By Ariel Pinsky
The Shearith Israel Night Shelter for Women has changed its name to Rebecca’s Tent, the first of several changes the nonprofit organization will see in the coming months.
The organization, located off University Drive, provides homeless women of all backgrounds with food and shelter along with the job-coaching and résumé-building tools they need to turn their lives around.
The new name comes as part of an effort to broaden the reach of the shelter in terms of volunteers, community support and fundraising, shelter board Chairman Daniel Newman said.
“One of the things we were hearing pretty consistently was that unfortunately the name was starting to become a barrier,” he said.
The organization separated from Congregation Shearith Israel as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2010 and now involves multiple congregations and partners.
The new name conveys the broader spirit of the shelter through the biblical traditions of hospitality, said Newman, who has been the chairman for six years. The facility is named for the matriarch Rebecca because, like the shelter, she “welcomed those in need with open arms” by offering water and shelter to Abraham’s servant.
Other changes for the organization include the selection of a new chairman by the board of directors on Monday, July 20, and the ongoing search for a replacement for Executive Director Sallie Weddell, who is retiring in October after six years.
Weddell said the changes at the shelter are exciting. “We’ve got new programs that we have put in place in the past couple of years, we’re going to have new leadership, and we’ve got a new brand to take our message to the community and hopefully attract more volunteers.”