Just walking into the Fleder Multipurpose Room at noontime on Thursday, Nov. 1, one sensed energy and high spirits. Looking a little more closely, one immediately understood…this was a room full of powerful women. The 2013 United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Lion Tikva Chai Luncheon was all about celebrating the power of Jewish women to make a difference in the world and shape the future for generations to come.
Jodi Klebanoff, Women’s Cabinet vice chair, invited the women to take their seats and enjoy the lunch. Bootsie Goldmeier, luncheon co-chair, welcomed all to the event and opened with a beautiful D’Var Torah referencing the week’s parasha Vayera, where (among many other things) Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Without once questioning, and with full faith in God, Abraham prepares to undertake the task. God rewards his unwavering faith by sparing Isaac and blessing the Jewish People.
Amy Lefcoe, luncheon co-chair, recognized the campaign’s newest milestone women donors.
New Chai Society Donors (women giving an individual campaign gift of $1,800 or greater to the 2013 UJFT Annual Campaign) are:
New Tikva Society Donors (women giving an individual campaign gift of $3,600 or greater to the 2013 UJFT Annual Campaign) are:
New Lion of Judah Donors (women giving an individual campaign gift of $5,000 or greater to the 2013 UJFT Annual Campaign) are:
In addition, two Lions of Judah moved from one milestone level to another:
Shelia Josephberg became a new Amethyst Lion of Judah Donor (making an individual campaign gift of $50,000 or greater), and
Randi Gordon became a new Ruby Lion of Judah (making an individual campaign gift of $10,000 or greater)
Lefcoe introduced the guest speaker, Lori Palatnik. In her remarks, Palatnik, founder of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, spoke directly to the issue of the power of Jewish women, citing a variety of biblical interpretations, and pointing out that throughout the Torah, it was the women who consistently trusted in God (hearkening back to parsaha Vayera and Abraham’s unwavering faith) and kept the Jewish People moving forward toward the Promised Land, even when the men doubted or feared, or stumbled along the way. Palatnik was charming and engaging, using humor and pop culture to reinforce her message of empowerment.
Palatnik enchanted the room with humor and grace. She made each of the more than 80 participants feel that they personally had the power to help shape the future of the Jewish community and to make the world a better place.
Laura Gross, Women’s Cabinet chair, closed the event with a thank you to the women who make the gifts and who make the calls to ask others to support the Jewish community. She appealed to those who had not yet made their 2013 Campaign commitments to do so before leaving the luncheon. And she shared some of her recent experiences during the Women’s Mission to Cuba. Gross stressed the importance of continuing to support the agencies and programs which improve Jewish lives from Tidewater to Havana (Cuba), to Bucharest (Romania), to Budapest (Hungary) to Pardes Katz (Israel). “We are obligated to take care of one another,” said Gross, and the Annual Campaign of the UJFT offers a way to fulfill that obligation.
For more photos from the Lion Tikva Chai Luncheon (as well as from the recent UJFT Women’s Mission to Cuba), visit www.jewishva.org/women. For more information on how to get involved in the UJFT Women’s Campaign, contact Amy Zelenka at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 965-6139.
by Amy Zelenka, UJFT Women’s Campaign director