Nishmah Banot board leadership expands with Hadassah Foundation grant

Nishmah’s Banot Board

Nishmah, a program of the Jewish Community Center, has been awarded a prestigious national grant from the Hadassah Foundation to expand its Teen Banot Board leadership program. Nishmah was one of seven organizations in the United States that received funds to foster leadership development among Jewish girls and young women. Nishmah was a first-time recipient of this grant. 

Founded simultaneously with the adult Nishmah Board of Directors in 2005, the Nishmah Banot (Girls) Board represents teenage girls in grades 9-12 from a variety of community affiliations and high schools. This year’s board is comprised of 14 members and meets monthly during the school year. The banot board is responsible for creating and implementing programming for elementary-aged girls as a part of Nishmah’s Banot Buddies program. The teens and younger girls are paired as “buddies” and participate in joint programming throughout the year. 

Until now, the time available for personal leadership development of the teens has been somewhat limited. Thanks to the support from the Hadassah Foundation, Nishmah now is able to direct resources specifically to leadership development and content.

The Teen Banot Board program is offering leadership training related to skills such as communication, empathy development, advocacy and social responsibility. Further goals are to engage the teens in projects that exemplify core Jewish leadership values while also supporting them as they are exposed and connected to diverse parts of the local Jewish community. The curriculum includes team-building activities and local speakers on topics such as food justice and the Words to Action program offered by the ADL. This year’s board will also have the opportunity to help plan a new teen track as a part of Nishmah’s Women’s Shabbat Retreat in February. In addition, Nishmah now has been able to utilize the skills of an evaluation consultant to vastly improve the evaluation process of this program.


“It has been an amazing experience to watch the teens on our banot board grow into even stronger young women. They go out into the community and become leaders in all areas of society,” said Simone Picker, coordinator of the banot board, in a statement. “Due to the generous support of funders like the Kranzberg Family Foundation, we have been able to maintain the banot board programming over the last decade. With the Hadassah Foundation’s support, we will take our teen leadership development to the next level.”

For more information about the banot board, contact Simone Picker at 314-442-3166 or [email protected]  or visit