My Two Shekels: Kvelling

Before I kvell and share about this past weekend’s incredible OPTIONS event, I wanted to share a few community updates of note:

  1. We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of both Jim Lewis and Gayle Slate this week. Both were longtime Federation supporters and compassionate community leaders.  May both of their memories forever be a blessing.  
  2. This past week’s attack on a group of Golani Brigade IDF soldiers in Jerusalem hit especially close to home. Among the victims was a young Lone Soldier, who made aliyah from San Diego and joined the IDF just this past fall.  Fortunately, he is recovering and we remain in contact with his family here in San Diego to offer them our support. 
  3. In better, more happy news:
    1. Just last week, we celebrated the graduation of women participants in our Pauline Foster Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Development Institute. Chair of National Young Leadership Cabinet, Rachel Hoffer, and Leadership Institute funders, Karen Silberman & Marcia Hazan attended, representing Pauline Foster’s Family.  The event featured awards to the 20 in attendance. Kol HaKavod to The Pauline Foster Leadership Institute Task Force – Judi Gottschalk, Silvana Christy, and Lisa Pearl for their tireless work in making this program such a success.
    2. We are so proud of the LFJCC for their work to bring the JCC Maccabi Experience to our community this coming summer. There is much work to be done, so to become a volunteer, a host family, or to get involved, please click HERE and learn more about how YOU can help.
    3. Later today, a group of college students through Hillel of San Diego are gathering with local Holocaust survivors to bake challot together as part of a special program called L’Dough V’Dough. This program, with the clever play on the Hebrew phrase Dor L’Dor (from generation to generation), was inspired by and is part of our community’s growing Holocaust Survivor Coalition. The event is among the first demonstrations of our community’s collective commitment to ensuring that the memory of our survivors will never be forgotten.  To read more about some recent efforts behind the coalition, including the recent award of a $200,000 grant to Federation for Holocaust Survivor efforts, be sure to read (and share) this article from the UT.




On Sunday, February 2, Federation welcomed more than 600 women to celebrate the collective impact we have on our local and global community.  We have heard from many who felt inspired by the energy in the room, the extraordinary stories of impact shared from the stage, and the hilarious and witty remarks from our speaker, Carol Leifer. The beautiful setting, meaningful stories, compelling new Federation video, and spirit of sisterhood created the perfect backdrop for a memorable afternoon.

Prior to the main event, the Women’s Philanthropy Board hosted a bustling Newcomer’s Reception. Senior Director of Philanthropy, Jodie Graber, said, "Our goal is to be the most welcoming Jewish community in North America, and we were proud to warmly welcome our newcomers to Jewish San Diego and Federation." 

Throughout the event, several women, Israeli and American, shared stories of community, connection, and triumph. From Rayna, a National Young Leadership Cabinet participant, to our delightful ShinShinim, Idan and Michal, together we are making an immeasurable impact on young adults’ lives. 

Another inspiring speaker, Talia, talked of her efforts to transmit her grandfather’s story as a Holocaust Survivor.  As part of what she has named Talia’s Tolerance Tour, this remarkable 16 year-old from Poway has spoken in front of almost 10,000 teens during the past year.  A recent recipient of the Chortek Leadership Award, Talia eloquently challenged us all to step up.

Our speaker, Carol Leifer, was an incredible addition to our event. Her stories, jokes, and razor sharp observational humor had our multi-generational audience in stitches.

As our Co-Chair, Marie Raftery's father used to say, "G-d loves a cheerful giver." If you have not had an opportunity to do so, please donate today. Your gift will allow us to send more children to summer camp, give more families the joy of PJ Library, and help more teens travel to Israel.  As a reminder, all new gifts or increases of 10% or more will be generously matched up to $40,000 thanks to the Gloria and Rod Stone Matching Gift, which we enthusiastically announced at the event itself.

To all the attendees, thank you for being at the heart of our Jewish community!  And, of course, a special thank you goes to our OPTIONS Co-Chairs, Marie Raftery and Lisa Pearl!  To learn more about Women’s Philanthropy, please email Jodie Graber.


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