Momentum turns women into community leaders


Since the creation of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project in 2009, more than 10,000 women have participated in the Momentum trip. Momentum connects women to the land of Israel, to their Jewish values and each other through an eight-day journey filled with educational lessons and planned activities.

Best described as “Birthright for moms” the fully subsidized program enables moms of children under the age of 17 to travel to Israel with the only expense incurred being their plane ticket and some minimal fees.

The program is hosted by various organizations from around the world. “It was brought to our community four years ago by the Kollel, which later turned into the Jewish Connection of Phoenix,” explains Kim Subrin, COO of the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center. That is where Kim first learned about the program, and she applied to be a participant.

Then Kim started working at the Valley of the Sun JCC, where she was approached by a woman who informed her that the Federation, along with the JCC, had been thinking about starting their own “chapter” of the JWRP project and would she like to run it? “So, I went in December 2016 as a participant and in July 2017 as the leader,” says Kim.

In exchange for the trip, women must commit to a year of community involvement with the organization who sent them. “The JCC and Federations’ vision is to help build strong female leaders within our community,” explains Kim. “So, the focus of our year-long curriculum is all about community and how to get involved with your community.”

After the Israel trip is over, Kim provides the participants with a year-long calendar of monthly activities, so they can see what areas interest them and where they would like to get involved. She also exposes the participants to other influential female leaders to see what is being done right now in the community.

The women who traveled together this summer returned with amazing memories and a new network of friends. Kim says that they have their own private Facebook page and will text each other throughout the day. Kim felt like she was “doing something right” when the women would want to hang out together in Israel even when they had free time in the evening.

Even though being a trip leader is more stressful than being a participant, Kim considers herself lucky, “I had the privilege of watching these women experience it and live it through them,” she explains. “There is nothing like watching someone walk up to the Kotel – the Western Wall – for the first time. It is for many a life changing experience and to be a part of that – it’s a gift.”

Kim also shares another favorite memory from the trip, “After we lit Shabbat candles, as we were walking to Shabbat dinner, myself and a couple of the women sang Jewish camp songs for the whole 25-minute walk,” she chuckles. “When you are in Israel, you feel so at home that you can shout Jewish songs from the top of your lungs and feel comfortable about it. It’s one of those experience that is so much fun, but made even better because you are in Israel.”

JWRP is accepting applications beginning on Dec. 1 and then applicant interviews will be conducted starting in late winter or early spring for the fall 2018 trip. Applicants must have a child age 17 or younger in the home, cannot be shomer Shabbos and must live within a certain distance from the sponsoring organization. For more information, or to apply, visit jwrp.org.

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