JWFN Collaborative Grant in Israel: Addressing Abusive Employment through a Gender Lens Periodical Update

 Rivki, a kindergarten assistant, approached Itach-Ma'aki Women Lawyers for Social Justice, after her employer (Sha’arei Zion ultra-Orthodox kindergartens) demanded that she should agree to have 50 shekels deducted from her salary each month for “rabbinical jurisdiction". Rivki, who is fired every summer and rehired at the start of the new school year, is forced to settle any dispute with her employer through a “religious arbitrator” who is the local community’s rabbi.

Rivki is employed by the hour, at a rate lower than minimum wage, receives no pension, vacation time or sick days as required by law. She is afraid to act against her employer since he is also responsible for her children’s education, and they could pay a communal price if Rivki were to seek legal remedy outside of the community.

Rivki’s story is commonplace among thousands of women working in the Recognized Un-Official (RO) stream of education.

Here are some facts and statistics about the Recognized Un-Official stream of education:

· Recognized Un-Official educational frameworks currently comprise 28% of all educational institutions in Israel.

· It is most prevalent in the Haredi community; 88% of all educational frameworks in this community are affiliated with it;

·  30,000 women: teachers, per-school teachers and aides are employed in RO educational framework;

·  While according to the law, these women are entitled to same conditions and rights of teaching staff in the public and public-religious streams, in reality, the institutions that employ them disregard the law and use internal pressures and arbitration mechanisms to deter employees from filing formal complaints and exercising their rights.

Our grantees are working to change this through:

1.     Individual empowerment and case by case enforcement: informing workers of their rights, individual counselling and legal aid vis-à-vis employers and taking individual cases to court.

2.     Policy advocacy: initiating special discussions in the Knesset Education and Status of Women Committees, advocating vis-à-vis the Ministry of Education and local authorities to urge them to abide by Supervision Regulations that stipulate their responsibility to monitor and correct violations of labor rights in educational framework operating under their jurisdiction.

Itach-Ma'aki is working with the evaluation specialist, Dr. Ayala Keissar-Sugerman to develop a logic-model, theory of change and clear benchmarks to monitor and assess progress.

The Nancy Schwartz Sternoff Fund for Women Changemakers

Nancy Schwartz Sternoff z”l

Nancy Schwartz Sternoff z”l

The Nancy Schwartz Sternoff Fund, established in loving memory of Nancy Schwartz Sternoff z”l, will provide financial support to self-identified women who are selected to participate in Bend the Arc’s Selah Leadership Program. The Fund will honor Nancy’s legacy as a distinguished alumna of the Selah program and a stalwart supporter of women’s leadership for progressive social change. In addition to her deep commitment to the promotion of Jewish women’s leadership, Nancy was an active Selah alumna, extending her wisdom and expertise to mentor many women in the program and providing wise counsel to staff and fellow alumni. With a goal of raising $300,000, the Nancy Schwartz Sternoff Fund will make it possible for all women selected for the program to participate regardless of their financial capacity. As someone who recognizes what a privilege it was to call Nancy a colleague, mentor, family, or friend, we ask that you help ensure her legacy and consider making a gift towards this endowment.

PURPOSE OF FUND: The purpose of the Fund is to ensure that self-identified women can access the transformative leadership experience of the Selah Leadership Program by removing financial barriers to participation. While Bend the Arc is able to subsidize participation (currently approximately $7,500 per participant) with the support of grant funding, there are participant costs related to tuition, event registration, and travel/lodging. For example, while financial aid is available to participate in a Selah cohort; this aid only covers room, board, materials, and training, but does not include travel expenses. Individual participants can incur costs ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 for a six-month Selah cohort. The Nancy Schwartz Sternoff Fund will assist self-identified women in participating in both cohort programming and alumni activities, including the Selah Network Gathering, a weekend-long convening of the full Selah alumni network that serves as an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with one another and refresh their relationship to the core principles and practices of Selah.

Read more about the Fund and Nancy here.

Remembering Nancy Schwartz Sternoff

It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of our dear friend and fearless leader, Nancy Schwartz Sternoff. May her memory be a blessing.

Nancy Schwartz Sternoff died on January 12, 2019 in New York, NY after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. An exceptional organizational strategist, fundraiser, and feminist leader, Nancy earned an M.A. in American Literature from NYU and a B.A. Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse University. Born in North Carolina, Nancy raised her children in Seattle. She spent her early career in politics, including as a top aide to former Congressman John Miller from 1984 to 1989. She then served as the Executive Director of the Women’s Department at the Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, and was the first and only Women’s Campaign Director in any major city to be promoted to Vice President at the Federation. Nancy also chaired the first Professional Institute of the Women’s Division of CJF/UJA.

