views updated


EMUNAH , World Religious Zionist Women's Organization, the third largest women's movement in Israel. Founded in Jerusalem in 1925, Emunah was incorporated as a worldwide movement in 1977. World Emunah combines the Israel National Religious Women's Movement and its sister organizations in 28 countries with a membership of over 150,000. This voluntary organization is devoted to educational and social service programs. Emunah is unique in that it is rooted in Jewish tradition and emphasizes the spiritual and moral heritage of the Jewish people within a Zionist framework. In Israel, Emunah has around 100,000 members.

The Israeli programs include a network of 120 day care centers, six residential homes for deprived children, six high schools, an arts and technology college for girls, and Emunah's teachers college. Its social-welfare projects in Israel range from literacy programs to group dynamics and family counseling. The organization runs an emergency center for abused children. In Israel, Emunah volunteers' activities in the absorption of new immigrants have been noted with distinction by the awarding to them of municipal and national awards. In the field of women's rights, Emunah is active in promoting legislation and representing women in such bodies as the rabbinical courts. The organization also runs a club for business and career women.

In addition to supporting the Israeli projects, the member organizations worldwide conduct adult education outreach programs within their own countries to strengthen their commitment to Jewish values and Jewish living. Emunah worldwide is actively involved in community programs relating to religious education, support for Israel, and pressing contemporary issues affecting world Jewry. Emunah is represented on major Zionist and Jewish bodies in its member countries as well as in international forums.