Atlanta’s Jewish women will have an opportunity to experience what it means to be a trustee of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta Nov. 10 at the city’s first ever POW! Power of Women Pop-Up Circle, which will be held at Temple Sinai.
A pop-up giving circle is a stand-alone event during which the women in attendance will hear live presentations from three different programs that focus on girls, after which they will decide together how to allocate the money raised at the event among those programs. Cost of the evening is $180 per person, with daughters aged 14 to 18 joining for no additional cost. “The money collected that night will go out that night,” said Rachel Wasserman, executive director of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta.
“This idea has been in the works for years,” she said. A similar group to JWFA in Chicago recently sponsored a pop-up circle and “I heard it was successful and fun.”
The circle requires no pre- or post-work by participants. “It’s a way for people to amplify their contributions,” Wasserman told the AJT.
All three projects already receive funding from the JWFA. The organization has allocated $20,000 over the past two years to the Young Women in STEM Career Fair and Mentoring Program, Wasserman said. The partnership of the Atlanta Jewish Academy and The Weber School sponsors the program to increase young girls’ access to and interest in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. The program includes a one-day career fair as well as year-round mentoring opportunities for female high school students in the Atlanta area.
JWFA has allocated $15,000 over the last two years to JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship. “It was a pilot when we first supported it,” Wasserman said.
“It provides access to strong Jewish leaders in monthly sessions that address issues that are important to women.” The program not only prepares teens to be strong leaders, but also advocates while incorporating a peer training model.
The third program that will be presented at the pop-up circle received $10,000 from JWFA for a pilot sponsored by SOJOURN: Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity. The new program will provide the missing educational piece of sex education for Jewish LGBTQ teens.
According to SOJOURN Executive Director Rebecca Stapel-Wax, “There’s been an expectation for a long time that everything is a male and female relationship, and that’s not the world we live in. In the last five years, we’ve seen so many folks who don’t identify in a binary way. They don’t feel male or female solely, may feel both or neither. This program targets all of them and their allies.” It also targets parents at two of the eight three-hour segments.
The sessions will cover topics such as contraception, infections, intimacy, mental health and self-care, as well as the consequences of sexual relations. “We focused on girls in our proposal to the Jewish Women’s Fund because they’re often the ones who take on the responsibility. They can get diseases or pregnant and with the laws changing about abortion, they need to know the real consequences.”
At the pop-up session, for its presentation, SOJOURN will “set up a scenario with a parent and teen sharing what goes on in discussions in households. It will be a dramatization,” explained Stapel-Wax. “This program could be a model across the country.”
Likewise, Wasserman said she hopes that the pop-up circle idea catches on in the Atlanta area. “I would love to see it become an annual event.”
To sign up for the evening event, women can register by going to https://jewishatlanta.org/jewish-womens-fund-of-atlanta-2019-event-registration/. Walk-ins are also welcome.