UJA Women is proud to celebrate three dynamic women for their steadfast support of UJA and their outstanding acts of philanthropy. Please join us as we honor Evelyn B. Kenvin, Jodi J. Schwartz, and Klara Silverstein.
We’re excited to announce the addition of Natan Sharansky to our program. The former refusenik who spent nearly a decade in a Soviet prison will share his perspective on the crisis in Ukraine.
Our keynote speaker Ruth R. Wisse, will discuss her latest book, Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation.
A new installation by accomplished artist Donna Salamon, Let There Be Laughter, will take center stage at the Heart Matters pre-reception. Ms. Salamon will be on hand to discuss this monumental work of art, which showcases the evolution of Jewish humor.
You’ll also hear about UJA's extraordinary humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine, as well as our ongoing Covid recovery efforts.
All attendees will receive a copy of Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation after the event.
Those who make a donation will be recognized in this year’s Heart Matters journal.
Evelyn B. Kenvin has held many positions at UJA-Federation, including chair of its Commission on the Jewish People, membership on its Executive Board, and chair of the Business and Professional Women’s Division. She is currently an active member of the Israeli Judaism Committee and the Jewish Life Cabinet.
Evelyn served in UJA’s Young Leadership Cabinet. She has also served on the Board of JFNA and as the chair of iREP, a coalition of 23 Federations that fosters and supports pluralism in Israel. She is currently vice chair of iREP and a member of JFNA’s International and Overseas Committee. She is also on the Board of the Baron De Hirsch Foundation, which focuses on programs that promote the successful integration of the Ethiopian Israeli community into Israeli society.
She has used her financial experience in several philanthropic endeavors. She is a Board member and mentor in WEALF, a fund that makes loans to women entrepreneurs. She helped to create and served as the first chair of the JAFI Loan Fund Advisory Group, which oversaw nine Federation small business loan funds in Israel, including two New York funds.
Evelyn spent 25 years at Citigroup, where she was a senior vice president and managed a number of real estate multifamily lending and workout teams. She created Citigroup’s Community Development Investment program and served as its first national director.
Evelyn attended Cornell University and graduated from New York University and the Columbia Graduate School of Business. She is married to Arthur H. Rosenbloom. Their combined family includes five children and nine grandchildren.
New York-born Jodi Schwartz is a prominent tax lawyer, as evidenced by her inclusion in the Chambers Global Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers and the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. In addition to her work in the legal field, she has made invaluable contributions to UJA-Federation and the Jewish community at large.
A current member of UJA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Jodi is the current chair of IPAD and a member of the Planning Cabinet. Jodi is the immediate past chair of the Caring Commission, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Lawyers Division and the Planned Giving & Endowments Committee.
Jodi has previously served on the Executive Committee of Women’s Philanthropy, was a founding chair of the Commission on Jewish Peoplehood, and is a former member of the Commission on Jewish Identity & Renewal.
Jodi is a trustee of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and serves on the board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), as well as on their respective Executive Committees. She’s a vice chair of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America and a member of its Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York (JWFNY).
She is a former chair of the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Cabinet, a former member of the boards of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the Jewish Communal Fund, and the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and she served on the board of governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
Jodi has received the two highest awards from UJA-Federation’s Lawyers Division: She was the first-ever recipient of the James H. Fogelson Emerging Leadership Award in 1992 and in 2010 received the Judge Joseph M. Proskauer Award.
Other accolades include being an honoree at JWFNY’s Annual Benefit Luncheon and receiving the Jesselson Young Leadership Award and the George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award from the American Friends of the Hebrew University Lawyers Division.
She is married and a proud mother of two.
Klara Silverstein grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She found her way into the Jewish community when friends brought her, at age 15, to a meeting of a Labor Zionist Youth group (Habonim). That, coupled with her father’s role in saving the lives of two groups of relatives by bringing them to America before the outbreak of World War II, and her parents bringing clothes and other goods to HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), taught her about caring for the needs of others less fortunate.
Klara entered Hunter College in 1950, where she studied Hebrew and was the president of Hillel. She met her husband, Larry, in 1951 when they were both sent to Brandeis Camp Institute by their respective campus Jewish organizations (Larry from NYU). They were married on July 1, 1956, and now have three children and eight grandchildren.
Early in their marriage, Klara and Larry moved to White Plains, where she became involved with UJA-Federation. Since then Klara has held many positions, including chair of the women’s campaign and later chair of the annual campaign. She was a member of the Board of Directors and served on many governance committees that addressed fundraising, planning, and allocations. One such committee was Designated Organizations, which decided on allocations to nationally sponsored organizations such as HIAS and Hillel and, as co-chair, she represented UJA at the National Funding Council (now known as the Alliance of the United Jewish Communities).
Klara was also an agency president (YM-YWHA of Greater NY) serving community centers that later became part of the Network Commission, as did she. Klara was chair of the Weiner Center, whose mission is education and professional development for those engaged in Jewish communal work. Currently, the Weiner Center is part of the CRC (Community Resources Committee).
Today Klara remains involved with Women’s Philanthropy activities and is also a member of CRC. Her other affiliations include the Jewish Women’s Foundation, having been one of its founders 25 years ago. She was chair of the Hunter College Foundation and is still a trustee. She is also a board member of MAD (Museum of Arts and Design).
Support of UJA has become a family tradition. Larry, a former chair of the Board, continues to be a speaker whenever he is asked, and their three children have left their mark: Lisa and Roger in New York and Sharon in San Diego. The third generation of their family is now beginning to participate. Klara is so proud of them all.
“Art is our ability to create a visual dialogue to inspire and touch the soul, mind, and spirit,” says Donna Salamon, our world-renowned feature artist, as she articulates her vision and mission.
