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  • 20 Jun 2019 by Lori Kowit

    Dear Friends,

    Tricia Ginis, our Executive Director, and I just returned from Baltimore where we attended the URJ North American Board (NAB) meeting. The Board is the governing body of the URJ. As the President (and Executive Director) of ECE-RJ, we are non-voting members of the Board. During the meeting, we heard from several different leaders in the movement.

    • Julie Levi Lerner, URJ’s Executive Vice President, shared the 2019-20 URJ Growth Objectives. These objectives focus on three areas: Outreach, Mobilization and Capacity Building- to create “an active network to build a whole, just, compassionate world.”
    • The NAB voted and approved an Anti-Semitism Resolution.
    • Isabel (Liz) Dunst and Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner from the Religious Action Center (RAC) talked about the RAC’s New Reform Movement Social Justice Strategy.
    • Alec Harris, AnnDee Levy, and Liz Grumbacher spoke about the 2019 Biennial and the new learning experiences and changes that will be occurring.
    • The board approved a new congregation, Temple Beth Shalom from Melrose, Massachusetts, into the URJ.

    The last week in June the ECE-RJ Board will be in New York for our Summer Board Meeting. We have a packed agenda, including the installation of two new board members -- Susie Weiner (MI) as VP of Administration and Pam Ranta (CA) as VP of Accounts.

    On behalf of ECE-RJ, I would like to thank Paula Katz (TX) and Marci Sperling-Flynn (IL) for their dedication to ECE-RJ and for all of their hard work on the board.


  • 18 Jun 2019 by Tricia Ginis

    It is astonishing to me that “on average, women working full time in the United States are paid just 80 percent of what men in comparable positions are paid. Sadly, the gender pay gap also exists within Jewish institutions at similar rates. Salary data from Reform Movement professional associations reveals that Reform institutions are not immune from these societal problems.

    The issue of pay equity is often defined as a woman’s issue, yet we know it to be an issue of human rights and social justice. By engaging the entire Reform Movement around this issue, we are reinforcing the message that economic justice for women is at the core of our fundamental Jewish values.”

    In my role as Executive Director of ECE-RJ, I often work with Directors during contract negotiations as well as guide congregations throughout the placement and on-boarding process.

    The reform movement has been working on the Reform Pay Equity Initiative and Jennie Rubin, Immediate Past President, has been the ECE-RJ representative on the task force. Here  is what Jennie has to say about her work on this issue:


    Over the last 2.5 years, I have been ECE-RJ’s representative to the Reform Pay Equity Initiative (RPEI).

    Powerfully lead by Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN), and Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), organizational representatives from every arm of the Reform Movement came together to address the pay inequity that exists between genders.

     The research done initially, in 2016, illustrated that, in general, women in the Reform movement were making $.83 to the $1.00, compared to their male counterparts. This was slightly better than the national average but still disconcerting.

    Because our professional organization is over 99% female, early childhood educators’ salaries could not be factored into the study. There weren’t enough men in the profession to determine inequity based upon gender. However, the information ECE-RJ provided is consistent with what national survey studies have indicated. Our profession is drastically underpaid. It is even more apparent when compared with other educational colleagues who work within Reform institutions.  Our teachers usually possess specialized training but are compensated less because of the age group they work with.

    Jeneen Interlandi said it perfectly in the title of her NY Times Article, “Why Are Our Most important Teachers Paid the Least?”

    Research continues to validate how important our work is for both the secular and Jewish future. Diana Granger stated, in an article for eJewish Philanthropy “If we believe in Judaism as an ethical guide, promoting decency and dignity… we have to bridge the massive gap between the real and ideal…especially...when we examine the grim reality of how we (under) compensate and (de) value Jewish early childhood educators.” 

    As we continue our journey toward equitable compensation, including pension, benefits, and professional development for full-time employees, the incredible resources created by The Reform Pay Equity Initiative are available for all of us to reference at .

    Become familiar with the resources. Share this website with others within your organization.

     If you are the employer, make strides where you can. Remember that ECE-RJ is one of your most valuable resources. We are continuing to strengthen the mindset regarding the value of our work. Let’s work together to make sure that we are compensated accordingly.