Women Activists in the Community Building a Masorti Language Anchored in the Heritage of Sephardic Jewry

‘Tidreshi’ (Stand Up and Be Counted), from the Beit Midrash of Memizrach Shemesh – Kol Israel Haverim, is a leadership program for women active in the community, from a variety of ages. The program cultivates women’s leadership that is socially aware and connected to their identity, and generates activities in the community around identity, education, and culture.

The program brings together a group of women, who are active in the community, to learn together about social issues from the Jewish sources. The program offers a place to share their personal identity stories, while utilizing the Jewish sources as their inspiration, to encourage a process of empowerment, change, and repair in their personal and public spheres.

Tidreshi empowers its participants by learning the Jewish sources that focus on the status of women, while building a Masorti language that is anchored in the heritage of Sephardic Jewry. This language offers a way of addressing religious extremism that excludes women, and creates the opportunity for a reparative process from within – to fix without breaking it apart.

Graduates of the program are familiar with the Masorti tradition, and know how to speak in its name. In this way, they become capable of creating change in the community where they live and work, thereby strengthening it, while becoming community leaders in the process.

Tidreshi builds a group of 15 women, who are active in their community, who join together for a year-long process of 18 meetings. The first part of each meeting is dedicated to learning Jewish sources and sharing traditions from the home, and the second part is dedicated to acquiring the tools and practice for community organization, and policy change.

The program works in partnership with: the Yoreinu Foundation, and in partnership with the Unit for Veteran Neighborhoods in Ashdod.

There are 75 graduates of the program, which each year trains 15 women activists.