On May 18, the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland County’s Women’s Philanthropy division hosted “Celebrate the Power of Women,” featuring best-selling author Jennifer Weiner.
According to Lisa Green, the president of JFF of Rockland County, “We secure a popular female Jewish speaker each year who is the focus of the evening. We do this because the annual gala is all about community outreach. We are trying to broaden the reach and appeal of Women’s Philanthropy to a wider audience in Rockland County and Northern New Jersey. Having a well-known guest speaker to attract a large audience to the event achieves that goal.” There are other events during the year that recognize individual honorees and celebrate their achievements.
The Women’s Philanthropy “is federation’s focus on women’s giving toward the annual campaign,” Ms. Green continued. “We know that women are looking to have a social component to their volunteering and giving and Women’s Philanthropy committee helps fill that need.” Ms. Green has been the federation’s president since July and was on the executive board three years before that.
Women have played an impressive role in JFF. “Four of the past seven presidents (including myself) are women,” she said. “Also, there are currently eight women serving on our 2016-2017 board of directors, including our immediate past president, Andrea Weinberger; our vice president, Bonnie Werk; and our secretary, Melinda Levin.” Events such as this gala reinforce the important roles that women have in community outreach and other areas, she added.
The event committee wanted a woman who was both entertaining and well known and respected, Ms. Green said. Two years ago, the comedian and writer Carol Leifer was the guest speaker. “Almost everyone knows Jennifer Weiner and millions have read her bestselling books,” she added. “And if you follow Jennifer on social media or have read her op-ed pieces, you know she has a wonderful sense of humor and offers candid and honest anecdotes on life as a Jewish woman.
“Funds raised from the Women’s Philanthropy gala are used to support federation’s annual campaign, which looks to help Jews in Rockland County, in Israel, and around the world,” Ms. Green concluded. “Federation has tried to summarize its purpose with three points: Helping Jews though compelling need grants, advocating and educating on behalf of Israel, including fighting anti-Semitism and BDS, and convening the local Jewish community to take collective action whenever necessary,”
Ms. Weinberger, who co-chaired the committee that created this year’s party (the other co-chair was Bonnie Werk), said that “the gala drew over 250 guests and inspired many to become involved in or to renew their commitment to Women’s Philanthropy. It was amazing to look around the room and see how so very many people were moved by the impact of federation.
“We all felt part of something greater than ourselves,” Ms. Weinberger concluded.