We begin our work rooted in the belief that reformulating hiring and employment processes are key leverage points for Jewish organizations as they begin to address gender biases. In order for the change we seek to become embedded in our communal organizations and our individual actions, we must dig deeply into cultures of bias--and build capacity to recognize and correct these biases as we build support systems to align our employment practices with our Jewish values of equality and fairness.
Building an ecosystem and network of support helps us to think collaboratively, creatively, and differently as we solve work this challenge. This is why we do this work together. We strive to bring multiple perspectives and networks to our effort. Our decades of experience working with Jewish organizations and communities enable us to weave networks of partners, challenge the status quo, pivot to greater inclusivity, and demonstrate how to do so while living by our Jewish values.
Sara Shapiro-Plevan is all about relationships. Her essential focus: considering the way relationships influence the ability to improve our practice, understand our work, and engage effectively with others as we build sustainable communities and workplaces. Sara consults primarily with Jewish organizations to develop a networked, collaborative culture, support alignment with vision, and shift from hierarchy to flatter, networked organizational structures. As part of her work, Sara coaches individuals and teams as they imagine change, inextricably intertwined with the continuum of relationships and connections that make up our communities and workplaces.
Sara is the founder of Rimonim Consulting and is a doctoral candidate in The William Davidson Graduate School of Education of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her work and research aim to enable individuals, teams and communities to understand how they best work in relationship so that they might begin to shift their capacity to work in a productive, connected way to realize their–and their communities’–hopes and dreams. A passionate network weaver and facilitator, Sara works to build relationships to both cultivate and leverage connections to catalyze and generate positive change.
She holds a BA in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies from Brandeis University and an MA in Jewish Education from JTS, and was a fellow in the Senior Educators Program of the Melton Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora at Hebrew University. She is a mikveh guide and volunteer at ImmerseNYC, New York’s Jewish community mikveh, currently serves on the board of the Network for Research in Jewish Education and serves on the steering committee of the Jewish Community Consultants Network. Sara serves on the advisory committee for Ta’amod: Transforming Jewish Workplaces, which seeks to help Jewish communal institutions and all who work, learn, or worship at them develop cultures of safety, respect, and equity. She also serves on the advisory committee of Rising Tide Open Waters Mikveh Network.
RABBI REBECCA SIRBU
She has consulted for synagogues, organizations, and individuals on leadership development, building creative capacity, actualizing ideas, and how to work across religious and cultural borders. She is an expert voice on social media, and a speaker and writer on a variety of issues related to religion in America today. She is published in several books: I am Here: The Untold Stories of Everyday People, Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Women on Why They Stay, and The Sacred Calling: Forty Years of Women in the Rabbinate, and is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy among other publications.
Previously, Rabbi Sirbu was the founding director of The MetroWest Jewish Health and Healing Center and the Director of the Center for Jewish Life at JCC MetroWest in West Orange, NJ where she used her skills as a trained hospital chaplain, pastoral counselor, and Jewish educator to foster Jewish community, love of learning, and spiritual growth. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College, she holds a master’s degree and ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu is the Director of the Engagement Division at Hadassah, where she is bringing Hadassah’s vision to a whole new generation of women. Selected as one of the “Most Inspirational Rabbis in America” by The Forward Newspaper, Rabbi Sirbu sits at the leading edge of American Jewish life. She comes to Hadassah after being the Director of Clal’s Rabbis Without Borders, a pluralist network of rabbis dedicated to serving the needs of all people through creative use of Jewish wisdom. She is also the founder of RabbiCareers.com, making it easier for rabbis and communities of all types to find each other.
The Gender Equity in Hiring Project is fiscally sponsored by Jumpstart. Jumpstart was founded in 2008 as a “thinkubator” for new approaches to building organizations within and beyond the Jewish community. The impetus was an explosion of creative social entrepreneurship giving shape to emergent projects growing outside the walls of institutional organizations. This new approach was evidenced across faith communities as creative leaders sought ways to express their values using the latest tools and technologies for social benefit and community building.
The Gender Equity in Hiring Project is a proud recipient of funding from the Safety Respect Equity Network. A Jewish network to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the Safety Respect Equity Network works to ensure safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces by addressing sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination.
The SRE Network believes that we are called upon by the ethical standards of our tradition to address these issues within our community, as well as to lend our voices and action to the national movement seeking a culture shift in our country.
To that end, SRE brings together organizations, funders, individuals and experts to help create lasting, systemic change. The role of SRE is to serve as catalyst and resource: we aim to support, coordinate and amplify change in individual organizations as well as accelerate a broader cultural shift.