The Orthodox Union has selected the Young Israel of Oceanside as one of 16 winners of its nationwide Women’s Initiative Challenge Grant.
YI Oceanside won for its program, M’Dor L’Dor: Cultivating Jewish Female Leadership Across Generations, a series of monthly chaburot pairing preteen and young women of the shul’s youth department with more senior women to examine the history and future of female Orthodox Jewish leadership.
Manhattan’s Lincoln Square Synagogue was the only other New York winner. Its program is a women’s Torah and leadership training initiative. Applications were evaluated based on the creativity of the proposed program, target audience, and whether the project could be replicated in other communities.
“Once these programs are piloted, they can be offered widely in other communities so that they too can benefit from the wisdom and experience of these successful initiatives,” said Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman, founding director of the OU’s Department of Women’s Initiatives.
The Challenge Grant is one of many programs the OU Women’s Initiative is launching in its inaugural year. Upcoming initiatives include a multi-city mikveh attendant training program addressing mikvah client medical and mental health needs; a Leil Hitoriru, an evening of spiritual inspiration between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur; and the creation of the Women’s Impact Institute, a leadership training program.
“For more than a century, the Orthodox Union has addressed the religious and spiritual needs of the American Jewish community,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “Ever-changing circumstances and challenges, however, compel the ongoing exploration of new approaches to advance our connection to G-d, both as individuals and collectively as a community.
“We therefore feel particularly privileged to be partnering with women of extraordinary vision and commitment from across the community, to pursue exciting and innovative initiatives seeking to enhance the religious and spiritual growth of the contemporary Jewish woman.”