‘Birthright for moms’ brings nearly 1,000 Jewish dads to Israel

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — An organization that has brought 10,000 Jewish mothers on subsidized trips to Israel has also brought nearly 1,000 fathers since launching its program for men in 2013.

The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, which was founded in 2008 and is based in Rockville, Maryland, to date has brought 975 men to Israel from seven countries, the group said in a statement.

The project comprises week-long trips aimed at bringing non-observant Diaspora Jews closer to Jewish practice. Known as “Birthright for moms” after the similar program bringing young adults to the Jewish state, the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project is expected to bring this year to Israel a total of 3,500 people, of whom 400 are men, from 26 countries.

Labeled MoMENtum, the trip for men is primarily designed for men whose wives had already participated in the women’s trip. Participation is open to any Jewish woman who has children at home under the age of 18.

In 2014, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs partnered with the group, which it now helps fund.

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The decision to extend the trip to men was the result of demand by husbands who sought to also experience what their wives had experienced, according to Lori Palatnik, the founding director of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project.

During a recent lecture about the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, Palatnik said her organization aims to encourage greater involvement by women in leadership roles within Jewish communities.

“I believe that within the next decade, we will see a movement of Jewish mothers transforming into leaders of social change in the wider community, and JWRP is ready to inspire that movement,” Palatnik said last week in Atlanta, during the Jewish Funders Network conference.

Founded in 1991, the Jewish Funders Network is a group of independent philanthropists seeking to optimize the impact of donations within Jewish communities. It has members from 10 countries, including Israel, the United States, Argentina, Australia, France and Russia.