NA’AMAT USA is a sister organization to NA’AMAT Israel, and councils and clubs around the U.S., including one in the East Valley, help support and raise funds for all of NA’AMAT’s educational and social service programs in Israel. Volunteers, with some professional staff, plan events, enjoy each other’s company in special interest groups and promote the organization’s mission of helping families.
NA’AMAT USA Executive Director Deanna Migdal recently visited Chandler to speak to the East Valley’s Mitzvah Chapter and share the latest information about NA’AMAT’s work in Israel.
“NA’AMAT operates approximately 233 daycare centers covering the map in Israel,” according to Migdal. “These centers allow women to work without worrying about their babies and toddlers. The tuition is on a sliding scale so it can be affordable for all. Psychologists and social workers, along with our specially trained staff, help our many children traumatized by war and terror attacks and those from disadvantaged homes.”
NA’AMAT also has 17 technological high schools and two youth villages for at-risk teens, which become a second home for them, as well as provide vocational training to troubled teens who had previously fallen through the cracks of traditional high schools.
“Our utmost priority is to advance the status of women and provide education, preventative health care education, counseling, legal aid and help in matters of domestic violence and sexual harassment. These issues are addressed in all areas of NA’AMAT, including our women’s health and empowerment centers, legal aid bureaus and battered women’s shelter.
– Deanna Migdal, executive director of NA’AMAT USA
In addition, NA’AMAT provides scholarships and grants for women seeking master’s and doctorate degrees in traditionally male-dominated fields. At this year’s annual ceremony, held in Tel Aviv this past July, 200 women were awarded scholarships in science, medicine, pharmacology, cancer research and gender studies.
NA’AMAT’s newest women’s health and empowerment center, along with its two daycare centers in the Sderot area, are currently on high alert due to the conflict in Gaza. “As the rockets and fire kites sail into the area, our facilities are busier than ever shoring up security and providing counseling and care for those suffering from trauma,” Migdal said.
Migdal started working as NA’AMAT USA’s first employee when the organization moved the national office from New York to Los Angeles in 2014. She became its executive director in April 2016. She says her biggest highlight so far was presenting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with NA’AMAT’s Golda Meir Humanitarian Award in celebration of the organization’s 90th anniversary in 2016.
“I was instrumental in planning and coordinating the entire event in the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.,” Migdal said. “In her honor, we have added an RBG Law Scholarship to our Professional Scholarship Program in Israel. She spoke about our mutual passion for gender equality and women’s rights. It was truly a once-in-a lifetime experience.”
Although NA’AMAT USA is primarily a women’s organization, it has affiliates and “friends” that are men. There are many ways to get involved, as there are chapters throughout the country, including one in Chandler.
The Mitzvah Chapter was started by Susan Sparago, who was a member of NA’AMAT in New York for more than 50 years. She started the local chapter soon after moving to the East Valley and the chapter received its charter in September 2017. The group meets monthly, both at the EVJCC at in private homes and is planning an ice cream social on Oct. 10.
For more information about the NA’AMAT Mitzvah Chapter, contact Susan, 480-279-6567 or email@example.com. Learn more about the organization at naamat.org.
Top photo caption: NA’AMAT Executive Director Deanna Migdal, third from left, speaks to members of Chandler’s Mitzvah Chapter about NA’AMAT’s work in Israel during a recent visit to Arizona. All photos courtesy of NA’AMAT.
– Leisah Woldoff