Tidewater women celebrate new milestone givers and 100 years of rescue, relief, and renewal

by | Nov 14, 2014 | Other News

Seated: Emily Caplan Nied, Rachel Abrams and Carin Simon. Standing: Wendy Konikoff, Renee Caplan, Robin Mancoll and Betty Ann Levin.

Seated: Emily Caplan Nied, Rachel Abrams and Carin Simon. Standing: Wendy Konikoff, Renee Caplan, Robin Mancoll and Betty Ann Levin.

Nearly 100 Tidewater women gathered at the 2015 UJFT Women’s Lion–Tikva–Chai Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 23 to honor the community’s newest major donor women and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of UJFT’s overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Jodi Klebanoff, Women’s Cabinet chair, warmly welcomed the women to this year’s luncheon. Following an inspiring D’Var Torah from Rabbi Roz Mandleberg, luncheon co-chairs Barbara Dudley and Mona Flax announced the following new milestone women givers:

New Emerald Lion Of Judah: Martha Mednick Glasser
New Sapphire Lion: Renee Strelitz
New Ruby Lions: Randy Caplan, Renee Caplan, Charlene Cohen, Rebecca Dreyfus, Beth Jaffe
New Lions Of Judah: Marsha Chenman, Claudia Dreyfus, Maggie Erickson, Amy Lefcoe, Laure Saunders
New Tikva Society Donors: Alicia London Friedman, Judith Rosenblatt, Doris Waranch, Alice Werner.
New Chai Society Donors: Gloria Bookbinder, Beth Campion, Harriet Dickman, Kristy Foleck, Jan Ganderson, Sharon Goldner, Jessica Kell, Pam Levinson, Rabbi Roz Mandelberg, Helen Wolfe

The guest speaker for this year’s luncheon was Merri Ukraincik, a writer and lecturer, and a former JDC executive. Working closely with JDC archivist Linda Levi, Ukraincik’s latest project is a beautiful hardcover book, I Live. Send Help. The book chronicles JDC’s first 100 years of service and tells the intertwined history of the agency and the Jewish people.

Ukraincik addressed the audience as vintage photos appeared on a screen. She spoke of the early days of JDC and discussed her personal JDC journey, which began in 1992 when she accepted one of JDC’s prestigious Ralph I Goldman Fellowships. As a Goldman Fellow, Ukraincik spent a year in service in the Jewish communities of Zagreb, Croatia (which was then hosting recent exiles from nearby Bosnia, who had been displaced by the siege of Sarajevo). Here, she said, she learned “to value the mundane and appreciate even the smallest act of kindness, since most days brought news of loss or transition.” On leaving Croatia, Ukraincik moved to the newly liberated Jewish community of Budapest, Hungary, where she witnessed the rebirth of Jewish life after the fall of Communism.

Ukraincik’s presentation, along with her personal narrative, brought home the importance of JDC’s place within modern Jewish history and left all in the room feeling proud and satisfied to have played a part in its success. Likewise, it strengthened their resolve to continue supporting JDC until such time that no one in the Jewish world lives in fear or in need.

The luncheon closed with thanks from Klebanoff to all who participated and to all who helped make the luncheon possible, including corporate sponsors Janet W. Mercadante, Wells Fargo Advisors and the West- Hoffman Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.

Copies of I Live. Send Help. are available for purchase on the JDC website at www.jdc.org (scroll down on the right side of the home page to order a copy).

For more information about becoming a milestone giver in the UJFT Women’s Campaign, contact Women’s Campaign director Amy Zelenka at azelenka@ujft.org or 757-965-6139.

by Amy Zelenka