The following photos and letters are from YES Fund grant recipients. Because you said "YES," we could provide scholarships to students at HUC-JIR, WUPJ, overseas rabbinical colleges, URJ Camps, and more!
Read their thank you letters below!
Early Childhood Education of Reform Judaism
As we finish the debrief from the ECE-RJ conference earlier this month, I just wanted to write and thank you again for the generous YES Fund grant awarded to us for this event. As you may have already heard, more than 150 Jewish Early Childhood Educators came together in San Diego for four days of learning, reflection, networking, and inspiration. It was truly an amazing experience, and so many of these professionals would not have been able to come if not for the financial support that the grant provided. The reverberations of this conference will ripple through early childhood centers in congregations across the country.
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Thank you to WRJ for the YES Fund grant to support the WRJ Legislative Assistant at the RAC. This donation allows us to be effective advocates on Capitol Hill, to expand and deepen our work in individual states, to develop the tools and resources used by synagogues across North America, and to run educational and training programs that serve more than 3,000 leaders a year — rabbinic and social justice lay leaders, young activists, and adults alike. Together, we rise to meet the call to bring tikkun, or repair, to our world as we place equity and compassion at the core of Reform Jewish life.
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
On behalf of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, I would like to thank you for your recent pledge payment of $60,000 in support of the HUC-JIR Scholarship Assistance Fund. Your investment ensures the excellence of our faculty and programs and supports the academic and spiritual journeys of our students as they aspire to lead the Jewish people.
Your gift will provide for the next generation of talented rabbis, cantors, scholars, educators, and nonprofit leaders who will shape the future of Jewish life, learning, and practice in North America, Israel, and across the globe. Thank you for helping us to create a community of leadership and philanthropy that will sustain and guide us for years to come.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Chief Philanthropy Officer
URJ 6-Point Sci Tech Academy Campers
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to attend URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy this summer. Without your help, I wouldn’t have been able to attend such a wonderful camp. I learned so much about myself, Judaism, science, and technology. I made so many friends whom I can relate with about being Jewish and I hope these friendships will last for my whole life.
I loved the community at Sci-Tech, I felt everyone there understood me and was supportive of me. Learning was fun and interesting and the teachers and counselors were very knowledgeable on so many topics. I was excited every day to make more memories and to learn. I would recommend this camp to all my Jewish friends, even if they don’t already love science, because Sci-Tech is such an amazing place.
Women of the Wall
Thank you for your generous gift to Women of the Wall. Your solidarity with us takes many forms. High among them is your decision to join us during your recent visit to Israel. Having you with us gave us a boost of energy. You may think you sent us money, but you actually sent us TIKVA, hope.
Our prayer book opens with words of thanks to you, WRJ. You stand behind every one of our Siddurim, making your slogan “stronger together” a reality. Your gift is an expression of faith in our struggle for equality and religious pluralism at the Western Wall. I am grateful that you have the courage to take a stand with us and fight for our shared values.
“There is a crack - a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen).
The Wall is filled with cracks; many of them are packed with handwritten notes of people's deepest wishes for good. Yet at that very same place, the worst of Israel is played out— all that is broken and split in our community of Jews.
The atrocious treatment by those who wish to keep us from practicing our own religion and traditions at the Wall is palpable evidence of the damages done by the Ultra-Orthodox monopoly over religion in Israel. Our tradition teaches us that if you believe that something precious can be destroyed, you must also believe that it can be repaired. You share with us a commitment to TIKKUN OLAM.
Women of the Wall is determined to mend the fractured and heal the trauma. We are all very grateful for your powerful expression of faith in us.
Ora Jacobsen - R’25
I am grateful and honored to have received WRJ's YES Fund scholarship to support my education at HUC-JIR. Thank you for your generosity in helping me on my journey to the rabbinate and Jewish leadership.
When I came to Judaism in my adulthood, I discovered something I didn’t even know I needed; spirituality, groundedness, and an inspiring worldview. As I studied to become Jewish, I noticed how my newfound engagement with Judaism influenced people around me. I began getting the “I always wanted to ask my rabbi this, but…” questions. My expression of my Judaism and my approachability encouraged those around me to engage with their Judaism. Years later, my love of learning hasn’t stopped. I’ve pursued the rabbinate to help others engage in their Judaism because our tradition holds so much meaning and beauty if we choose to look.
It is such a joy to be on the New York campus this Fall. I am beyond thankful for your kindness and support of my education. As a second-career student, the financial transition back to being a student is financially challenging. Your gift makes it possible for me to make this career change, and I am grateful.
Eden Glaser - R'25
I am an honored recipient of a WRJ YES Fund scholarship at HUC-JIR. I am deeply appreciative that you are helping to provide me with the opportunity to become a rabbi. Your generosity will not only allow me to complete my education but begin my rabbinate with less financial strain so that I may serve any Jewish community.
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and was active at Temple Ahavat Shalom, and Camp Alonim during my formative years. These two institutions, combined with the culture within my family, instilled within me a deep love for Judaism. In high school, I was the poster child for the youth section of Jewish Queer International and found myself within that organization. By college, I knew I wanted to be a rabbi.
In the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, my mother passed away. The last several months have been trying, to say the least. Luckily, at HUC, I was able to connect with my peers on a deep and lasting level. I am beyond grateful for the new community of friends I have joined.
Now, I am the student rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob in El Centro, California. Though I have not had an in-person visit, I am beginning to bond with congregants as we pray, learn, and sing together. I am also teaching sixth grade Judaica and Hebrew at Temple Judea in Tarzana, California.
Again, your gift of generosity has enabled me to find a new home in HUC. Not only am I thriving academically, but I am also a member of a sacred community, which I desperately needed during the most difficult year of my life. Thank you for providing me with this blessing.