The Torah Fund 80th Anniversary: A D’var Torah

Posted on Nov 22, 2022

We have reached a most notable milestone, 80 years of supporting Torah Fund! 

As our matriarchs gathered to create an entity that would assist our future clergy, the world was on the brink of war. The United States entered World War II in 1942, joining Canada, which had entered the war in 1939. It was a time that saw women creating a variety of auxiliaries to make a difference in the world they lived in. 

The Women’s Coast Guard Auxiliary was established, as well as the Women’s Army Auxiliary, commonly known as the WAAC. Over 150,000 American women joined this special group during the war. “General Douglas MacArthur said the women in his command were ‘My best soldiers. They worked harder, complained less, and were better disciplined than the men.’”1

At the same time, the members of National Women’s League realized that they also needed to mobilize to ensure that students had proper places to live and study, and to provide tuition assistance. They founded Torah Fund. At a time when a gallon of gas cost 15 cents, the average new car cost $920, and the average home cost $3,770, the first donation to Torah Fund was $6.11. In gematria, the numerical value of Hebrew letters, “Torah” is 611. Our “sisters” rose to the occasion, giving “Torah” for future clergy. 

The number 80 is represented by the letter “pey,” the 17th letter in the Hebrew alphabet. “The symbol represents the divine spark of God within the soul.”2 Eighty years ago, our matriarchs knew that this undertaking of Torah Fund was essential. I am sure that there was much praying, as they led members through uncharted waters.  Yet it was a time of activism.  It was a time when the women throughout North America knew that they needed to step up, that soldiers needed their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends, to provide comfort during a very trying era. I am sure that they never imagined that WE would be doing the same thing, 80 years later! Our donations to Torah Fund still provide comfort to our students worldwide—scholarships, programming, and a place to live and study. 

May the next 80 years be as successful as our first 80! 


1 McIlvaine, Ron, “Army women honored for paving new paths throughout military history,” Fort Hood Sentinel, December 22, 2015.

2 Flynn, Alexis, “What is special about the number 80?”, February 11, 2021