Hannah Rosenthal, president and CEO of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, is to be honored on April 11 at a New York City benefit for Project Kesher.
Project Kesher is a Manhattan-based non-profit that helps Jewish women organize and form relationships with other groups, so that they can together become agents of social change. The organization works in Belarus, Russia, the Ukraine and elsewhere.
Project Kesher Executive Director Karyn Gershon said Rosenthal was very helpful to her when the Federation leader served in the Obama administration. She felt that Rosenthal “brought us in,” involving and connecting Project Kesher.
“I’ve known about Project Kesher for years,” said Rosenthal, who noted how the organization has supported activism in the former Soviet Union. “I’m honored that they chose me.”
Hannah Rosenthal has spent her career advocating for Jewish causes. In the Obama administration, Rosenthal served as special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department.
She also served as executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Wisconsin Women’s Council. Rosenthal is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and studied for the rabbinate in Jerusalem and California.
She has long been active in public policy in Wisconsin, serving in support roles to a Wisconsin state representative and a Wisconsin member of Congress, as well as heading a Wisconsin state agency and a regional federal agency.
Project Kesher was founded in the Chicago area, where Rosenthal spent part of her career.
“Hannah’s work against anti-Semitism really aligned with our tolerance initiative,” Gershon said. The initiative is at the core of Project Kesher’s work, the formation of more than 190 Jewish women’s groups, which are part of 90 interfaith coalitions.
“You try to … form relations with easy things and then you’re there for each other when it’s harder,” Gershon said.
Project Kesher has also brought Torahs to communities where there were none, offered job training at computer centers and trained leaders to work at the grassroots level.
Tickets to the benefit in New York City may still be available.