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UJFT Women’s Campaign moves from Strength to Strength by Amy Zelenka, UJFT Women’s Campaign director photos by Laine Mednick Rutherford


n Thursday, May 9, the Women’s Cabinet of the UJFT held its biennial Spring Installation Luncheon to thank and recognize the members of the Women’s Cabinet whose terms of service were complete and to welcome new cabinet members. In Honorary Cabinet member Ann Copeland’s beautiful home, more than 60 women participated in the passing of the torch from Laura Gross (Women’s Cabinet chair from 2011 to 2013) to Jodi Klebanoff, who will serve as chair of the Women’s Cabinet and the Women’s Campaign for the 2014 and 2015 campaign years. 2013 General Campaign Chair Amy Levy, serving in her role as Women’s Cabinet Nominating Committee chair, thanked those rotating off cabinet for their years of service; recognized those women who are returning to serve another three-year term; and welcomed new cabinet members: Deborah Casey Mona Flax Kim Gross Lynn Schoenbaum Levy then presented the new executive committee, whose members include the chair, vice chair, and heads of all cabinet sub-committees: Jodi Kleabanoff, chair Stephanie Calliott, vice-chair Laura Gross, immediate past chair and nominating committee chair Amy Levy, leadership chair Barbara Dudley, education chair Alicia London Friedman, community connections chair Janet Mercadante, outreach chair At-Large members: Kim Simon Fink, Charlene Cohen, and Amy Lefcoe In stepping down from her chairmanship, Laura Gross thanked her executive committee and the entire Women’s Cabinet for their support and hard work during two very challenging campaign years. Under Gross’s leadership the Women’s Campaign grew from approximately $1.25 million

to a projected $1.3 million. In addition, she cited a number of new milestone women’s gifts over the last two years. Gross also mentioned how pleased she was to be able to co-chair the Federation’s Women’s Mission to Cuba this past fall. She talked about the uniqueness of women’s missions and expressed her hope that the Federation would continue to offer these kinds of missions for the community. Gross was particBetsy Karotkin, Ina Levy, Laura Gross, Jodi Klebanoff, JDC professional Sandy Katz, Karen Lombart, Karen Jaffe, ularly pleased with Annie Sandler, JDC professional Avital Sandler-Loeff, Laura Miller, and JDC volunteer Shakked Auerbach, and Bonnie Brand. the efforts of the Women’s Division these past two years to reach out to the and increasing the number of endowed gifts and for showing up so often, to do the work women in the Jewish community—from within the women’s campaign. of the Jewish community.” all synagogues, all neighborhoods, all backKlebanoff recalled her own memories Cabinet member Susan Hirschbiel grounds, and with a wide array of interests. of the women’s mission to Cuba (which introduced the guest speakers, who came In recalling the Women’s Outreach events at she co-chaired with Laura Gross) and her to the community courtesy of the American Ohef Sholom and Beth El featuring violinist impression of the strong women who run Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to Pavel Ilyashov; the Girls’ Afternoons at the the Jewish community of Havana. She talk about two of the wonderful programs Movies; the Jewlicious Passover Cooking talked in particular about Adele Dworin, that JDC runs in Israel, partially funded Demonstration; the Women’s Outreach the president of the Jewish community of by Tidewater campaign dollars: The JDC Community Seder; and the various Jewish Havana, emphasizing what a tremendous AMEN Youth Volunteer program and Israel Women’s Salon events. Gross announced impression she made on all of the women Unlimited—a partnership between JDC that together with Charlene Cohen, she of the mission, with her strength, her and the Israeli government designed to would begin spearheading a committee humor, and her deep desire to preserve the assist and promote opportunities for adults to engage in meaningful follow-up with community. “Without you… without your with disabilities. the women who’ve participated in these help,” Dworin had told the mission group, Shakked Auerbach is a wonderful ambasoutreach events, as well as those who will “the Jewish community of Cuba would dis- sador for JDC’s AMEN program. A “graduate” attend in the future. appear.” Klebanoff assured the group at the of the program, Orbach shared stories with “So you see,” she said, “I’m going away, luncheon, that far from disappearing, the the group of her wonderful experiences as a but not that far away.” Jewish community of Havana was strong, teen volunteer. She was drawn to working In her first remarks as new chair, Jodi united, and dedicated to preservation. with children and adults with disabilities. Klebanoff thanked Gross for her service, Klebanoff closed her remarks with At first, she was apprehensive and unsure leadership, and inspiration and presented thanks to several of the women in the how to interact with this population, but her with a small gift of appreciation from the room for being her mentors over the years, she quickly began to realize how rewarding Cabinet for her years of service. In articulating including her mother, Ann Copeland. And the experience would be. Orbach also talked her vision for the coming two years, Klebanoff she quoted her father, Bobby Copeland, about the wonderful opportunities that exist included her goal to continue growing the saying: “My dad always says there are for young people with creativity and initianumber and size of women’s campaign gifts friends…and there are ‘friends who show tive in Israel, and how JDC is willing to up,’ so thank you all for showing up today offer a framework to support the efforts

10 | Jewish News | May 20, 2013 |

Jewish News May 20 2013  

Jewish News May 20 2013