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Hadassah Foundation Elects New Chair Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson Takes Reins of Largest Jewish Women’s Foundation

Ricky Cheung


(New York, NY -- October 27, 2006) -- Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, Director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, has been elected Chair of the board of the Hadassah Foundation, it was announced by June Walker, National President of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. In addition, Kathleen B. Levin, Los Angeles civic leader; Trisha S. Margulies, Major Gifts Chair of Hadassah College Jerusalem; and Donna Orender, President of the Women’s National Basketball Association, have been named as directors of the board.

Rabbi Ellenson, of New York City, succeeds Founding Chair Barbara Dobkin, who has served since 1999. Dobkin is a pioneer and visionary in the Jewish community as a donor-activist for programs to empower women and girls.

The Foundation, the largest Jewish women’s foundation in the U.S, is dedicated to making social change for women and girls. A focus on economic security for low-income women guides the Foundation’s work in Israel. In the United States, the Foundation funds programs that help adolescent girls build self-esteem and make healthy lifestyle choices. By supporting these projects, the Foundation aims to encourage and facilitate the active participation of women and girls in decision-making and leadership in all spheres of life. Established with a $10 million permanent endowment fund, the Foundation has granted more than $3 million to more than 40 organizations in the United States and Israel, seeking to bring the contributions, issues and needs of women and girls from the margins to the center of Jewish concern.

According to June Walker: “Jacqueline Ellenson has been a dedicated and respected member of the Foundation’s board for three years, and we are looking forward to her continued leadership and insight. All of these women share a commitment to social change, and with their diverse professional and community experiences, will inform the Foundation’s agenda in unique ways as we move forward in funding innovative projects for women and girls.”

These newly-appointed directors join 14 others on a board, which is comprised of women from the Hadassah National Board, from its membership at large and from the wider Jewish community both in this country and overseas.

Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson currently serves as the Director of the Women's Rabbinic Network, the international organization of women who are Reform rabbis and rabbinic students. From 1991-2002, she was the Jewish Chaplain at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Her responsibilities included teaching and curriculum development for health, religion, and ethics courses, student counseling and outreach to Jewish students. Prior to that, Rabbi Ellenson's professional activities included work in synagogue education, adult education and hospital chaplaincy. She also has held leadership positions with the Women's Rabbinic Network and Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Rabbi Ellenson currently serves on the board of the Rodeph Sholom School in New York and of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction. She is beginning her fourth year as a leader for a Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! group at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. She has recently completed the Rabbinic Leadership Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and is in training to be a spiritual director.

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