Donna was born, raised, and educated in Israel. She was actively involved in educational and leadership roles within Israeli youth organizations, later working in theater design, and then dedicating her artistic and graphic design talents to positions in the New York advertising world.
After she married and moved with her husband, David, and their three active young boys to Riverdale, New York, and her sons began attending the SAR Jewish Day School, Donna became actively involved in the school, designing unique award-winning art installations with companion educational programs.
Each of these programs involved not only the students, but community-wide participation. Donna’s talent and dedicated work were fittingly acknowledged when she was selected as their keynote honoree and awarded their highest community service award.
Donna’s mission to find new and unique pathways to meaningful learning for students has found its apotheosis in her firm HaYotzerArts. HaYotzerArts is a creator of non-traditional curricula that merge spirited, big-tent Judaism with the arts — crafting effective learning tools that illustrate and illuminate Jewish life and culture. Affirming Donna’s view of the arts as an amazing teaching tool, the HaYotzerArts programs have been engaged by a wide variety of Jewish Institutions as an exciting new element of their curricula.
Her most recent acclaimed art projects include designing synagogues, creating large wall mosaics and stained-glass windows, and staging grand-scale educational exhibits and museum installations such as Shemitah, Jerusalem Timeline, Let There Be Laughter, and more.
Donna is delighted to premier her latest art installation, Let There Be Laughter, for UJA Women’s Heart Matters event. She is honored to be a leader and board member of UJA Interboro Women and a proud Lion of Judah.
Natan Sharansky was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a Prisoner of Zion, and leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Subsequent to his request to make aliyah, he was arrested on trumped up charges of treason and espionage, was convicted in a Soviet court, and served nine years in the Gulag with many stretches in a punishing cell. Following massive public campaigns by the State of Israel, world Jewry and leaders of the free world, Natan was released in 1986, making aliyah on the very day of his release.
In his first few years in Israel, Natan established the Zionist Forum to assist Soviet olim in their absorption in Israel. In the 1990s, he established the Yisrael B'Aliyah party in order to accelerate the integration of Russian Jews. He served in four successive Israeli governments, as minister and deputy prime minister.
In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award — the Israel Prize for promoting aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles.
Natan is the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1986 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. He is the only living non-American citizen who is the recipient of these two highest American awards.
From 2009 to 2018 Natan served as chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. After retirement from the Jewish Agency, he continues to serve as chairman of the Shlihut Institute, which he founded. In July 2019 he became chair of ISGAP (The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy).
Natan is also the author of four books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy, Defending Identity, and Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People.
Professor Emerita of Yiddish Literature and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund.
Ruth R. Wisse was born in Romania in 1936. Her family left war-torn Europe four years later to settle in Canada. Their home in Montreal became a haven for Yiddish writers, actors, and artists.
After she earned a B.A. at McGill University in 1957, the Yiddish poet Abraham Sutzkever advised her to pursue a graduate degree in Yiddish studies at Columbia University. She followed his advice, graduating with an M.A. after writing an award-winning thesis.
As an educator, Ruth was considered a pioneer, establishing the Department of Jewish Studies at McGill University, where she completed her doctoral studies. In 1993, she became a professor of Yiddish at Harvard University. Author of Jews and Power, she is also the author of The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Language and Culture, and most recently, Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation. Her latest essays appear in Mosaic, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, and The Jewish Review of Books.
Chair, Candice Koerner
Advisory Chair, Seryl Ritter
Alisa Levin, Cindy Masters, Jeff Schoenfeld, Sarene P. Shanus, Lisa Silverstein
UJA Women Chair
Heart Matters Event Committee
Eneas Arkawy, Charlotte Balsam, Patti Fuchs, Eva Galpern, Ellen Greenberg, Judy Kaufthal, Pauline Raphael, Judith Friedman Rosen, Donna Salamon
Host Committee (in formation)
Madelyn Bucksbaum Adamson, Linda Altman, Brett Barth*, Natalie Barth*, Judy Ruth Bloom*, Frances Brandt*, Amy Bressman*, Linda Brill, Amy Bursky, Daniel Bursky, Sandra F. Cahn*, Kathy Chazen, Nancy Chemtob, Carol Corbin, Marla Cornejo*, Ros Devon*, Alisa Doctoroff*, Suzanne Doft, Jamie Ehrenthal, Rachel Epstein, Susan Felton, Cheryl Fishbein*, Lauren Fixel, Karen S. W. Friedman, Judith Fryer, Muriel Goldberg*, Cindy Golub*, Louise Greilsheimer, Nancy Hirschtritt*, Francine Asher Holtzman*, Fern Karesh Hurst, Marcie Imberman, Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, Hadassah Lieberman, Patricia Kenner, Jeffrey Keswin, Temma Kingsley*, Marcia Kirschner, Joanne Klaristenfeld*, Lynn Korda Kroll*, Naomi Kronish*, Betsy Miller Landis, Alexandra Lebenthal*, Nita Lowey, Phyllis Mack, Solita Marcelli, Linda Mirels*, Ruth Mirvis*, Nazee Moinian, Carole Olshan, Judy Peck*, Suzanne Peck, Vicki Feldman Portman, Marcia Riklis*, Amy Ruben, Roni Rubenstein*, Helen Samuels*, Wendy Sandler*, Susan Sappin, Minna Seitelman*, Sarene P. Shanus, Shirley Silver*,Harriet Singer, Tara Slone-Goldstein*, Tracy Stein*, Suzie Stern*, Stefanie Stiefel, Fran Szczesny, Judy Wesalo Temel, Merryl Tisch, Lynn Tobias*, Leslie Topper*, Judy Tuchman, Vicki Warner, Bruce Wexler*, Pam Wexler*, Erika Witover*, Joy Zelin*, Renate Zimet*, Jane Zimmy*
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