NCJW Announces Grants to Further Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Israel

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced a new round of grants to eight Israeli organizations whose work is focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Israel.

Empowerment and leadership programs for women and girls, as well as gender equality, are the cornerstones of NCJW’s Israel Granting Program. Recipients must have programs designed to address women’s rights and well-being in areas such as economics, politics, education, domestic violence, and social justice. NCJW’s Israel grants are made possible by generous contributions from individuals and NCJW sections across the country.

“Each of the grantees we are recognizing has a track record of success in making people’s lives better and building a freer and fairer society that reflects Jewish and democratic values of the State of Israel,” said NCJW CEO Nancy K.Kaufman. “Our Israel Grant Program enables us to make commitments in Israel that mirror our work for social change and religious liberty in the United States.”

This past summer, NCJW also made emergency grants to assist populations served by former and ongoing grantee organizations that were made vulnerable by the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Details of the 2015 grantees are below:

Isha L’IshaHaifa Feminist Center: Fighting Against Trafficking in Women and Prostitution project. Isha L’Isha has been leading the fight against trafficking in women and prostitution and assisting trafficking victims long before such trafficking registered on the national agenda. Its project advocates for national policy changes in the treatment of women seeking to leave prostitution and seeks to educate service providers and the public about the abuses of the sex trafficking industry.

Research Institute for Innovation in Education (RIFIE): Training Bedouin Women for the Workforce as Educators in the Pre-School Sector. This unique NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education project empowers Bedouin mothers who wish to work outside the home by training them for paraprofessional work and placement in the early childhood education sector in their communities.

Israel Hofshit: Freedom in Marriage Now. The Freedom in Marriage Now campaign seeks to mobilize public pressure on key politicians through a two-tiered approach of media communications and community organizing with the goal of establishing civil marriage as an option in Israel for everyone, regardless of religion or sexual orientation.

TmuraThe Israeli Antidiscrimination Legal Center: Protecting Women’s Reproductive Choice. Tmura’s new campaign will work to protect reproductive freedom through litigation, advocacy, and public education on behalf of the rights of Israel’s most vulnerable women.

Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH). NCJW’s grant will support the organization’s work meeting the specific needs of those in the transgender community, who are too often excluded from programs and services available to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. The grant will provide transgender activists in Jerusalem the security and flexibility to organize independently and unite with a stronger voice, as well as increase the access of transgender individuals in Jerusalem to services currently beyond their reach.

Yerushalmit Movement. Dedicated to building Jerusalem as a vibrant, pluralistic, and inclusive city, the Yerushalmit Movement has helped reduce gender segregation based on religion, including the exclusion of women from public spaces in Jerusalem. NCJW’s grant will enable the Movement to create women-led forums in neighborhoods across the city to promote equality and improve quality of life. For the first time, Ultra Orthodox Jewish women and Arab women will be engaged in the conversation to encourage civic collaboration among women activists of diverse religious sectors.

Turning the Tables. Active in Tel Aviv since 2011, Turning the Tables addresses the vocational and economic advancement of women leaving the cycle of prostitution and sex trafficking. NCJW’s grant will establish a pilot program to extend services to new locations throughout Israel.

Women of the Wall. NCJW’s grant will support advocacy for women’s equality to gain the right to read Torah at the Western Wall. Despite the groundbreaking legal advances made by Women of the Wall in the past two years to ensure women’s right to pray freely at the Western Wall, roadblocks to full freedom remain.