Jewish Atlanta is constantly evolving. Our city changes a little bit each day, and with those changes come people who are determined to solve problems and make our community richer and more welcoming than before. Federation’s Jewish Innovation Initiative supports groups and individuals in our city who do this important work. In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to highlight just two of the women-led organizations backed by the Innovation Initiative that are blazing new trails in Jewish Atlanta.
JScreen at Emory University
JScreen’s mission is to eliminate devastating genetic diseases through affordable, convenient, and comprehensive, genetic testing and genetic counseling, with a focus on the Jewish population. This now-national program was founded in Atlanta, and is led by Executive Director Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, MS, CGC, CCRC, and Director of Operations Felicia Mayer, MSEd, LPC.
“Although JScreen is a national program, community-based funding enables us to focus on our community. Having Atlanta as our home base makes Innovation funding even more meaningful. With Innovation funding, we have been able to screen hundreds of Jewish Atlantans for hereditary cancer risk, providing them with life-saving information for their personal health and the health of their families.”
– Felicia Mayer, MSEd, Director of Operations at JScreen
Ma’alot is a spiritual community transforming lives through music, nature & Jewish wisdom. This organization aims to build “synagogues without walls” and break the stigmas that many people carry about what Judaism “should” look like, and instead discover traditions that speak to our hearts and souls.
“As a female rabbi ordained by a traditional institution, I personally relate to feelings of alienation and disenfranchisement from Jewish establishments. Ma’alot is part of a national shift of female entrepreneurs in the rabbinate to transform Jewish culture and community. We are grateful for the support of the Federation’s Innovation Fund for supporting a female-founded organization that is working to center marginalized voices and lead the community forwards.”
– Rabbi Ariel Wolpe, Director and Founder of Ma’alot
There are other Innovation-backed organizations that are led by exceptional Jewish women, including the Jewish Fertility Foundation and Jewish Climate Action Network of Georgia (JCAN-GA) The Jewish Innovation Initiative is proud to invest in local talent, especially when these genius minds are from populations that have traditionally been overlooked. By putting our resources into the brilliant women of tomorrow, we ensure that Jewish Atlanta’s brightest talents remain in Atlanta.