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The Jewish people need leaders who show up to provide guidance, comfort, education, and inspiration. 

 

Maharat has allocated $35,000, 10% of our $350,000 goal for this year’s Revava fundraising campaign, to support our students and graduates who show up. We are distributing $35,000 in grants to student and graduate projects and needs spurred by the current situation in Israel. 

 

Will you support Maharat in educating the next generation of rabbis who show up for their communities,, advocate for Israel, and fight antisemitism?

Here are the grant-funded Israel-related projects and initiatives from students and graduates. Check back soon for more updates. 

  • Rabbi Dr. Erin Leib Smokler (Advanced Kollel ‘18) joined the Hartman Rabbinic Volunteer Mission to Israel where she volunteers and offered chizuk to Israel rabbis who are giving strength to so many right now. 

  • Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn’s (‘16) project, the Torah of Mental Health Mini-Series, uses Torah texts to frame mental health support in this time of trauma, crisis, war, and terror. The Torah is coupled with guidance, tools, and coping skills provided by mental health professionals in her community. 

  • Rabbanit Myriam Ackermann Sommer's ('23) project, Fighting Antisemitism: Helping French Jews Feel Safer, is supporting her community in Paris in its effort to create a safe space for Jews by funding security on Shabbat, a therapist to help members work through trauma, and Torah classes on Pidyon Shvuyim and Love of Eretz Israel in the Talmud in French through Kol-Elles.

  • Rabbanit Nomi Kaltmann's ('23) project, JOFA Australia x JOFA in North America Op-Ed Writing Project, empowers and enables women to contribute their unique voices and promote understanding during this challenging time concerning Israel and antisemitism.

  • Ilana Gimpelevich's ('26) project, Operation Hug, brought physical and moral support to Israelis in Haifa and Maalot, including power banks and food for soldiers and care packages for families in need.

  • Chana Borow ('26) traveled to Israel to visit and offer chizuk bereaved families, shiva houses, hospitals, and hotels for displaced people.

Here is how the Maharant community is showing up to support Israel.

  • President and Co-Founder Rabba Sara Hurwitz visited Maharat students, alumnae, and faculty in Israel to offer chizuk and support. Read her reflections. 

  • Rabba Dr. Anat Sharbat ('15) holds a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah services  at the empty table in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, serving as a pastoral support and comfort for families of hostages.

  • Rivka Wiechtner’s ('24) husband’s army unit needed was in need of supplies, so she put out a call to the global Maharat community who donated money to purchase the supplies in record time. When the unit needed medical supplies, a graduate's husband, a doctor, procured them.

  • Evelyne Oliel-Grausz ('25) is volunteering in Israel, pruning a vast field of almond trees in Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Heh so that the fruit will not be lost while the workers are on the front lines.

  • Three students are going on solidarity missions to Israel, volunteering and bringing direct support to soldiers and evacuees.

  • One student is running a camp for children who were evacuated from the south with a focus on treating them for trauma through hydra therapy and art therapy.

  • Yali Szulanski ('25) is coordinating and supervising a group of 38 teens who are providing support, homework help, childcare, morning support, rides, and more to families in Riverdale, New Rochelle, and Scarsdale whose husbands have been called to serve.

  • Each week, Maharat students participate in one of several projects in support of Israel:

    • Supporting Maharat community members in Israel with their needs and initiatives;

    • Putting up posters in Riverdale, NY reminding us to "bring our hostages home."

    • Providing pastoral support for students on college campuses;

    • Learning and writing Torah;

    • Taking part in letter writing campaigns and phone calls to politicians and political advocacy.

  •  One alumna is leading her school’s response, with an emphasis on supporting Israeli families in the community, especially those who have had losses. As a school leader in the South, she is addressing issues of antisemitism and school security.

  • Rabbanit Atara Lindenbaum ('22) is managing her community’s response to Israel, collating opportunities for action, meeting with Israelis, creating a global day of loving kindness, and adopting hostages to advocate and pray for.

  • One alumna is guiding her school on best practices for speaking with children and supporting the community with grief.

  • One alumna is helping those displaced from the South of Israel find housing and is collecting donations for supplies for soldiers and their families and disseminating the materials,. She is tending to rabbis, chaplains, and lay leaders who are mourning (going to funerals, shivas, shloshim, and, standing in street to salute or escort).

"The needs in Israel are great, and the needs here in the American Jewish community are great. Israel needs military supplies, medical assistance, social workers, visitors, and much more. And here in the US, the unprecedented rise of antisemitism requires a strengthening of our communal infrastructure. This double need of support for Israel and support for Jewish life inspired my husband and me to increase our gift to Maharat this year." - Erica Schwartz, Maharat Board Chair

We are grateful to and inspired by Erica and Rob Schwartz for their dedication to Israel and the Jewish people, and ensuring that we educate and ordain Jewish leaders who show up.

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