The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel

We are proud and excited to announce that Heidi Schneider has been elected to Chair of the Board of the Masorti Foundation.  Heidi has served on the board as a director and she has been a tireless advocate for Masorti values.

To her 25+ years of work on behalf of Masorti/Conservative Judaism here and in Israel, she brings the passion of someone who has chosen Judaism. A former litigator and a public speaker, she is an ardent Zionist, seeker of social justice, and fearless truth teller. Rabbi Robert Slosberg, current Chair said: “The Foundation is in good hands with Heidi; she’s a leader of great integrity, matching her words and beliefs with action.”

On a mission to Israel, Ms. Schneider confronted Member of Knesset Yair Lapid because her son—while attending high school in Israel– had been told he was not a Jew. She asked: “How do you think it felt to my Jewish child to be told in Israel, the country he loves, by an Israeli, a fellow Jew, that he is not Jewish? It makes my blood boil, and it should yours, too. I ask you, MK Lapid, can you assure me that you will do everything in your power to assure that my children, and the children of other faithful converts to Judaism will be welcomed as equally Jewish in the only Jewish state?”

Heidi Schneider with Rabbi Kravitz
2017 Masorti Gala

The pursuit of an egalitarian, pluralistic, and welcoming Israel has been central to Ms. Schneider’s life and to her work as past president of her congregation, Adath Jeshurun in Minneapolis, as a Trustee of the Masorti Foundation, and as an inspiring community leader and teacher.

Rabbi Harold Kravitz of Adath Jeshurun says: “Heidi has been a trusted partner, a warm and true friend, a tireless advocate for the congregation, and for Masorti/Conservative Judaism. I’m proud and delighted at her elevation to Chair of the Masorti Foundation. Heidi’s vision for building a thriving future for modern religious streams in Israel is exactly what’s needed—with her dynamism and spirit, she’ll be unstoppable.”

Beth Leonard, former Board Chair of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation who now serves on the Board of Governors of JAFI (Jewish Agency for Israel), adds: “Heidi is an extraordinary leader of our community and our synagogue. She inspires with wisdom and kindness, championing the cause of Masorti Judaism in Israel.”

I’m honored,” says Heidi, “to have been chosen Chair. I am continually inspired by the important work of our Masorti colleagues in Israel. I’m prepared to channel my energy to hold the State of Israel true to the words of its founding document, that it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture…”

Heidi and Executive Director Gideon Aronoff are laser-focused on issues of religious equality and social justice in Israel including:

  • Recognition of the legitimacy of all Jewish streams in Israel
  • Acceptance of converts, including Masorti Jews from Uganda
  • An expanded and fully accessible egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall
  • Support for the rights of the disabled to fully participate in Jewish practice, starting with Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies

Of Heidi’s election, Gideon says:  “Heidi has been a tireless advocate and passionate fighter in the struggle for equality, and for observance combined with modernity, in Israel. I am thrilled to be working in partnership with her, and grateful to have her guidance, as together we propel Masorti to the forefront of leadership in the Jewish community in Israel.

Read this powerful and deeply moving talk Heidi delivered at Tifereth Israel in Des Moines, this past July.

For a downloadable copy of the press release announcing Heidi Schneider’s election, click here.