Selena Altro Paperman

Women's Philanthropy Campaign Chair, 2010-2011

How did you get involved with Federation CJA – and why?

I got involved with Federation CJA after attending my first Choices event. I recall feeling a strong connection with the main speaker. I always had a sense that as a Jewish woman it was part of my responsibility to help others but did not know how I could do this. Through her story, she made me realize that there are always actions that one can take to make a difference. It was Federation CJA that gave me that chance.

What is your fondest memory to date of your time working with Federation CJA?

One of my fondest memories to date is helping to serve at Le Café. Seeing the immediate response and appreciation that the people had was truly inspiring and meaningful.

Can you recall a particular moment or event that impacted you profoundly?

While on a mission to Israel, we visited an army air force base. At the airplane hangar, all of a sudden a jet landed on a nearby runway. A soldier climbed out of the cockpit. My first thought was that this young man could be my son. Another mother’s child was putting himself at risk to protect Israel. I was moved to tears. I knew at that moment that I, as a Jewish women and mother, had to do more, to help the Jewish community at home, in Israel and abroad.

What advice would you give to the young women following in your philanthropic footsteps?

Not advice, but a deep truth: That whatever you think you will give to the community, you will get back so much more.

I would tell them that I found a real sense of belonging and inspiration by putting myself out there. That being a part of the community has allowed me to see the bigger picture, and made me a better person.

Pascal Hasen asked me to be Campaign Chair by saying, “I have a gift for you.” I learned through my time being involved in Federation CJA that being able to help others truly is a gift.

What is your legacy?

I hope to leave my children with the understanding of how important it is to take care of others.

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