July 12, 2024

Jewish Women In Philanthropy Who’ve Made A Difference

Women at a Pantry Packers Center

Jewish tradition values giving back to society as an essential aspect of leading a meaningful life. For centuries, women have embodied this philanthropic value through Tzedakah and Chesed. Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen, organizing donation drives, or providing pro bono legal services, Jewish women set a high standard of leading communities and making a positive impact on the world at large, even during times of immense crisis

How Women and Jewish Philanthropy Go Hand In Hand

The word philanthropy comes from the Greek words “philos” meaning love, and “anthropos” meaning humanity. In Judaism, this concept is known as Chesed, which translates to acts of loving-kindness. Chesed is often described as the glue that holds society together and is seen as one of many fundamental values in the Chabad movement. It applies to individuals of every age and gender. While everyone has their respective role in a community, Chesed is a responsibility that falls on everyone’s shoulders.

Women in particular have the opportunity to embody Chesed through their nurturing and caring nature. In Jewish tradition, women are seen as the backbone of the family and community – tasked with taking care of those in need. This includes providing meals for a new mother or sick friend, visiting the elderly, or donating time and resources to charitable causes.

The History of Jewish Women In Philanthropy

Throughout Jewish history, women have played a crucial role in upholding the values of chesed and tzedakah alongside prominent male Chabad figures. This is despite facing many challenges due to societal norms limiting their access to education and wealth; two key factors in philanthropic endeavors.

Jewish Women Philanthropists In Ancient Times

One notable example from biblical times is that of Rebekah, who showed immense kindness when she offered water to Eliezer and his camels. This act not only demonstrated her compassion and generosity but also led to her becoming the wife of Isaac and an integral part of the Jewish nation.

Examples of Modern Female Jewish Philanthropy

In more recent times, women have continued to embody the beliefs of Judaism through various acts of selfless giving and philanthropy.

Here are just a few names you may have heard of before:

  1. Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon founded the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW) in 1893 with a mission to improve life for women, children, and families through education, social action programs, and advocacy. The NCJW has since become a significant force in addressing social issues such as healthcare, reproductive rights, and immigrant rights.

  2. Irene Lewisohn

Born in 1886, Irene Lewisohn was a passionate advocate for the arts and social justice. She co-founded the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, which focused on bringing cultural education to underprivileged communities.

  3. Hannah Senesh

During the Holocaust, many Jewish women risked their lives to help others in need. One notable Jewish women philanthropist is Hannah Senesh – she joined a rescue mission to save Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary and tragically lost her own life in the process. Her bravery and selflessness continue to inspire Jewish women around the world nearly a century later.

  4. Golda Meir

In modern-day Israel, women play crucial roles in building a thriving society through their involvement in fields such as politics, medicine, law, and education. One of the most influential and well-known Jewish women in Israeli history is Golda Meir. She was the first female prime minister of Israel, serving from 1969 to 1974, and made significant contributions towards establishing equality for women in the workforce and public life.

  5. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Across the Atlantic, Jewish women have also made a significant impact in the United States. A prominent figure is Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court and a strong advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Her legacy continues to inspire future generations of Jewish women to strive for equal representation and opportunities.

  6. Rachel Kadish

Rachel Kadish is a contemporary author who uses her platform to raise awareness about various causes such as human rights issues and women’s rights. She has engaged in a number of fundraising efforts with prominent Jewish organizations in Israel over the years.

Appreciating the Everyday Jewish Women Philanthropists Who Make the World a Better Place

Beyond these well-known Jewish philanthropists are countless everyday Jewish women who continue to shape and influence the world in their own way. From entrepreneurs and artists to scientists and activists, women play a vital role in promoting our values.

Donate to Jewish Charities In Israel. Be the Reason for Change

You can join the effort by getting involved with historic Israeli charity organizations like Colel Chabad in a number of ways. As the oldest Jewish non-profit in the nation, we’re the best Jewish charity to support when looking to make a real difference.

There are Jewish charities that help widows, Jewish charities that support children’s education, Jewish charities against hunger, Jewish organizations for orphans, Jewish charities that help the poor, and Jewish charities dedicated to healthcare. Then there’s Colel Chabad, making an impact on every single one of these issues head-on.

Fulfill each tier of the Eight Degrees of Giving by supporting one of our many charitable programs with the fastest way to contribute – online donations – today.


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