When Janet Hodes, Alison Silberman and Jennifer Tuvlin, co-chairs of the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Event for the 2013 Federation Campaign, heard that Rochelle Shoretz was confirmed as the speaker for the January 24 program, they were very excited. In fact, they were so excited that they added a dessert reception open to all women in the community so everyone would have the opportunity to hear this incredible speaker.
Members of the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Divisions are invited to a Campaign event, which includes dinner, on Thursday, January 24, at 6 p.m. All women in the community are invited to join them for a dessert reception at 7:30 p.m. Shoretz will speak at both events.
Who is Rochelle Shoretz?
Rochelle Shoretz is a two-time breast cancer survivor and founder and executive director of Sharsheret, a national not-for-profit organization that provides resources and support to Jewish women and families who are facing breast cancer.
“I heard her speak at the GA [Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly] about five years ago and have wanted to bring her to Louisville ever since,” said Tuvlin. “She is an incredible speaker with an even more incredible story and I hope the Louisville community will attend this exciting evening.”
“She’s a dynamic speaker and person,” Hodes agreed. “She was in her 20’s – a young active mother and an attorney who had worked with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – when she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer.
“She was astonished because she didn’t realize that a woman that young could get breast cancer,” Hodes continued, “and she understood very little about it.” In 2001, she tried to find someone like her who had been through it to help her, and she found no resources in the Jewish community.
“That surprised her,” Hodes said, “so she decided she would create that resource.” Today, Sharsheret, the Hebrew word for chain, is a powerful national organization that supports young Jewish women facing breast cancer.
Shoretz’s personal ordeal was not yet done. In 2009, her breast cancer returned, and this time, it was stage four.
“As women, we have a lot of power,” Hodes observed, “as mothers, professionals and community advocates, we’re responsible for making many decisions, including, to a large degree, how our philanthropic dollars are spent. There’s no limit to what we can do when Jewish women harness our strength collectively.
“Shoretz harnessed her power to turn her own adversity into opportunity to benefit the greater community,” she continued. “She’s a sought-after speaker and we’re very lucky to be able to host her in Louisville.”
Silberman is also glad to be bringing a speaker of Shoretz’s caliber for this event. She agrees with Hodes that Shoretz’s accomplishments are a prime example of the power of women’s philanthropy.
Women’s philanthropy also plays an important role in the Louisville Jewish community. Just as Shoretz’s efforts have resulted in the creation of a strong resource for young Jewish women with breast cancer, the Campaign is the lifeblood of the Louisville Jewish community.
Thanks to the Federation Campaign, “there is programming for Jewish Youth, especially preteens and teens of all Jewish backgrounds. The JCC is a unique place for them culturally – a place where they all fit in and speak the same language because of their connection to Judaism. Where else are they going to play a game of Ga-Ga or prepare for the JCC Maccabi games?” Silberman noted.
She points out the teens also learn Jewish values at the JCC through community service projects. It’s about “Jewish kids doing things together – and we need to foster that. Our kids are our future and we need to invest in them.”
Silberman also said that the Federation Campaign ensures that Jewish seniors have a place to gather and interact at the JCC, and that the JCC provides healthy, kosher meals. At a recent Chanukah lunch, there were latkes, gelt and presents. “Among the people I was sitting with,” she said, “was a Jewish man who recently moved here from south Florida and now lives in Four Courts. His daughter had brought him to the JCC that day for an outing among his peers.” He was grateful for the opportunity.
The Campaign also serves Jews at risk in Israel and around the world.
All three chairs expect these to be very special events and encourage everyone to attend.
The cost of these events is $36 for the Lions of Judah and Pomegranates who want to attend the dinner and $18 for women who want to attend the dessert reception only. A vaad approved option is available upon advance request. Members of the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Divisions make commitments of at least $5,000 or $1,500 respectively to the Federation Campaign. No minimum commitment is required to attend the reception.
To reserve your place for either the Lion of Judah/Pomegranate dinner or the Women’s Philanthropy dessert reception, both with Rochelle Shoretz, please contact Paula at 238-2764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign Director Tzivia Levin Kalmes is the professional coordinating this event. She can be reached at 238-2715 or email@example.com.
[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]