Through NCEJ, the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has awarded outreach grants to WRJ sisterhoods/women’s groups to fund programs within their communities that reach out to interfaith families, unaffiliated Jews and non-Jews who are seeking information about Jewish life. These grants are designed to encourage and enhance learning about Judaism and to engage participants in Jewish life. WRJ will be accepting and reviewing outreach grant applications on a rolling basis until June 1st, 2018.
A key focus of these grants will be on programs that can be replicated. WRJ rolled out the program to sisterhoods in April 2017. WRJ created a dedicated Outreach page featuring their grant program partnership with NCEJ and publicized the program through various marketing techniques in order to encourage applications from affiliates. As a result of these efforts, thousands of people were reached through WRJ’s weekly newsletter and their social media sites. This publicity has developed significant interest in the Outreach grants from WRJ sisterhoods all over the U.S.
For more information on this program, contact WRJ Program & Communications Associate Micaela Sheinhait at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-650-4060.
Awarded Affiliate Program Highlights
WRJ Sisterhood: Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, Dallas, TX
Program: “Navigating the Religion Decision: A Workshop for Interfaith Couples”
Navigating the Religion Decision is a 6-session workshop to help interfaith couples have healthy discussions about faith. The course will help guide couples struggling with the religious identity of their future home towards a win-win decision where each other’s religious needs are met. The goal for the couples that choose a Jewish path is for them to go on to the congregation’s other programs for engaged and recently married couples making a Jewish home. This provides the opportunity to connect with other newly engaged/married couples, and allow them to build a relationship with a rabbi.
The 6-session workshop, facilitated by a professional couples’ counselor, will focus on shaping a healthy religious identity in an interfaith home. It will help participants understand the complexity of religious backgrounds, articulate what their religion means to them and what their religious needs are, how to relate to parents and extended family, transmitting a religious identity to children, and get to a solution or commitment for their children’s religious upbringing.
WRJ Sisterhood: Sisterhood of Temple Shalom, Newton, MA
Program: “Becoming Miriam”
Becoming Miriam is a program series to drive greater personal and community engagement with Jewish life, building upon the themes of Pesach and the Seder. This program is designed as a series of education and engagement events with the following goals:
- Appeal to those who are “New to Jewish” or feel on the fringes of Jewish life
- Reduce barriers to entry, and use various approaches to appeal to different types of people
- Build familiarity and comfort with the traditions of the Seder
- Increase knowledge about ways to make the Seder rich and lively for families of all kinds
- Articulate and affirm the ways that extended families and community members, whether or not they are Jewish, can be made welcome and included
- Help women articulate and select those traditions that they want to foster in their own homes, increasing a sense of personal ownership of Jewish life
- Build interpersonal relationships among women of various generations and synagogue cohorts (e.g. mature women and those with young children) to increase engagement within the synagogue