Challenge Grant Recipients

What is the Women’s Initiative Challenge Grant?

  • Through the Challenge Grant, the OU Women’s Initiative challenged synagogues nationwide to develop plans for innovative programming that addresses needs of the women in their respective communities.
  • Grant applications were evaluated based on the creativity, target audience, and how replicable the project would be in other communities.
  • The Women’s Initiative received 93 applications for the Challenge Grant and selected 16 recipients.
  • Grant recipients will receive $5000 to support their proposed projects.
  • In an effort to gauge progress and effectiveness, all Challenge Grant programs will be evaluated throughout the year by the Women’s Initiative.
  • Grant recipients are committed to serving as an “advisor synagogue” to other synagogues and institutions that are interested in replicating the program in their own communities.

Challenge Grant Recipients:

Congregation Keter Torah, Teaneck, NJ

The Women’s Beit Medrash in Halacha and Gemara is a learning program that includes chevrutot and shiurim for both beginners and advanced learners on an array of topics.


Young Israel Toco Hills, Atlanta, GA

The Women’s Seder Avodat Yamim Noraim is a program designed to create the environment necessary for women to prepare themselves spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually for the Yamim Noraim.


Keneseth Beth Israel, Richmond, VA

Tools for Life is a program based on the three pillars of emunah as described by Rav Yosef Elbo in Sefer Halkrim, that is directed toward Jewish women of all ages and educational backgrounds, providing them with Torah-based tools that can help them better connect to HaShem, Torah learning, and the community.


Westwood Kehilla, Los Angeles, CA

Inspired Leadership for Women, through the hiring of a part-time female employee dedicated toward efforts for the women of the community, will increase women’s programming, participation, and leadership in synagogue life.



Congregation Darchei Noam, Fair Lawn, NJ

The Women’s Professional Mentorship Program is designed to create a mutually supportive network of Orthodox professional women of all ages and develop skills and knowledge unique to the needs of Orthodox women in the workplace.


United Orthodox Synagogues, Houston, TX

More than Challah and Candlesticks: Women’s Relationship to Judaism in an Orthodox Context is a program centered around teaching and mentorship, designed to maintain and fortify the community in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – the third flood to hit the United Orthodox Synagogues (UOS) community.


Congregation Agudath Sholom, Stamford, CT

Transmitting Torah: By Women…For Women is a program designed to create a vibrant community of women in both beginners and an advanced tracks, to study together as a cohort and prepare d’vrei Torah and shiurim throughout the course of the year.


Young Israel of Hollywood – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Eishet Chayil Initiative will provide a series of workshops monthly, delivered by orthodox women who are experts in various fields on a multitude of topics related to Orthodox women.


Suburban Torah, Livingston, NJ

The Women’s Center for Inspired Judaism will be a hub of inspiring Jewish learning and activity for the women in the community, in addition to specialized programming for seniors and middle school and teen-aged girls.


Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York, NY

The Women’s Torah and Leadership Training Program is a program that will develop a cadre of women leaders armed with self confidence in crafting and delivering classes, shiurim, d’vrei Torah, as well as teaching strategies for cultivating community growth and effective direction for constituents.


Young Israel of Oceanside, NY

M’Dor L’Dor: Cultivating Jewish Female Leadership Across Generations is a program that features a series of monthly chaburot, pairing pre-teen and teen young women of their youth department with more senior women in the synagogue, to examine the history and future of female Orthodox Jewish leadership in our community and beyond.


Beth Jacob Congregation, Oakland, CA

Learn to Lead (וללמד ללמוד) is a monthly Sunday morning Beit Midrash with a female Rosh Beit Midrash/Community Scholar, designed to both educate and prepare women to present classes or drashot to the entire community.


Young Israel of Greater Cleveland, OH

Saturday Night In(side Torah): Learning and Entertainment for the Women of our Community is a weekly program designed to encourage increased engagement in Torah learning for a growing cohort of connected ,inter-generational women.


Young Israel of Southfield, MI

Your Voice – Our Community is a Shabbat program and Sunday leadership training and team building retreat to take place over Parshat Chaye Sara, focused on gaining concrete leadership skills and tools, as well as strengthening the connections with each other, which will inform the development of future synagogue programming.


Congregation Shomrei Torah, Fair Lawn, NJ

The Women’s Institute of Learning and Leadership is a community-wide institute designed to promote multifaceted programming for girls and women of all ages via interactive learning platforms that utilize virtual meeting software to establish shiurim and chevruta opportunities for women.


Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation, Baltimore, MD

The Women’s Education Department will hire a staff member to provide classes and chaburot, in addition to making various resources available for women in need of guidance.