Every woman has the opportunity to participate in preserving, promoting and perpetuating Conservative/Masorti Judaism through active giving to the Torah Fund Campaign of Women’s League in support of the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York, NY), Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Los Angeles, CA), Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem), Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Zacharias Frankel College (Potsdam, Germany).
The Torah Fund campaign began in 1942 as a scholarship fund. In 1963, it merged with the Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall campaign that provided housing for undergraduate students. In time, the campaign identified needs and raised funds for specific projects, including:
For the past several years, funds raised by Torah Fund have gone toward scholarships to all the schools. There are continuing opportunities for sisterhoods and individuals to provide support to all five institutions through Torah Fund. Resultantly, thousands of dedicated volunteers have contributed to the spiritual, aesthetic and material well being of these educational communities by supporting Torah Fund projects.
To donate to the Women’s League Torah Fund, click here.
Chesed means “kindness” in Hebrew. The word can also be translated as “lovingkindness,” to convey the deep love that animates Jewish acts of kindness, done without thought of reward.
The Bible has numerous examples of chesed, such as Abraham and Sarah welcoming three strangers to their tent in the heat of the day; Abraham’s servant’s prayer for a wife for Isaac, answered by Rebecca who offers water to him and to his camels; and Ruth, who shows loyalty and kindness to Naomi, adopting her religion and peoplehood, after Naomi has experienced great loss. The rabbinic tradition enacted many laws to formalize our commitment to kindness, making chesed one of the three central pillars of Jewish life, as Shimon HaTzaddik taught: “The world rests on three things, on Torah, on service of God, and on deeds of kindness” (Pirkei Avot 1:2).
The 5780 (2019-2020) Torah Fund pin depicts a heart surrounded by three circles, one larger than the next. This symbolizes the heart of kindness, which Jews enact in ever-widening realms of generosity: from family, to community, to the larger world; from North America, to Israel, to the world; or from sisterhood, to region, to the larger world of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. And as it is said in Psalm 89, may we build a world of kindness.
For more information, please visit jtsa.edu/torah-fund
Rabbi Lilly Kaufman, Executive Director
The Jewish Theological Seminary
New York, NY 10027