On Thursday, Oct. 24, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater Women’s Cabinet welcomed Alison Goldstein Lebovitz to its annual Lion-Tikva-Chai Luncheon at the Sandler Family Campus. Lebovitz is one of this year’s JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet co-chairs, and her message to the women in the room was a powerful one: Each and every person has within him- or herself the power and potential to change the world.
Lebovitz shared her personal Jewish journey with nearly 90 luncheon attendees. Having grown up in Birmingham, Ala. and now living in Chattanooga, Tenn., Lebovitz has a true understanding of what it means to grow up in the “Jewish South.” Heavily influenced by her parents’ hopes and dreams for her and her siblings, Lebovitz recalled her father placing particular emphasis on the need for his children to marry Jewish spouses and raise Jewish children.
Jewish continuity, vitality, and longevity were high priorities in her family. As a teenager Lebovitz often challenged her father with “what if” scenarios about the sort of man she might someday meet and fall in love with. “You can’t help who you fall in love with,” she would tell him. His response never changed, never wavered. And when years later, as an adult – married with children—Lebovitz questioned him more seriously about why he was so steadfast in his vision for her, her father replied that he “never wanted to look back with regret.” He never wanted to feel that he’d done any less than his very best to make certain his children understood clearly what was expected from them. He didn’t want to leave it up to chance or assume that they would just know how to act. He wanted to be very clear to his children that commitment to Jewish life, Jewish family, and Jewish community should be of utmost importance to them as individuals and as members of the Jewish community.
Lebovitz’s stories were laced with humor and poignancy. Emotions in the room swung from laughter to tears as many recalled their own childhoods and relationships with parents and children. It should come as no surprise that Lebovitz can spin a beautiful story. As a writer, local TV talk show host in Chattanooga, and committed Jewish lay leader and philanthropist, Lebovitz brings the perfect combination of charm and inspiration to groups she addresses on behalf of Jewish Federations throughout the country. The UJFT women’s division looks forward to inviting her back for future women’s events, so that her message can reach an even wider audience.
This year’s Lion Tikva Chai Luncheon was co-chaired by Randi Gordon and Cindy Kramer. The co-chairs were pleased to announce and honor the community’s newest leadership women donors—those who have reached milestone levels of giving since last year’s Lion Tikva Chai luncheon—including:
NEW ZAHAV LION OF JUDAH
Women giving $50,000+ to the 2014 UJFT Annual Campaign
NEW LIONS OF JUDAH
Women giving $5,000+ to the 2014 UJFT Annual Campaign
Jeri Jo Halprin
Betty Ann Levin
NEW TIKVA SOCIETY DONORS
Women giving $3,600+ to the 2014 UJFT Annual Campaign
NEW CHAI SOCIETY DONORS
Women giving $1,800+ to the 2014 UJFT Annual Campaign
Lisa Finkel Leon
The 2014 UJFT Women’s Campaign is off to a great start. Jodi Klebanoff, Women’s chair, shared a brief update with the crowd, giving campaign totals and percentage increases. Perhaps most exciting of all was the increased number of FACE-TO-FACE solicitations that have been completed so far in the campaign. This year’s campaign is placing a heavy emphasis on FACETO- FACE meetings, and in her opening remarks at the Luncheon, Klebanoff stressed, “We will not be asking you to make your gift at today’s luncheon…but we will ask this: when you receive a phone call from your volunteer campaign worker asking you to meet FACE-TO-FACE, please say ‘yes.’ You will be glad you did.”
Are you interested in making a leadership gift in the UJFT Women’s Division? If so, this is a great year to make the leap from your current level of giving. The UJFT is offering a number of terrific incentives to help bring your gift to the “next level.” Contact Amy Zelenka, UJFT Women’s Campaign director, at 965-6139 or email email@example.com.
by Amy Zelenka, UJFT Women’s Campaign director