reform and Progressive communities outside of North America and Israel upon ordination.
• World Union of Progressive Judaism Prayer Leader Training Program, $16,000: WRJ's grant supports the Shlichei Tzibur (prayer leader) Training Program, which is designed to encourage more women in the Reform and Progressive movement worldwide to learn how to serve as congregational prayer leaders, particularly in underserved communities.
• Ibero-American Institute of Reform Rabbinical Training - Women's Leadership Development Training, $10,000: WRJ will fund a pilot initiative to provide increased leadership development training for female-identifying students throughout Latin America, offering opportunities for these students to spend time in communities working as prayer leaders to address local spiritual needs.
• Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) Eisendrath Legislative Assistant (Washington, D.C.), $36,000: This grant funds a year-long fellowship for a recent college graduate interested in the intersection of Judaism, social justice, policy, and women's rights issues.
• Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism (ECE-RJ) 2022 Conference, $15,000: WRJ will support the implementation of ECE-RJ's 2022 Conference. WRJ's sponsorship provides needed budgetary support, allowing for lower registration fees, and making their conference more accessible for attendees.
• Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) National Egalitarian B'not and B'nei Mitzvah Project, $12,000: This grant enables IMPJ to create digital kits, train Reform rabbis to use new resources, and engage other women in participating families (grandmothers, aunts) in B'not Mitzvah studies and Aliyah L'Torah ceremonies for secular Jews in Israel, particularly for young girls.
• Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), $12,000: WRJ's support helps promote equality in the public domain and works to end religious extremism in Israel. This grant allows IRAC to work closely with police to collect evidence of hate crimes, increase IRAC's own monitoring, raise awareness in the Knesset, launch an educational campaign on social media, and, if necessary, pursue legal action against the Municipality.
• Women's Rabbinic Network's (WRN) Paid Family and Medical Leave Project, $10,000: WRJ supports WRN's dissemination of crucial resources surrounding paid family and medical leave to Reform institutions and congregations.
• Women's Rabbinic Network's (WRN) International In-gathering, $6,000: WRJ will underwrite an international gathering of female-identifying rabbis in 2022-2023.
• Fundación Judaica Beit Shira Israel Music & Training School, $5,000: This grant will grow Fundación Judaica's program by supporting young prayer leaders within their music school who wish to serve Spanish-speaking Jewish communities, increasing their organizational reach, and touching communities across Argentina and throughout Latin America.
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is a network of Jewish women working together to empower women and communities worldwide through the bonds of sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice. WRJ, founded in 1913, is the women's affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. For more information about WRJ, please visit www.wrj.org
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