JWI and the RA Bring Together Jewish Women Leaders

Posted on: Monday September 26, 2011

First in a Series of Conversations About Jewish Life

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, DC – Jewish Women International (JWI) and the Rabbinical Assembly brought together female leaders of Jewish organizations across America for a call earlier today with MK Tzipi Livni, head of the Kadima party in Knesset. This was the first in a series of calls designed to bring Jewish women leaders together to discuss important issues facing the Jewish community.

On today’s call, Livni spoke about Israel’s numerous internal and external challenges, and called for a two-state solution as an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She discussed the recent social protests in Israel, offered concrete recommendations about how Israel must respond, and addressed the need for Israel and world Jewry to redefine what it means to be a Jewish state today. After Livni spoke, she answered questions from other Jewish women leaders. More than 75 Jewish leaders from all over North America participated. A recording of the call is available here.

“I entered politics because of my aspiration and need to work to end conflict with Palestinians,” said Livni. “Because of Israel’s security needs in terms of peace and war, some people think that this is the role of men and not women. During the election I discovered that by doing what’s natural for me I give strength and power to women, and they strengthen me.”

“Many of the voices speaking publicly about the Jewish community are men’s voices,” said Susan W. Turnbull, chair of JWI’s board of trustees. “We saw an opportunity to bring together Jewish women leaders to talk about the Jewish community from a woman’s perspective, and to lend our voices to those being heard throughout the community.”

“Over the coming High Holy Days, Jewish communities must reflect on how our tradition and values can best guide Israel and world Jewry,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly. “We must bring women together across all perspectives, deepen the conversations and strengthen our voices to support the Jewish people.”

Promoting Jewish women’s leadership is one of JWI’s core initiatives.  The Rabbinical Assembly, an international community of rabbis, builds connection and commitment among Jews around the world. The call represents two organizations coming together to enhance connections among Jewish women leaders to strengthen Jewish community.

“Rabbi Julie Schonfeld is one of JWI’s 10 Women to Watch in 2011, and she is being honored as an outstanding Jewish leader lending her voice to the community,” said JWI Executive Director Lori Weinstein. “It seemed only natural that JWI would partner with her on this exciting project.”

Tzipi Livni has been leader of Israel's Kadima party since 2008. She was first elected to the Knesset in 1999 as a member of the Likud Party. Educated at Bar-Ilan University where she received a degree in law, she worked for the Mossad as a young woman and had a successful law practice.

Jewish Women International is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls through economic literacy, community training, healthy relationships education, and the proliferation of women’s leadership. Their innovative programs, advocacy, and philanthropic initiatives protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes, thrive in healthy relationships, and realize the full potential of their personal strength. For more information, please visit www.jwi.org.

The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of 1600 Conservative/Masorti rabbis spanning 20 countries. The Rabbinical Assembly has been the creative force shaping the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement, and is committed to building and strengthening the totality of Jewish life. www.rabbinicalassembly.org