In 1998, Nancy became the Director of the Dobkin Family Foundation, a pre-eminent funder of feminist leadership, advocacy, and women’s advancement. In that capacity, she served as an advisor to highly respected organizations such as the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Jewish Women’s Archive, among many others. In 2011, she launched G&S Consultants with Phyllis Teicher Goldman, bringing fundraising, governance, and communications expertise to myriad organizations that work at the intersection of social justice, feminism, and human rights.

Nancy was a force of nature, as gracious as she was fierce. She was a trailblazer, tireless advocate for women, and mentor to countless eager protégés; a world traveler, chef, challah baker, jam maker, and hostess nonpareil. She was a knitter of exquisite and extraordinary talent; an effortlessly chic dresser, meticulous grammarian, theater enthusiast, avid crossword and jigsaw puzzler, patron of the arts, early riser, posture enforcer, Southerner, and Brooklynite.

Nancy was ceaselessly generous with her time and served on the boards of several national organizations including American Jewish World Service, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Bikkurim, and the Jewish Funders Network. A beloved colleague, friend, and mentor to emerging leaders—particularly women—Nancy is remembered for her strength, wisdom, generosity, sharp humor, and passionate loyalty. Committed to empowering others, she selflessly loved, advised, fed, challenged, cared for, and inspired those around her. As Nancy “never knew a stranger,” she will be greatly missed by a huge community of family and friends in whom her spirit resides and flourishes.

She was a beloved mother to her four children, Joshua, Daniel, Miriam, and Anna; mother-in-law of Rebecca, Smadar, O’Neal, and Andrew; adored Nana of Atalya, Mia, Lila, Ilai, Zoey, Madeleine, and Joseph; devoted sister to Susan and Elliot; and beloved wife of the late David Sternoff. Her family is comforted that she will be joining their loving father and Saba, David.

Originally published in Forward. Read more: https://forward.com/life/417515/remembering-nancy-sternoff-jewish-feminist-leader/

Members Attend and Support 2018 Shavot Center's Gender Index

On December 12th, the 2018 Shavot Center's Gender Index presented at the Knesset Committee for Gender Equality and the Status of Women. Pictured, MK Aida Touma, the committee chair, opened the session with heartfelt and moving words about the 25th victim of femicide, Iman Awwad, 29, from Acre, who was murdered earlier that week.

At 10am, in the middle of the session, they all stood for a minute of silence in memory of the 25 women murdered since the beginning of the year. MK Touma called for immediate action by the government ministries in the form of adequate funding for services to women victims of violence. (A continued call from the protest we shared earlier.)

The index, now in its fifth year, is the most comprehensive index for gender inequality; it includes 13 different parameters: education, labor market, vocational gendering, economic insecurity and poverty, political and corporate power, culture and media, family status, time economy, violence, health as well as specific focus on women in the Haredi and Arab communities and women in geographically marginalized communities.

Also pictured, member organizations that supported the event: Greater Miami Jewish Federationקרן דפנה - נשים משתפות פעולה לשינויJewish Women's Fund of AtlantaTikkun Olam Women's Foundation of Greater WashingtonJewish Women's Foundation of the Greater Palm Beaches.

JWFN named Top 5 Jewish Philanthropy Trends to Watch

EJewish Philanthropy named the Jewish Women's Funding Network as one of its top 5 Jewish Philanthropy Trends to Watch.

"Looking further, less than seven percent of foundation giving nationwide supports women and girls and two percent of funding goes to combat gender-based violence. But the Jewish community has a powerful advantage: the scores of Jewish women’s foundations in cities across North America which often evaluate needs of Jewish women and girls in their communities. Their findings can give us a head start. They are local resources just waiting to be deployed."

Click here to read more of the article from EJewish Philanthropy.

Women of Vision Give $99,000

Originally Shared by the Amplifier:

The Women of Vision giving circle at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia recently announced $99,000 in grants. Started in 1994, Women of Vision funds programs that impact the lives of Jewish women and girls across generations, with the goals of social justice and social change. Their 2017-18 grantees are a diverse set of organizations focused on a range of issues including gun violence and the legal needs of senior citizens. Join us in celebrating Women of Vision’s inspiring grantees: Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia (pictured above), CeaseFirePA, SeniorLAW Center and ATZUM - Justice Works.

