OU Women’s Initiative Announces Inaugural Leadership Summit

March 6, 2019



NEW YORK – The OU Women’s Initiative, a division of the Orthodox Union, is hosting its inaugural leadership summit for women, May 20-21 at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake in New Jersey.

Lay-leaders from Jewish communities throughout the country will participate in the confab, which will focus on engaging and retaining volunteers, creating compelling programming, effective use of social media, honing and growing one’s personal leadership strengths, community spiritual growth and other lay-leadership challenges for 21st century Orthodox women. Expert lecturers, educators and leaders in the field will deliver workshops, sessions and other presentations throughout the program.


Keynote speakers include:

  • Erica Brown – an associate professor at the School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University, where she directs its Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. She is the author of 12 books. Her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Maggid/OU).
  • Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidtan award-winning journalist and essayist. Currently, the life editor at the Forward, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, Haaretz and Tablet.
  • Allison Josephs – Founder of Jew in the City, named as one of the National Jewish Outreach Project’s Top Ten Jewish Influencers in 2012 and one of the Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 in 2013. Allison has been involved in the field of Jewish outreach for over 15 years. Notably, she is the Partner in Torah mentor to actress Mayim Bialik.
  • Chani Neuberger – the Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Security Agency, Founder of Sister to Sister, a comprehensive resource and support network for Jewish divorced women and their children, and board member of Chai Lifeline MidAtlantic and Stern College.

Attendance at the summit is limited as the goal is to create an intimate cohort of representatives from across the country who will continue to network and learn from one another. They will work together to develop impact plans for their communities geared toward meeting the needs of the women in their respective cities.

Participants must be nominated by an organization.  The nomination form can be found here: ou.org/women/summit. “Healthy communities depend on the contributions of women – whether it be through synagogue board service, institutional programming or the many other ways women give their time and talent,” said Founding Director of the OU Women’s Initiative Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman. “We support and value the dedication of lay-leaders and hope they will come away from this conference with the tools they need for ongoing success.”   

“By identifying leaders within the community and investing in their development, we hope to ensure that our community continues to have a cadre of talented female leadership to serve the needs of tomorrow.” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin.

“Since its relatively recent inception, the Women’s Initiative has already provided cutting edge programming, training and opportunities for women to play increasingly impactful roles in our community. The OU is proud of the Initiative’s accomplishments, and is committed to continuing and expanding these efforts,” added Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane.

The OU Women’s Initiative works with Orthodox nationwide communities to identify and address women’s spiritual, educational and communal needs by expanding and enhancing Torah learning opportunities by women and for women and by creating innovative programming to meet the needs of women at all ages and phases. The Women’s Initiative focuses on the development of professional and lay leadership training for women in the Orthodox Jewish community.  For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/women/.