Office of the Chief Rabbi

Investing in Rebbetzens

The Initiative


This is a landmark new learning series for United Synagogue and United Hebrew Congregation Rebbetzens that aims to give the community’s leading ladies access to thought-provoking speakers, opportunities for Torah study and crucially, to each other, so that they may improve their leadership skills, share expertise and reinvest what they have gleaned in their own community.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the Chief Rabbi’s wife Valerie Mirvis, who, inspired by people whom she had been fortunate to meet or work with, wanted to find ways to empower Rebbetzens, and thereby fortify communities.

We are grateful to the Hulya foundation for their ongoing support for the ‘Investing in Rebbetzens’ programme.

The Vision


To galvanise and empower female community leaders across the UK to better lead and inspire their own communities, by providing programmes emphasising Torah-learning, introspection and a better understanding of their roles as Rebbetzens. Parallel to this is the hope that ladies will feel more included, more connected to their fellow Rebbetzens and better equipped educationally to understand certain issues e.g. complexities of halacha.

The Role of the Rebbetzen today 


The role of the Rebbetzen is becoming more important and influential in our communities, yet the exact roles, skill sets, involvement and engagement from them need to be reassessed, redefined and given appropriate support.

Their role is crucial, as they must be able and supportive partners of their husbands and also outstanding community leaders in their own right. They have a very important part to play in the future of our Jewish life.

Valerie Mirvis and CCE want to galvanize the UK community of Rebbetzens, to empower them to give shiurim and divrei Torah, to run courses and programmes, in running social action and Chesed projects, to facilitate activities of a social, cultural, educational and religious nature, to lead on pastoral care, to support their husbands in their roles, whilst raising their families and sometimes having professions as well.

A Rebbetzen who is in a position of strength has the ability and potential to have an even greater impact on her community.

‘Torah, Thought and You’ Seminar Day – London


A productive Chabura is well underway following guidance from educator Yael Leibowitz

A productive Chabura is well underway following guidance from educator Yael Leibowitz

The first seminar day was received very well by Rebbetzens, who journeyed from around the UK to hear and participate in workshops led by the Torah educator Yael Leibowitz, as well as a creative session led by Rebbetzen Esther Boudilovsky on the myriad demands placed on the contemporary Rebbetzen. It was a rare opportunity for ladies to share their respective experiences of community life. You can read more about it here.

‘You, Your Community, Your Family’ Seminar Day – London


DSC01341_1

Ladies reflected on the many roles of the Rebbetzen in a contemporary community at the seminar

There were repeat attendees and new faces at the second installment of the Investing in Rebbetzens programme, which was facilitated by both Dr Mannie Sher, an expert consultant in organisational development, and Rebbetzen Esther Cohen, who works alongside her husband to foster a vibrant Jewish life for students in the West Midlands. Ladies received tips on maximising their contribution to their communities and had the chance to reflect on the multiple demands that their role encompasses. You can read more about it here.

The Gibraltar Leadership Trip


Valerie leads a session during the Gibraltar Trip

Valerie leads a session during the Gibraltar Trip

Rebbetzens from the UK and the Commonwealth came from as far afield as Hong Kong to join the much-anticipated trip to Gibraltar, which saw ladies avail of unique opportunities for religious, social, historical and communal advancement in the sunny climes of the Commonwealth nation. A very busy programme included audiences with high-profile members of both the Gibraltarian Jewish and secular communities, a tour of the country’s principal tourist sites and a formal dinner event with local Jewish ladies. You can read more about it here.

‘You, Your Community, Your Family’ Seminar Day – Manchester


V hands out

Valerie Mirvis shares her perspective on the role of contemporary rebbetzens with ladies from the regions

Following on from his successful sessions in London, Dr Mannie Sher repeated his professional development seminar for Rebbetzens from the regions. Ladies travelling from places as diverse as St Anne’s, Liverpool and Newcastle also benefited from a presentation delivered by Valerie Mirvis herself. You can read more about it here.

 

Valerie Mirvis launched the Investing in Rebbetzens programme with the below message to ladies:

Dear Rebbetzens,

“We are all aware of the excellent programme of professional development for Rebbetzens of the United Synagogue run by Judy Markovic for P’eir. I have been thinking for some time about arranging some events for Rebbetzens of all communities in the UK that operate under the aegis of my husband’s office.

My thoughts have crystallised into the staging of three wonderful events for Rebbetzens planned for 2016. These events have been inspired by people I have been fortunate to meet or work with, and after a memorable visit to Gibraltar with my husband, I knew it would be the perfect place to hold a leadership trip for Rebbetzens.”

Valerie Mirvis

 

For further information about the Investing in Rebbetzens programme, please contact Rachel Shababo on 0208 343 6309 or email rachel@chiefrabbi.org.