Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, Director of the Women's Rabbinic Network, has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hadassah Foundation, it was announced by June Walker, National President of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. She succeeds Founding Chair Barbara Dobkin, who has served since 1999.
The Foundation, established with a $10 million permanent endowment fund, is dedicated to making social change for women and girls. A focus on economic security for low-income women guides the Foundation's work in Israel. In the United States, the Foundation funds programs that help adolescent girls build self-esteem and make healthy lifestyle choices. By supporting these projects, the Foundation aims to encourage and facilitate the active participation of women and girls in decision-making and leadership in all spheres of life. The Foundation has granted over $3 million to more than 40 organizations in the United States and Israel, seeking to bring the contributions, issues and needs of women and girls from the margins to the center of Jewish concern.
Rabbi Ellenson, of New York City, has been a director of the Foundation since 2003 and currently serves as the Director of the Women's Rabbinic Network, the international organization of women who are Reform rabbis and rabbinic students. From 1991-2002, she was the Jewish Chaplain at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Her responsibilities included teaching and curriculum development for health, religion, and ethics courses; student counseling and outreach to Jewish students. Prior to that, Rabbi Ellenson's professional activities included work in synagogue education, adult education and hospital chaplaincy. She also has held leadership positions with the Women's Rabbinic Network and Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Ellenson was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 1983.
Rabbi Ellenson currently serves on the board of the Rodeph Sholom School in New York and of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction. She is beginning her fourth year as a leader for a Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing! group at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. She has recently completed the Rabbinic Leadership Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and is in training to be a spiritual director.
Ellenson is one of 18 women on the board of the Hadassah Foundation, which is comprised of representatives from the Hadassah National Board, Hadassah membership and the Jewish community-at-large.