Women’s League for Conservative Judaism Expands Its Focus to Include Koach

In keeping with its mission to perpetuate Conservative/Masorti Judaism in the home, synagogue and community, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is pleased to announce that it is sponsoring the 2012 Koach Kallah. Koach is the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s college outreach program and its kallah brings Conservative student leaders from across the continent together each February.

For most of its 93 years, Women’s League – the umbrella organization of over 500 sisterhoods in the United States and Canada – has supported the Conservative movement’s key institutions of higher learning—the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, and the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. Now, In keeping with its mission, Women’s League has expanded that focus to students from colleges and universities across North America.

Women’s League’s leadership is intent on ensuring that the Conservative movement does not lose the next generation of Jews to the myriad influences that impressionable young people encounter when they leave their home communities for the unlimited choices found on most campuses. More than 90 percent of all North American Jewish students in enroll in college. Although the Orthodox movements continue to commit an estimated $15 million this population, budget considerations have forced the liberal movements to cut back their offerings on campus.

For more than two decades United Synagogue has supported Koach’s kallah, but now, as it works toward the goals laid out in its new strategic plan, it too has been forced to cut back its funding. Women’s League has come forward to ensure that this vitally important program continues.

Members of Women’s League are the mothers and grandmothers of hundreds of thousands of current and future college students. They recognize that young adults are idealistic, open to new experiences, searching for meaning, and still developing their sense of themselves. They understand the need for entertaining, engaging, accessible, and meaningful Jewish experiences on campus. They appreciate that if their children and grandchildren have an outlet to explore and experience Conservative Judaism on their own terms, they have considerably improved the oddsthat these students will live modern Jewish lives after graduation.

Koach provides college students the opportunity to maintain and develop connections to Conservative Judaism while nurturing a love of Torah, the Jewish people, Israel and God through a variety of social, religious, educational, cultural, and social action programs. More than 2,200 students from scores of campuses have participated in the kallah over the last 22 years, and each one has brought programming ideas, enthusiasm, and a commitment to Conservative/Masorti values back to their campuses, Hillels and Jewish communities.

According to Richard Skolnik, United Synagogue’s international president, “We are grateful to Women’s League for providing this additional support for this crucial population. The Koach kallah in particular produces both tangible and intangible results. Many students have met their future spouses and formed lifelong friendships there. Many kallah participants are now active members of our kehillot.”

Rita Wertlieb, president of Women’s League, said that Women’s League’s sponsorship of the Koach kallah “sends a clear message that we are committed to providing all of our college students with opportunities to become passionate about being Conservative Jews who are committed to our traditions as well as to tikkun olam. We are thrilled to become partners with United Synagogue in expanding the reach of Koach by underwriting this essential part of the Koach agenda. At the same time, we hope that our assistance will challenge Koach to increase participation in the kallah and thereby increase our impact on the next generation of synagogue and sisterhood members.”