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Marking the Foundation’s Bat Mitzvah

The Hadassah Foundation: Celebrating Its Bat Mitzvah Year
13 Year of Grant making in Support of Girls and Young Women


To celebrate 13 years of grant making in support of empowering Jewish girls and young women, The Hadassah Foundation brought its message to ever larger and new audiences in 2012.

In December, it held a symposium on how the Jewish community can better serve this critical population group. The panel featured women with deep expertise working with, and advocating for, the needs of Jewish girls and young women: Eve Landau, Founding Executive Director, Ma'yan; Deborah Meyer, Executive Director, Moving Traditions; Laura Shaw-Frank, Board Member, Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance; Ronit Sherwin, Executive Director, University of Delaware Hillel and the founder and former director of Nishmah: The St. Louis Jewish Women's Project. The program was moderated by Gabrielle Birkner, Founding Editor, the Jewish Daily Forward's "The Sisterhood" blog.

"Through this symposium we seek to initiate a thoughtful conversation about real-life issues impacting young women and girls," said Donna Gerson, Chair of the Hadassah Foundation. "By convening leaders from diverse organizations, we hope to spur creative solutions to strengthen the Jewish community."

A recording of the symposium can be downloaded here

Earlier in the year, the Foundation awarded 13 mini-grants to organizations in 11 states serving Jewish young people. The 13 Bat Mitzvah Year Mini-Grants supported new or expanded programming that promotes the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of Jewish girls and young women. Recipients of the $500 mini-grants include organizations from all major Jewish denominations, synagogues, day schools, Hillels, a community-based organization doing outreach to people in their 20's, an after-school high school program, and a local board of Jewish education.

The following organizations were awarded Bat Mitzvah Year Mini-Grants:

Shearim Torah High School for Girls, Scottsdale, Ariz.: To conduct a leadership training program for their students.

Bureau of Jewish Education, San Francisco, Calif.: To enhance their Rosh Hodesh programming with yoga instruction.

Temple Kol Tikvah, Woodland Hills, Calif.: To create a female mentorship program, linking teen girls with adult female members, based on the teens' potential career interests.

Hillel Foundation at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.: To hold a three-part workshop series that promotes self-esteem and healthy living among young Jewish women.

Congregation Agudath Achim, Taunton, Mass.: To create multiple programs on healthy dating relationships, targeting teens, parents, and college students from across southeastern Massachusetts.

Temple Beth El, Traverse City, Mich.: To conduct a program about young Jewish women and their mentors, featuring a film about photojournalist Ruth Gruber and a panel of leading local women in northern Michigan.

Next Dor STL, St. Louis, Mo.: To create a monthly Rosh Hodesh program for women in their 20's.

Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell, N.J.: To conduct a program about how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.

Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Flushing, N.Y.: To start a Rosh Hodesh program for teen girls.

Chapel Hill Kehillah Synagogue, Chapel Hill, N.C.: To implement a wellness program that advances girl power, health and leadership.

Hillel at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio: To conduct a personal safety, assault prevention and self-defense workshop for young women in the college community.

B'nai Brith Youth Organization, Ohio Northern Region, Beachwood, Ohio: To enhance its B-Fit program for teenage girls with workshops about bullying, planning for college and personal finance.

The Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, Melrose Park, Penn.: To use a curriculum that explores the issues surrounding dating and its power struggles that can lead to violence with local teens.


Hadassah Foundation Board members at the December symposium.

Panelists at the December symposium.

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