Local shul to use Hadassah grant for feminist program

Local shul to use Hadassah grant for feminist program

CONGREGATION AGUDATH Israel of West Essex in Caldwell is among the 13 recipients — the only one in New Jersey — to win a Hadassah Foundation Bat Mitzvah Year Mini-Grant to support new or expanded programming that promotes the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of Jewish girls and young women.

The foundation made the mini-grants in honor of its “bat mitzva year” of service to encourage programs about leadership, self-esteem, and healthy lifestyle choices for adolescent girls and young women in the Jewish community and/or build awareness among influential adults in their lives.

Agudath Israel will use its award to offer a program centering on the documentary Miss Representation.

The film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. It challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls that make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

A post-screening discussion will feature Jill Hersh, professor of women and gender studies at Montclair State University. Missy Jacobs, LSW, a Jewish Family Service of Greater MetroWest social work consultant at Agudath Israel, is organizing and facilitating the program. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to screen this film,” she said. “I think it will help to empower young girls and women and provide them with new opportunities to realize their full potential. I encourage parents and their daughters to attend together.”

The program will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m.

Other 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 20s, an after-school high school program, and a board of Jewish education.

“We are delighted that this mini-grant program will enable so many youth-serving organizations in the Jewish community to create feminist-oriented programming,” said foundation chair Donna Gerson.

Since 2000, the Hadassah Foundation has awarded grants totaling almost $6 million to more than 60 nonprofit organizations.

For more information about the Agudath Israel program, contact Jacobs at 973-226-3600 or mjacobs@agudath.org.

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