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    Kol Isha: Women. Social Justice. Jewish Peoplehood.

    An OFJCC Women's Leadership Program
    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC
    Kol Isha is the OFJCC's intensive women's leadership program. Over the course of eighteen months, a small group of local women come together to build community, participate in serious Jewish learning, and create local social justice projects. The upcoming cohort will participate in the program from January 2021 to June 2022.

    The name of the program, "Kol Isha," is Hebrew for "A Woman's Voice." This is a traditional term with many different connotations across the Jewish world. We use this term as a way of demonstrating our understanding that Jewish women's voices are being, and always have been, heard. We intend only to amplify.

    Kol Isha is comprised of several programmatic elements, including in-person group meetings; Jewish learning on Zoom; the organization and implementation of a social justice project; and a three-day in-person retreat. Each activity is meant to reflect the three core values of Kol Isha: Women, Jewish Peoplehood and Social Justice. Participants are expected to fully participate in the program. The dates are provided far in advance to ensure availability and commitment.

    Kol Isha will convene every three weeks, on Thursdays from 7:00–8:30 PM. Meetings alternate between in-person group activities and virtual Zoom Jewish learning. All sessions will be facilitated by Tova Birnbaum, Zoe Fertik and Luba Palant.

    The Kol Isha curriculum will center on the theme of Jewish Women: Then, Now, Always. Our learning will introduce Biblical heroines, tell rabbinic stories and open conversation about issues relevant to Jewish women throughout time. The learning will include Jewish texts in both Hebrew and English, chevruta study sessions and group discussion. We intend the learning to reflect the guiding values of the Kol Isha program and to add to the participants' hands-on experiences. Jewish Learning at the OFJCC is open to learners of all backgrounds and levels. We believe in learning that is based on traditional Jewish texts, but that traverses the breadth of the timeless Jewish canon. We provide the content and the facilitators; the rest is up to you.

    The group is also responsible for embarking on a communal social justice project that spans the program's duration. The project will be designed by participants and will uphold current health and safety regulations.

    Kol Isha was born out of a JCC Global Amitim collaboration between three JCCs: the OFJCC in Palo Alto; the JCC in Krakow, Poland; and the Migvanim Ramat HaSharon Community Centers in Israel. Each of these JCCs hosted its own local cohort of Kol Isha and each participated in Jewish learning and social activism. In the summer of 2019, the three cohorts traveled to Poland and Israel together. Bringing together the three international Kol Isha cohorts for this immersive travel experience was an expression of the Kol Isha value of Jewish peoplehood, and strengthened each cohort's understanding of the connection of Jewish women across the globe.

    Meet Cohort 1

    Meet Cohort 2

    Frequently Asked Questions

    To learn more about the Kol Isha program, please contact Zoe Fertik at [email protected].

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