$200,000 in grants to aid women and girls

Jewish and Muslim women participate in Salaam Shalom’s Rise and Respond training. Photo provided

Sixteen groups were awarded $200,000 in grants for programs that focus on women and girls. The Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation of Greater Washington, which aims to change the lives of women and girls, announced the grants on June 3.

The grants will go toward “increasing women’s voice through leadership and advocacy, freeing women from violence and abuse, promoting peace by building relationships among women from diverse communities and backgrounds, and eliminating injustices and change attitudes that systematically exclude or disadvantage women,” according to the foundation, which is an independent project of the United Jewish Endowment Fund and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Grantee Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom received $15,000. The group, which brings together North American Muslim and Jewish women and teenage girls to fight against hate and discrimination, will use its grant to pay for a class called Know Your Neighbor. It will teach Muslim and Jewish women how to interact with Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, according to Executive Director Sheryl Olitzky said.

As anti-Semitism and Islamophobia rise in the United States, Olitzky said she thought it was time for group members, who have been building relationships between their own communities, to establish a relationship with Christians.


“We believe it’s real easy to hate someone you don’t know,” she said. “When you really care about someone it’s really difficult to hate them.”

Mindy Hecker, chair of the foundation’s grants committee, said Salaam Shalom received a grant because “it will create social change. It deals with creating a more civil society, and it impressed us that [Salaam Shalom] now feels solid in the relationship between Muslim and Jewish women that they can start working with Christian evangelicals.”

Other organizations that will receive grants include Avodah, GatherDC, Jews United for Justice, Human Trafficking Legal Center, Nicharot and Camp Moshava.

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