[New York, NY, September 14, 2020] … Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund, has awarded $268,000 in grants to 13 programs that will strengthen Jewish life and provide the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth in North America, in Israel, and around the world.
These grants will help nurture Jewish youth engagement by supporting youth and young adult programs around the world and post-college Jewish advocacy fellowships. Other grants will provide rabbinic and graduate student scholarships in North and South America, Europe, and the Former Soviet Union. Grantees in Israel include the Israel Religious Action Center and the Leo Baeck Educational Center in Haifa, Israel. Other funding will support the Reform Movement’s efforts to creating a more equal workplace for all and efforts to protect reproductive health and rights access in North America.
Since its founding in 1913, WRJ has been a primary funder of Reform and Progressive Jewish causes, raising millions of dollars through its YES Fund and other philanthropic efforts. Major historic initiatives have included building the dormitory at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, purchasing the land for the former Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) headquarters in New York City, establishing the Jewish Braille Institute (now JBI International), founding North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), helping to establish the first Reform youth camp, and publishing the landmark The Torah: A Woman’s Commentary.
The 2020-2021 WRJ philanthropic grants were awarded to the following organizations and programs:
- URJ Camps Sustainability Support, $11,000: This grant provides URJ with ongoing support for their summer camps, which were unable to run in 2020 because of COVID-19. WRJ encourages and supports the participation of girls in summer experiences including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities.
- URJ NFTY Kol Koleinu Feminism Fellowship, $9,500: This initiative is a feminist leadership and activism fellowship run by Moving Traditions and NFTY. It is open to high school students who identify as a feminist and who are interested in advocacy training.
- URJ NFTY Teen Leadership, $7,500: WRJ is underwriting continued teen programming and leadership training, creating the next generation of Reform and Progressive leaders.
- Emergency Grant to Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa for Remote Learning, $5,000: This emergency grant provided computers and additional learning resources to underserved students who were moved to remote schooling during the pandemic.
- HUC-JIR Student Scholarships, $72,000: WRJ supports student scholarships and awards at each campus of HUC-JIR (NYC, Cincinnati, LA, and Jerusalem).
- Overseas Rabbinical Scholarships, $35,000: These scholarships support rabbinical students studying at Leo Baeck College (London), Abraham Geiger College (Potsdam), and Instituto Rabinico Program (Buenos Aries), who will serve Reform and Progressive communities outside of North America and Israel upon ordination.
- Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) Eisendrath Legislative Assistant (Washington, D.C.), $30,000: This year-long fellowship allows a recent college graduate interested in the intersection of Judaism, social justice, and policy to dedicate time to raising awareness about issues of concern specific to women’s rights.
- Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) life cycle programming, $12,000: Funding for Progressive congregations to meet the needs of secular and traditional families who are searching for spiritual and meaningful ways to celebrate life cycle events.
- Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), $8,000: WRJ recognizes efforts on behalf of IRAC to promote equality in the public domain and end religious extremism as they address segregation and exclusion based on gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more.
- Leo Baeck Education Center Leadership Development Project, $7,000: This program provides diverse leadership development in Haifa for Jewish and Christian Maronite women, emerging synagogue lay leaders, and parents with young children.
- Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN), $1,000: WRJ is supporting WRN’s year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of women in the rabbinate.
Other Philanthropic Grants
- WRJ-RAC Reproductive Health & Rights Campaign, $40,000: WRJ is funding a special initiative that advocates, informs, and empowers women to take on reproductive rights and ensure justice for women.
- Reform Pay Equity Initiative Grant to Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) for Clergy Monologues Project, $30,000: This allocation funds the production of videos and study guides to educate congregations, organizations, rabbis, and others about unconscious bias.
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), founded in 1913, is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values.