Empowering ultra-Orthodox women through a higher education, career, and leadership training

Empowering ultra-Orthodox women through a higher education, career, and leadership training

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We want religious women to actualize themselves intellectually, personally and economically. We want to help them break out of traditional roles and options, and forge new directions, and in the process enrich society as well, particularly the marginalized sectors of society. Our 4 goals are to provide these women with a higher education, a career, leadership training, and then for them to go on and open music programs in the periphery. To accomplish this we set up a BA program that is all female, contains a job placement component, business and leadership workshops, and an all female orchestra, which performs in schools, nursing homes, areas hit by terror attacks, and in free concerts open to the public, to make the arts accessible to everyone.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our participants are ultra-Orthodox women of all ages who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. These women do not often get the chance to attain a higher degree or become economically self-sufficient. Our program allows them to engage in an area they truly love, music, instead of being forced to work in an area deemed more appropriate and traditional for them. The program also gives these women a sense of belonging by meeting and getting to know other women of similar backgrounds who share a love of music, and expands their horizons as they meet musicians, teachers and students of all walks of life. With the current financial crisis, it is important that these women have an opportunity to become economically stable, and to achieve that status by doing something they want to do. The designers and executers of the program are religious women from the same background, and so they not only understand the issues facing the women, but serve as spectacular role models and examples of success.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The participants are musically talented ultra-Orthodox Jewish women from low socio-economic backgrounds. Due to their socio-economic backgrounds and the constraints of their religious lifestyle, these women are often excluded from the mainstream musical and business spheres, instead being employed in more traditional roles and hardly ever completing a B.A. Our program certifies these women as music teachers and assists in finding them employment. No other similar program exists; Conservatory students themselves approached the administration and pushed for the creation of the B.A. program. The program is in its beginning years, yet has already shown incredible potential. We have reached full enrollment each year and have been able to serve a very real need of music education in the religious community. There is a scarcity of degree-holding music teachers in the religious community, and our program has succeeded in simultaneously providing valuable teaching certification and employment for our participants, and qualified and motivated music teachers for the religious community. The evolution of our program is also an excellent paradigm of a grass-roots innovation whose basic components can be tailored to other minority groups and their specific needs.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The primary activities of our project are providing educational and job opportunities to a group of women who normally would not have access to them. We strive to help these women become economically independent despite their financial and religious constraints. There is a scarcity of degree-holding music teachers in the religious community, and our program has succeeded in simultaneously providing valuable teaching certification and employment for our participants, along with qualified and motivated music teachers for the religious community. The leadership and business workshops help participants who want to open music programs in underserved areas. Our participants are role models for the girls in the communities they return to.
About You
Ron Shulamit
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Ron Shulamit

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Founder: Ms. Nomi Perl, M.Ed in Musical Education, is a Mandel Educational Leadership Program and Levinsky College graduate. Ms. Perl also received training at the Institute Delacruz in Geneva. From a very young age, Nomi exhibited a great love and talent for music. Although she came from an ultra-religious home, her parents were very open-minded and encouraged Nomi to pursue her dreams. As she did, she repeatedly met other women of similar background and talent who were unable follow their dream, as no all-female degree-granting music institution existed for them to pursue their studies; the majority of them abandoned their dream, their talent laid to waste. Through hard work and perseverance Nomi advanced musically and educationally and resolved that she would help other women do so as well. When approached by her female students to create a degree-granting program, she took up the challenge, and several years ago, the Women's Certification program was created, adhering to all the requirements of a religious lifestyle, enabling religious women to obtain a higher education and pursue their dream. Ms. Perl, an ultra-orthodox musician, has raised the banner of encouraging excellence and leadership amongst ultra-orthodox women. She sees the integration of music and teaching as a part of a self realization for these women.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

We recently graduated our third class; all the participants successfully completed their B.A. and found employment after graduation, several participants even opened their own music programs. Our goal is to maintain these high success rates; we will monitor our graduates after completion of the program to track employment status. We will also serve as a resource and provider of guidance for graduates throughout their professional career.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

101- 1,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We expect our project to continue its current success, and hopefully expand it over the next three years, accepting more students and establishing more music programs in more communities (thus providing more jobs and more cultural enrichment). As the years progress we will gain a better understanding of what we can do to better the experience for our participants. We intend to extend the public awareness to our program through the media and governmental organizations. We also plan to continuously upgrade the business development component of the program so as to equip participants with more tools to establish new music programs.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

A lack of funding might hinder the success of our Women’s Music Education Certification, but we hope to overcome this by diligently seeking new funding opportunities and holding benefit concerts featuring our participants.

Tell us about your partnerships

We have partnered with the Joint Distribution Committee for funding, the Ministry of Education, for funding; the Higher Education Council, with regards to curriculm content and oversight; We have partnered with conservatories, kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools, as venues for our participants to gain practice teaching.

Explain your selections

Foundations: The Joint Distribution Committee: 10%
National Government: The Ministry of Education subsidies 26% of the students cost. Customers: our students pay 54%

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

We hope to strengthen our Women’s Music Education Certification project by observing any hardships experienced by our students, along with any difficulties they face after graduation. We will do our best to incorporate this into our program and also provide any educational and professional counselling they might need.

One practical example is our plan to address the issue of childcare. Several of our students are struggling with balancing their studies and caring for their infants. We plan on establishing on-site childcare to resolve the problem.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Restrictive cultural norms


Restricted access to new markets


Lack of skills/training

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Our innovation deals with the restrictive cultural norms from the Orthodox background of our participants, which leads to restricted access to new markets (i.e. teaching and performing music), and a lack of skills and training. Our program provides these skills and training so that our participants develop their talent, as well as gain a higher education and career. We accomplish this by having an all-female educational venue (all the staff and teachers are female), as well as all-female performance groups (we have the oly professional orchestra in the country, which are graduates can perform in for a salary), and all-female performance venues, thus creating access to new markets.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services



Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Through our concerts and publicity, word of our program spreads throughout the community, country and hopefully the world as well. As more participants earn their BA and teaching certifications, word of the Women’s Music Education Certification at the Conservatory will grow, and women in the Orthodox community who have a passion for music will know that they have a place to further their education, develop their talent, and pursue a career.
Complementary services, such as the addition of more business courses, are planned for the near future, to help more graduates realize the goal of establishing music programs throughout the country, to bring arts enrichment to areas that lack it.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

NGOs/Nonprofits, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Academia: Our collaboration with the Levinsky College of Education in Tel Aviv is crucial to our success. It is through this college that our participants gain their accreditation.
NGO's: Our collaboration with various NGO's has helped us develop our counseling and employment services
Government: We collaborate with governmental organizations for counseling and oversight