The Jewish Outreach Institute is at the forefront of Jewish organizations that grapple with central issues facing the American Jewish community, particularly how to better “open our tent” to intermarried families, newcomers to Judaism, and all who would cast their lot with the Jewish people.

This year, JOI will present its Visionary Award to Meryl Frank. Meryl has gained national and international attention for her work on behalf of women and was recently appointed by President Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Known for her commitment to ethics and good government, she previously served as mayor of Highland Park, NJ. Meryl exemplifies the qualities valued at the Jewish Outreach Institute through her unwavering commitment to advocate for the empowerment of women and to break down barriers that contribute to their disenfranchisement.

The Tribute Evening will also honor the women of The Mothers Circle, JOI’s signature support and educational experience for women of other religious backgrounds who are raising Jewish children. They are the unsung heroes of the Jewish community and together we will celebrate their dedication to creating a Jewish home.



Rebecca Naomi Jones has been singing, dancing, and performing her entire life. Born and raised in New York City, her parents helped cultivate in her a strong background in the arts, supporting her love of music and theater. She has performed on Broadway (in the Tony award winning plays American Idiot and Passing Strange), Off-Broadway (Wig Out!, This Beautiful City) and in both movies (Miracle at St. Anna) and television (Fringe). As a multicultural child of intermarriage with deep connections to her Jewish roots, Jones embodies the welcoming and inclusive spirit that drives the work of The Mothers Circle and the Jewish Outreach Institute.