Organization: jGirls Magazine, New York, NY
Grant Year: 2021
Project Director: Elizabeth Mandel
Type of Grant: Signature
Grant Amount: $142,300 (3 years)
jGirls Magazine – To provide young Jewish women the opportunity to develop public speaking and community-building skills through an experiential leadership program.
How does this project speak to the articulated needs of jGirls participants?
jGirls offers experiential feminist leadership training to self-identifying Jewish girls, young women, and nonbinary teens. They frequently articulate their need to be more Jewishly connected; to learn from one another and from mentors; to be heard and taken seriously; and to frame these experiences with Jewish learning, history, and wisdom. When we have paired these opportunities with public speaking preparation and engagement, they have confidently and effectively stepped up to share their voices and perspectives with both peers and the adults who make the decisions that impact their lives. Learn Together addresses these needs and multiplies these opportunities.
What’s a particular story that has stuck with you about your work? Perhaps something about a certain teen girl you have interacted with, or a specific experience you had while engaged in your work.
At a check-in call in our first year, when so much was unknown, one teen told me that she had been a quiet student, but since joining jGirls, she had started raising her hand more, and, to her surprise, taking on class leadership roles. It was the validation I needed in those early years. This young woman went on to become her college campus interfaith leader and is entering rabbinical school in the fall. I’ve heard so many such stories since then that demonstrate our impact in helping to prepare the feminist leaders our community needs.
What’s your number one priority when it comes to the work that you do in the field of Jewish education and teen engagement?
jGirls envisions a time in which the voices of young Jewish feminists are instrumental in creating a just and equitable world. As such, our number one priority is preparing young people with skills and opportunities to guide our community in this direction. This includes defining and practicing intersectional feminism; aligning this with Jewish values and experience; instilling a sense of commitment to Jewish community and leadership; creating a supportive community and network; and providing platforms for them to be heard and to move into leadership roles. Together, this prepares them to influence those around them, and our community at large.
To learn more about jGirls Magazine’s work and to hear the voices of young people expressed through poetry, fiction, essays, art, photography, music, and more, visit www.jgirlsmagazine.org.