[New York, NY, August 14, 2019] … Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund, has awarded $309,300 in grants to 17 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 programs around the world, including youth and young adult programs in North America and in Israel, post-college Jewish advocacy fellowships, Bat Mitzvah education for Israeli girls, and scholarships for girls to attend science and technology summer camp. Other grants will provide rabbinic and graduate student scholarships in North and South America, Europe, and the Former Soviet Union.
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. Major 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 2019-2020 WRJ YES Fund grants were awarded to the following organizations and programs:
- URJ Millennial Engagement, $50,000: This program will engage Millennials and 20’s/30’s on their own terms, reflecting their values and the ways they interact with the world around them. The network will revitalize and expand the Reform Movement’s role in leading and inspiring the next generation.
- World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Youth Programs, $10,000: This grant supports the Reform Movement’s international gap year program in Israel.
- URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy Scholarships for Girls, $15,000: WRJ encourages and supports the participation of girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields through camp scholarships.
- HUC-JIR Student Scholarships, $96,300: WRJ supports student scholarships and awards at each campus of HUC-JIR (NYC, Cincinnati, LA, Jerusalem).
- HUC-JIR Rabbi Aaron D. Panken z”l Professorships, $18,000: Established in memory of Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, President of HUC-JIR from 2014-2018.
- Overseas Rabbinic Scholarships, $40,000: These scholarships support rabbinic students studying at Leo Baeck College (London), Abraham Geiger College (Potsdam), Instituto Rabinico Program (Buenos Aries), and the World Union for Progressive Judaism Machon Program (Moscow), 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 work on WRJ’s social justice legislative priorities and initiatives.
- Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) life cycle programming, $20,000: This programming includes the Mother Daughter Bat Mitzvah Project, which empowers young girls and strengthens their Jewish identity by emphasizing equality, life transitions, and connection to Judaism and the community.
- Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), $10,000: This grant supports advocacy efforts on behalf of religious pluralism, women, and vulnerable populations in Israel.
- ARZA Campaign for the World Zionist Organization, $10,000: This grant will support ARZA’s efforts in the upcoming World Zionist Congress elections.
- WRJ Choice Grant, $10,000: Individuals from across the Reform Movement are invited to vote for their favorite among several worthy causes to receive a grant from WRJ.
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.