The Women’s Beit Midrash program aims to gather about 25 Russian-speaking women leaders ages 25-40 to train them in relevant issues of the status of women in Judaism and in Israel. The curriculum includes marriage and divorce in the traditional texts and today, childbirth and Jewish law, surrogacy, adoption, traditional concepts of modesty, women’s inheritance, women’s status in the Jewish world- women rabbis, cantors, Torah scribes, wearing Tallit and Tefillin, denominations in Judaism, State and religion in Israel, women and LGBTQ and more.
Alice Shalvi Jewish Learning Program (ASJLP)
The Alice Shalvi Jewish Learning Program (ASJLP) continues to be one of PKI’s most impactful programs, training PKI group leaders to implement Jewish programming in their women’s groups throughout the country. The year-long program offers monthly sessions of creative and pluralistic educational methods. Each month women from across Israel engage in study about Jewish lifecycle events, images of women in the classic Jewish sources and their relevance today, denominations in Judaism, Jewish values, and status of women in Judaism and traditional texts. The program connects Jewish learning with social justice, encouraging and empowering women to engage with their local women’s groups on issues that advance gender equality and religious pluralism in Israel.
A deep commitment to gender equality; a recognition of women’s unique ability to nurture and educate one another and empower ourselves; a recognition that women’s philanthropy can address the issues women prioritize.
State and Religion
PK presents pragmatic programs in which Jewish values inspire social activism. This link between spirituality and reality offers a vision that speaks to many Jewish women. With Jewish values and gender equality as their compass, they motivate their community to improve the lives of women and girls.
Preventing Gender Violence
During confinement or quarantine, domestic violence increases and intensifies. PKI participants are being offered the opportunity to get educated on the issue, its different psychological and social aspects, and signs of abuse in our everyday life. This work is aimed to enable our activists as local leaders in this field so that they can support women. Psychologist Ella Berchansky, teacher and speaker for this program, is the founder of the Russian-speaking Women’s League of Israel, a practicing therapist for many years, and a feminist activist.
The centerpiece of the Project Kesher Israel program is leadership development, empowering women with training to become change agents within their own communities. They learn techniques of facilitating group meetings, leadership skills and study topics related to the core mission of PKI: gender equality, social activism, Jewish education, and pluralism. The “train-the-trainer” methodology ensures that all materials and information are shared with their women’s groups, hence maximizing the impact and broad outreach. The women leaders are now designing and implementing community-wide programming to bring dialogue, education and ultimately changes in attitude to key issues important to the Russian-speaking community and to all of Israel.
Interfaith and Diversity
PK-funded activists have built an interfaith coalition network with 90 women’s groups in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus conducting programs that gather community representatives to discuss shared challenges and ways to overcome them together. Professionals, lay leaders, government officials, and community activists collaborate to promote tolerance and critical community programs.
We provide training and programming models to support leaders as they confront women’s health challenges. Project Kesher provides year-round health education to women on issues from pre-natal care to sex education, reproductive healthcare to breast cancer and menopause. Special programs have recently been developed to break the silence around postpartum depression and offer resources for suffering moms. PK health programs are designed to empower women to advocate for themselves and the women in their community.
Gender and LGBTQ Rights
The first meeting of our new program featured Russian speaking social worker Anna Talisman, who in addition to her professional practice on behalf of Tel Aviv municipality, is an LGBTQ activist, works for the Gay Center in Tel Aviv, and is one of the promnent activists of the Russian speaking Women’s League. Anna spoke on “Revealing gender and sexual identity in the Russian speaking families in Israel.” The second meeting on “LGBTQ in the Jewish orthodox society” featured the Media and Public relations director of Shatil and the editor of Russian speaking pluralist newspaper, Nadia Aizner – a Russian speaking modern orthodox LGBTQ activist.