Eileen Levinson, Founder & Creative Director
Wendy Jackler, Program Manager
Research indicates that there is still much work to do to ensure gender equality globally. Despite constituting a majority of college students, females experience pressures and challenges to which their male counterparts are not exposed. Furthermore, the Jewish community at large has yet to enshrine equality, as evidenced by the pay gap that continues within Jewish professional service. Drawing strength from the Jewish tradition, Maryland Hillel convenes an annual Jewish Women's Leadership Conference to expose Jewish college-aged women to powerful Jewish role models, create a community of support for Jewish women, and set the stage for these women to achieve their full potential.
The Jewish Women's Leadership Conference takes seriously the "Jewish" aspect. Jewish tradition has so many great women from whom so much can be learned, whether it be Queen Esther in the Purim narrative or Hannah Senesh's courage in the formative wars of the State of Israel. The Conference brings these narratives to life and draws from them contemporary lessons and application.
Central to the success of the endeavor is the caliber of speaker Maryland Hillel has been able to draw to the conferences. These women are living embodiments of what it means to be a Jewish female leader. Each of the speakers to date has done an exemplary job drawing from great Jewish women who have come before them. This allows students to understand that they are part of a chain of leaders and have a rich tradition from which to draw. The conference also allows students to identify positive role models who will serve as wells of Jewish knowledge for their lifetimes.
The Conference has had a tremendous impact on the student population. Not only does it put women in leadership positions by empowering them to facilitate the conference itself, but it has seen women actively pursuing leadership opportunities on campus at higher levels. The conferences have also fostered networks of support amongst students themselves, which has created a sense of community and empowerment.
The impact of a role model, who can articulate and disseminate wisdom, should not be understated. It is critical that Maryland Hillel continue to leverage the wisdom and potency of accomplished individuals to impart passion and knowledge to the next generation.
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