Sepharade Women's Campaign Chair, 2002-2003
Like many others before me, I am the child of immigrants who sought a country that offered opportunities, prosperity and safety for themselves and their children. Leaving behind family, friends, traditions, and a culture is a courageous and difficult enterprise. Upon my family’s arrival we were greeted by a wonderful and helpful community known as the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS).*
When I was approached to become involved with Federation CJA I remembered my father’s words as a child: “when one is given an opportunity to improve the lives of others, our responsibility is to take on that task with honour.” As Chair of the Sephardic division I reconnected with my community and learned of the extraordinary work its many volunteers and staff accomplish on a daily basis with an open and generous heart.
I have many fond memories from Federation CJA and no particular favourite because what I have preserved most are the important lessons. Giving to others has a boomerang effect and you always get more than you receive. Memories from Federation CJA are imbedded deep within me and are constructed from a multitude of senses; images we’ve witnessed emotions we’ve felt and words heard from incredible individuals. Our perception of any event is a personal one; however, what we can say is that they do not leave us indifferent. What we retain from heart wrenching testimonials, inspiring speakers, helping someone in crisis or just listening to the hardships and needs of distressed individuals in our community is both humbling and enriching.
My advice to women who follow their pursuit of philanthropy is to be true to yourself. If you seek change, be patient and work hard. Often the perception we have of ourselves is how others perceive us. Both my parents originate from different countries, religions and cultures. I am proud of my diverse heritage and have seen the positive impact this has had on my life. Let us celebrate this diversity within our community and tread carefully when people try to amalgamate us as one voice. We are a community which holds a spectrum of opinions, all of which should be respected. Let us showcase our inclusiveness and generosity to all.
*JIAS is now part of Ometz