The YES Fund was named in 1955, but the tzedakah roots of WRJ that initially were centered around rabbinic scholarships date to 1913, the same year the organization was founded. Over the past century, the YES Fund has raised millions of dollars through a combination of dedicated campaigns and product sales for projects including: building the dormitory at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati and the URJ Headquarters in New York, establishing the Jewish Braille Institute (JBI International), founding the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), and helping to create the first URJ camp.
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The Youth, Education, and Special Projects (YES) Fund represents the collective financial efforts of individual donors and WRJ-affiliated sisterhoods to strengthen the Reform Movement and ensure the future of Reform Judaism. YES Fund grants provide Reform Jewish institutions and individuals worldwide with the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth and enhance Jewish life by supporting clergy, cultivating women’s leadership, advocating for social justice, providing programming, and offering support.
With your support, the YES Fund will continue to grow our Reform institutions, fund clergy education, and inspire our youth. Inspired by the past and committed to the future, your gift today builds on our 100-year legacy and keeps Reform Judaism vibrant.
There are numerous ways to support the YES Fund:
Support the YES Fund TODAY to help meet immediate needs by donating online.
Endow the YES Fund into the FUTURE to ensure it endures l’dor vador (from generation to generation) by starting a Lifeline.
Shop WRJ to order Uniongrams, Note Cards, and other products that directly benefit the YES Fund.
YES Fund Awards, 2015
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its Youth, Education, & Special Projects Fund, has given $370,200 in grants to 19 programs that will strengthen the Reform Movement and provide the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth in North America, in Israel, and around the world.
2015 WRJ YES Fund grants were awarded to the following organizations & programs:
- URJ-WRJ PJ Library Partnership, $50,000: This program supports congregations/sisterhoods in small communities throughout North America in implementing this Jewish family engagement program that mails free, high-quality Jewish children’s books and music to families with children aged six months to eight years old on a monthly basis.
- NFTY6 Project, $25,000: This multi-year $75,000 grant was made in honor of NFTY’s 75thAnniversary to support engaging 6th graders in peer-led programs.
- World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Youth Programs, $15,000: This grant supports camps in the FSU, youth programs in South America, and travel to Israel for South African youth.
- URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy Scholarships for Girls, $10,000: For the second year, WRJ will help encourage and support the participation of girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, which have traditionally been male-dominated, through these camp scholarships.
- HUC-JIR Student Scholarships, $72,000: This grant covers half-tuition for two students at each North American campus (NYC, Cincinnati, L.A.) for any program (cantorial, rabbinical, education, communal service).
- Overseas Rabbinical Scholarships, $40,000: These scholarships support rabbinical students studying at Leo Baeck College (London) and Abraham Geiger College (Germany) who will serve Reform and Progressive communities outside of North America and Israel upon ordination.
- Leo Baeck College (London) Library Renovation, $36,000: This grant will help the seminary renovate its library, properly house its rare book collection, and develop its Beit Midrash learning center for rabbinical students.
- WUPJ Machon Program, $18,000: Part of a multi-year $36,000 grant to train rabbis and other Jewish professionals from the FSU who will serve their home communities upon ordination.
- HUC-JIR (Jerusalem) Israel Rabbinical Program, $18,000: This grant supports the rabbinical training of Israeli students who will serve Israeli Reform communities upon ordination.
- HUC-JIR Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music Cantorial Prize, $1,000: Given annually, this award is presented to a deserving cantorial student.
- WRJ HUC-JIR Faculty Award, $1,800: Established in honor of Rabbi David Ellenson upon his retirement as HUC-JIR President, this biennial award is given to an HUC-JIR faculty member who has supported WRJ or whose work embodies WRJ’s mission.
- Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) Eisendrath Legislative Assistant (Washington, D.C.), $25,000: This year-long fellowship allows a recent college graduate interested in Judaism, social justice, and policy to work on WRJ’s social justice legislative priorities and initiatives.
- Kibbutz Lotan (Israel) Expansion, $25,000: Part of a multi-year $50,000 gift to fully fund 1 of 12 new student housing units at this integrated, holistic community that strives to balance sustainability in everyday life.
- Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) Mother-Daughter Bat Mitzvah Program, $18,000: This program, which aligns with WRJ and IMPJ’s emphasis on gender equality, empowers young girls and strengthens their Jewish identity by emphasizing equality, life transitions, and connection to Judaism and the community.
- Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), $10,000: This grant supports advocacy efforts on behalf of religious pluralism, women, and vulnerable populations in Israel.
- The Torah: A Modern Commentary Translation into Portuguese, $5,400: Nearly 35 years after the publication of the first English language liberal Torah commentary, this grant will help translate The Torah: A Modern Commentary into Portuguese for the growing Reform community in Brazil.