Michal Kohane
Michal Kohane

Oakland Orthodox shul wins grant for women’s teaching course

Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland has been awarded a grant from the Orthodox Union for programs that support the spiritual, religious and communal growth of Orthodox women. Sixteen winners of the OU’s Women’s Initiative Challenge Grant were selected from a field of 93 applicants.

Beth Jacob won a one-year grant to present “Learn to Lead,” a monthly Sunday morning program for women led by a female community scholar. Former S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation staffer Michal Kohane will fill the role of facilitator.

The program is designed to educate and prepare women to lead classes, workshops and other learning sessions.

“As a Modern Orthodox institution, we feel strongly about issues of women’s empowerment in Torah study,” said Rabbi Gershon Albert of Beth Jacob. “We will do a monthly session on a variety of topics.”

The OU grant of $5,000 is designed to fund pilot programs that, if successful, can be replicated later in other synagogues across the country.

“The challenge grant captures the positive energy of so many communities,” said Adina Shmidman, founding director of the OU’s Department of Women’s Initiatives. “The women’s initiative is proudly empowering our communities to develop creative approaches to addressing spiritual and communal needs. Once these programs are piloted, they can be offered widely in other communities so that they too can benefit from the wisdom and experience of these successful initiatives.”