Women of Reform Judaism say YES with grants awards

The $300,000 in funding will support 29 programs that are trailblazers in Reform and progressive Jewish life.

Youngsters having fun at URJ Six-Points Sci-Tech Camp, one of this year's YES Fund grantees. Credit: Courtesy of Women of Reform Judaism.
Youngsters having fun at URJ Six-Points Sci-Tech Camp, one of this year's YES Fund grantees. Credit: Courtesy of Women of Reform Judaism.

Through its philanthropic arm, the YES (Youth, Education and Special Projects) Fund, Women of Reform Judaism has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 29 programs that will encourage the growth of individuals as Jewish trailblazers and the advancement of Reform and progressive institutions.

These grants help create inclusive communities by supporting youth and family programs, encourage women to enter more leadership positions in and beyond the Jewish world, and encourage the fight for religious freedom and pluralism in Israel, among several other initiatives and pursuits.

“Serving as a philanthropic arm of the Reform Movement, WRJ sees a responsibility to not only fund Jewish institutions, organizations, and programs that strengthen what the Jewish world looks like today but also empower our future leaders to form a more progressive, diverse community for the future,” said WRJ executive director Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch.

“With antisemitism at an all-time high and many uncertain how to best express their Jewish identity, promoting and encouraging Jewish values and community is more important than ever,” Hirsch continued. “In line with our legacy, WRJ will continue to support the programs of the YES Fund to ensure a bright Jewish future for all.”

Split among four categories: youth, education, special projects, and diversity, equity and inclusion, the grants are distributed annually with biannual status reports submitted by all grantees.

New programs within this grant cycle include supporting ARZA Canada’s new Israel curriculum, which will be adapted for the current Middle East climate; a joint summit for Jewish education professionals held by the Association of Reform Jewish Educations and Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism; a race, gender and Jewish history course from Jewish Women’s Archive; and a Jewish Plays Project community-engagement program, among other initiatives.

“The (YES Fund) supports the LUNAR Collective’s long-term goal of cultivating connection and belonging for Asian American Jews. By giving us the support to host Shabbat dinners for our community, we are keeping Asian Jews in a recurring community with one another. Additionally, we provide our community to celebrate Shabbat in a new light—with Asian Jewish ritual, fusion food and community,” said Maryam Chishti, co-executive director of the LUNAR Collective, an Asian American Jewish organization and YES Fund grantee.

A full allocation breakdown for the 2024-25 YES Fund grants is available for download. Learn more at: www.wrj.org.

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Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is a network of Jewish women working together to empower women and communities worldwide through the bonds of sisterhood, spirituality, and social justice. WRJ, founded in 1913, is the women's affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. For more information about WRJ, visit www.wrj.org.
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