Click Here to Read More!

Rose Community Foundation Announces New President and CEO

Because you are important to us, we wanted to share this exciting news with you. Today, we are announcing that, following an extensive national search, Lindy Eichenbaum Lent will be the next president and CEO of Rose Community Foundation. Lent comes to the Foundation from the nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy, where she has served as executive director since 2009. Rose Community Foundation began its search for a new president and CEO following the unexpected death of its 18-year leader Sheila Bugdanowitz in December 2016. Lent will assume the role on November 27, 2017.

Read More

JWFNY President Discusses A Jewish Framework for Funding

From the Jewish Women's Foundation of New York Facebook: 

"At JWFNY we constantly re-evaluate how we assess grant applicants and how we utilize our Jewish values as women and as philanthropists. In her recent ELI Talk, JWFNY President Debbie Cosgrove discusses how the Four Children at the Seder Table can teach us about nurturing a philanthropic portfolio that is expansive, inclusive, holistic, and nimble."

JWFNY President Debbie Cosgrove discussing Jewish Funding Values

JWFNY President Debbie Cosgrove discussing Jewish Funding Values

Jewish Women Leaders in the News

For those of you who fund to nurture Jewish women’s leadership and/or immigration/refugee issues, I recommend you research Rebecca (Becca) Heller, the Director and Co-Founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP; formerly Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project) at the Urban Justice Center, the first organization to provide comprehensive legal representation to refugees in the registration, protection, and resettlement processes. IRAP works to create enforceable legal and human rights on behalf of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.  Becca was awarded the prestigious Charles Bronfman Prize in 2016.

Becca turned out 1600 lawyers in emergency response when President Trump first tried the travel ban; and subsequently is the person who bought the case to the 4th Circuit.

Since IRAP's founding, this visionary organization has become a world leader in the treatment and resettlement of the world's most vulnerable refugees and displaced persons. Its representation relies on a cadre of volunteers--1,200 students from 29 law schools in the United States and Canada and over 700 pro bono attorneys from 75 international law firms and multinational corporations--assisting thousands of refugees on urgent registration, protection, and resettlement cases. IRAP has helped to resettle over 3,600 refugees and displaced persons to 18 different countries, and provided legal assistance through its online advice hotline to more than 20,000 individuals from 55 different countries. IRAP has played a leadership role in enacting eight pieces of Congressional legislation, changing the lives of more than 160,100 individuals.

NCJW Comment on Women's Access to Western Wall

Israeli Government Abandons Deal to Ensure Women’s Access to Western Wall

June 26, 2017, New York, NY – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today denounced the Israeli government’s renunciation of the 2016 agreement that guaranteed an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“The decision by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to abandon the carefully crafted agreement reached in 2016 to ensure access to the Western Wall by all branches of Judaism on an egalitarian basis steps up the assault on values of gender equality and religious tolerance, and distances the majority of the world’s Jewish community from Israel.

“The agreement previously negotiated was a compromise achieved through the efforts of the Reform and Conservative movements, the Women of the Wall, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and was accepted by a majority vote in the Israeli government. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to bow to the wishes of the ultra-orthodox at this late date is an affront to all who participated in those negotiations and who put their faith in the willingness of the Israeli government to support their religious freedom to pray at the Wall. It appears to be a purely political move by the Prime Minister to appease his ultra-religious supporters.

“All Jewish women and men should be able to have egalitarian prayer access to the Western Wall – the agreement to create an egalitarian space at the adjacent Robinson’s arch was already a compromise position. When fundamentalist ideas dictate the State’s approach to access to holy sites that are sacred to ALL Jews whatever their particular denomination or gender, the vision of Israel as a homeland for all Jews, including women is threatened. NCJW urges the Israeli Government and all Israeli and Diaspora Jews to defend equality and the rights of millions of Jews who are not ultra-orthodox from the imposition of profoundly misogynist and anti-democratic policies.”

JWF of New York host Women Of Color: Beyond the Hyphen

On June 7th, the The Jewish Women's Foundation of New York hosted an event that was committed to amplifying the voices of our diverse Jewish community. In the greater New York area alone, there are 66,000 women of color in the Jewish community. The panelist for this event included: Yavilah McCoy, Shoshana Brown, Tamara Fish, and Natasha Nelson. Below is the Facebook Live post from the event for you to enjoy and learn from.

Click on the image above to view the event recording

Click on the image above to view the event recording