Over 150 Women From 6 Countries Join OU Women’s Initiative Virtual Summit

17 Jun 2020

Participants Address Reimagining Leadership & Community: Pandemic And Beyond

NEW YORK – More than 150 women attended the OU Women’s Initiative virtual summit recently to discuss pressing issues for Jewish communal leaders as they plan for the post-COVID 19 impact to their organizations. Participants hailed from 78 communities around the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, the United Kingdom and South Africa. The summit was designed to provide female lay leaders with a platform to learn and network with others who are facing the same issue as Jewish communal organizations around the world are feeling the economic impact of COVID-19. 

With new challenges facing Jewish organizations every day as a result of COVID-19, the summit provided an opportunity for participants to learn how to adapt and adjust their organizations’ programming, operations and fundraising models with a like-minded community of learners.  Sessions focused on current program challenges and ideas, reimagining program needs and formats post COVID-19, the long-term impact of virtual programming and virtual meetings and the effects on interpersonal dynamics. Additional sessions focused on the long-term impact on current organizational economic models, fundraising with sensitivity, COVID-19’s impact on fundraising and reimagining organizations and their goals and missions in response to a new reality.

Expert lecturers, educators and leaders in the field – including: Erica Brown, Michelle Brody, Rachel Cyrulnik, Amy Katz, Leslie Ginsparg Klein and Adina Morris delivered workshops, sessions and other presentations throughout the program.

“The Summit was extremely timely and effective in addressing the communal needs and concerns of the moment,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “Once again, the Women’s Initiative created an event offering engaging and thoughtful topics, presented by best-in-class speakers. In addressing challenges posed by the pandemic and its economic aftershocks, Summit participants were afforded the opportunity to share best practices and insights to employ in their respective communities and organizations.”

“This year we took the program virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we also wanted to gear the sessions toward the topic that’s on everyone’s mind – how to lead their organizations successfully through COVID-19 and how to rebound successfully afterwards,” said Founding Director of the OU Women’s Initiative Rebbetzin Dr. Adina Shmidman. “It was inspiring to see a group of women from different backgrounds and communities come together to support one another and learn from these experts. Together, we reimagined new strategies for our organizations’ missions, programming and financial wellbeing.”

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.