Mar 31, 2014

Women’s Philanthropy Celebrates Leaders as Judi Schuman Takes the Gavel

In full support, celebration and sisterhood, 85 caring, dedicated women came together for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s Dorothy Seaman Department of Women’s Philanthropy 2014-15 Board Installation. They gathered for the brunch program on March 31, 2014 at the Levis JCC Sandler Center on the Federation campus. Margaret Kottler, Installation Chair, led the moving ceremony that honored Women’s Philanthropy leaders both current and past. Special recognition was given to Emily Grabelsky, outgoing Chair of Women’s Philanthropy; Judi Schuman, incoming Chair of Women’s Philanthropy; and Rebecca Appelbaum, recipient of the 2014 Dorothy Seaman Leadership Award. The morning also included an inspiring D’var Torah delivered by Debra Halperin.

“We recognize all who have led the way and continue to share their wisdom and skills to help us achieve our mission,” said Margaret Kottler, Installation Chair, capturing the essence of the day. “Yesterday’s leaders give way to tomorrow’s leaders and with each generation, we can look to the world with new eyes and innovate new approaches.”

As she turned over the gavel, Emily Grabelsky was lauded with heartfelt appreciation and a video tribute for her inspirational leadership during and leading up to her past two years as Chair. Recapping recent Women’s Philanthropy accomplishments including an increased campaign, maintaining the greatest number of Lion of Judah Endowments in North America, the growing Pomegranate giving level, and successful outreach events resulting in new engagement and gifts, Grabelsky thanked her team. “I am so honored to be standing up here today,” she said. “I am not really standing in front of you. I am truly standing with you, beside you, intertwined in your arms, shoulder to shoulder with each of you. Over the past twelve years, so many of you have served as my role models and mentors, friends and sounding boards.”

In recognition of her achievements, Rebecca Appelbaum received The Dorothy Seaman Leadership Award. Dorothy Seaman proudly presented the award, calling out Appelbaum’s pioneering efforts in launching the Pomegranate program, the seeds of which have grown to 156 members; as well as her role in boosting communications and preparing Women’s Philanthropy for the future as Vice Chair, Marketing and Social Networking.

After a moving candle-lit installation ceremony, incoming Women’s Philanthropy Chair 2014-2015, Judi Schuman envisioned the work ahead, “Together we will educate those who do not know about all the needs right here around us as well as overseas. There are still too many families nearby who are looking for their next meal, Holocaust survivors who desperately need home care, children and adults with special needs who deserve to live with dignity and, of course, our brothers and sisters in Israel and in the more than 70 other countries we reach. So let’s challenge ourselves to do even more, united by a single purpose, to raise the dollars to feed, protect, teach, inspire, save and comfort those who must depend on us. Together, we can do anything.”

Federation President & CEO, Matthew C. Levin, further recognized the women for their dedication and successes through challenges. He also thanked Wells Fargo Private Bank for their generous corporate sponsorship of the Department of Women’s Philanthropy.

From the “Fashion Show” promoting the International Lion of Judah Conference in New York City this coming September to the installation’s final touching moments, the morning created an atmosphere of warmth and ceremony. It was a touching tribute and a look ahead to the coming year for the Federation’s philanthropic women’s leaders who strive to make the world a better place through tikkun olam.

Click here to view photos from the event.


Congratulations to the 2014-15 Women’s Philanthropy Officers:

Judi Schuman, Chair
April Leavy, Campaign Chair
Eydie Holtz, Vice Chair, Lion of Judah
Barbara Lewin, Vice Chair, Planned Giving and Endowments
Karen Dern, Vice Chair of Education
Janice Obuchowski, Vice Chair, Outreach and Community Development
Rebecca Appelbaum, Vice Chair, Marketing & Social Networking
Joan Hauser, Vice Chair, Pomegranate
Marilyn Barry, Secretary
Emily Grabelsky, Immediate Past Chair
Dotti Seaman, Ex-Officio Officer
Margie Marlowe, Gail Greenspoon, Barbara Werner, Janet Sahr, Carol Rifkin & Monica Goldstein, Officers at Large