This past Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton hosted its second Women’s Philanthropy Brunch. Over 45 women came together to celebrate how women of power help change the world.
All through my life I’ve seen how strong, determined women make things happen. My mother (z”l) could move mountains and charm everyone in the process. I grew up with many female roles models. They taught me that many doors are open to us with so many new opportunities.
Moving to Dayton as the first female CEO for the Jewish Federation seemed quite natural. However, I have to stop and thank the trailblazers from my youth who made that possible today. And Dayton is a fine example of how many women have walked through those doors in their professional and volunteer leadership.
Two of these accomplished Dayton professionals spoke at the luncheon, not about their achievements, but about what emotions are at the core of their commitment to our Jewish community.
The first speaker, Dr. Michele Dritz, talked about the impact our Federation has on her family. How the work we do, through our JCC, JFS and Federation help to build a foundation of Jewish life, culture and philanthropy. She spoke of how important it is to pass on to her children the values of participating in building community.
I had the pleasure of sitting at the table adjacent to Michele’s. There was a very special guest at that table and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her during Michele’s remarks. That guest was her nine year old daughter, Hannah. She was smiling with adoration and pride as Michele spoke about her family. What a treat to have the next generation begin the process of community at this luncheon.
Continuing to inspire was the next speaker, Debbie Feldman. While many of us know of her professional accomplishments as the CEO of Dayton Children’s Hospital, and as the previous County Administrator for Montgomery County, she too had the role of a trailblazer as the second female president of our Federation.
Her passion about the work of the Federation was the topic of her presentation. While so much of what she said resonated strongly, I will not forget how she summarized her relationship to our organization. Debbie’s trust in our role “as the eyes and ears for the Jewish community, locally, in Israel and around the world” inspired me in that moment and will continue to inspire me every day to do the best possible job for all of you.
On a different note, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims of yesterday’s horrific terrorist attack in New York City. We cannot let hatred and intolerance win. I pray for renewed health for the injured and comfort to the mourners of those whose lives were ended so suddenly.