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Women’s Philanthropy Celebrates In Her Footsteps Event rss

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011

A line from a Shabbat prayer helped set the tone for In Her Footsteps, the signature event of UJA-Federation of New York’s Women’s Philanthropy that was held at the Grand Hyatt New York on June 1st.

“Let her own work praise her,” Martine Fleishman, president of Women’s Philanthropy, told the 400 guests as she offered her congratulations to the four honorees, Judith D. Fryer, sisters Betty Levin and Jean Troubh, and Ramy Sharp.

Honorees at In Her Footsteps event

Honorees at In Her Footsteps event, from left, Ramy Sharp, Betty Levin, Jean Troubh, and Judith D. Fryer.
Photo Credit: Michael Priest Photography

The line is from A Woman of Valor, a prayer that husbands traditionally say to their wives on Friday nights, but Fleishman was referring to the significant accomplishments of the honorees. Jodi Schwartz, Women’s Philanthropy Chair, also praised the honorees, “who represent the bedrock of UJA-Federation and are committed to improving the lives of others they have never met.”

Schwartz referred to the work of the more than 100 beneficiary agencies of UJA-Federation that extends caring services to people of all backgrounds in New York, helps the elderly age with dignity, provides opportunities for children with special needs to be included in Jewish life, and connects the next generation to Israel.

Diverse Paths to Philanthropy

The diverse paths to philanthropy were reflected by each of the four women.

For Judith Fryer, mentoring young women is a powerful and fulfilling role.

Alisa F. Levin, Women Philanthropy’s Planned Giving & Endowments chair, noted that Fryer served as head of UJA-Federation’s Women’s Executive Circle’s one-on-one mentoring program. “It’s remarkable to see how passionate you are about mentoring other women,” Levin said.

For Ramy Sharp, who is the creator and chair of Women’s Philanthropy trunk shows, her mother is an inspiration: “I follow in my mother’s footsteps and want to be the same leader for my children so they understand there’s a world out there in need, and it’s our job to make the world a better place.”

Martha K. Selig Young Leadership Award recipient Laura Kleinhandler with violinist Miri Ben-Ari

From left, Martha K. Selig Young Leadership Award recipient Laura Kleinhandler with violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who received the Women’s Philanthropy’s Compassion Award.
Photo Credit: Michael Priest Photography

Kim Dickstein, one of two event chairs for In Her Footsteps, added that “Ramy is a role model for today’s contemporary young women and the promise that the future of Women’s Philanthropy shines very bright.”

For sisters Betty Levin and Jean Troubh, their parents also were an inspiration, and they spoke of how dinner conversations often focused on philanthropic endeavors.

Levin, who co-founded UJA-Federation’s Business and Professional Women’s Committee, a forerunner of the current Women’s Executive Circle, told about how important it is to see the work of UJA-Federation through a site visit at a beneficiary agency. “You get the feel for the work, and you see where your very needed dollars are going.”

Karen S. W. Friedman, Women’s Philanthropy annual campaign chair, noted that “Betty has always been an advocate for professional women and their involvement with nonprofit organizations.”

Troubh has served in many leadership roles at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS), a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, and is currently chair of its board. She spoke of how she’s been part of UJA-Federation for 72 years, because she was adopted from Louise Wise Services, an agency affiliated with UJA-Federation at the time.

“There are many ways to be involved,” Troubh said, adding that she chose a programmatic way by being involved with the board of JBFCS while her sister chose to be involved with philanthropic fundraising.

The Martha K. Selig Young Leadership Award was also presented at the event to Laura Kleinhandler. In giving the award, Fleishman said that Laura is “beloved in UJA-Federation’s Westchester Women’s Philanthropy, and this further acknowledges Laura’s standing as an important voice in our Jewish community.”

Miri Ben-Ari, a violinist originally from Israel who is recognized as a pioneer in fusing classical and hip-hop music, gave a lively and invigorating performance.

Susan Goldenberg, an event chair for In Her Footsteps, presented Ben-Ari with the Women’s Philanthropy’s Compassion Award. “We honor you today with this award for so many reasons,” Goldenberg said, including Ben-Ari’s effort to promote awareness among young people about the Holocaust, as well as her achievement as the first Israeli to receive the Martin Luther King Award from Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The event included an exhibit of artwork by clients at UJA-Federation’s beneficiary agencies. Musicians from the Bloomingdale School of Music, a grant recipient of UJA-Federation’s Music for Youth Initiative, also performed for guests as they entered.