EACH YEAR MEMBERS of the Jewish community in the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys gather for the Jewish Federation’s Annual Women’s Forum. Honoring “Women Who Make a Difference,” the roots of this special program were established more than 30 years ago when there was an active Jewish Federation’s Women’s Divison in, what was then, the “Eastern Region.” Honorees are selected from local synagogues, educational institutions and organizations for their accomplishments, ongoing involvement, and dedication. These exceptional women, have assumed varied roles, have given selflessly to the Jewish community and the broader community.
A long-standing Women’s event, the Annual Forum as it is known, welcomes all community members to attend along with friends and family members. The event starts off with morning coffee and conversation as guest check-in and have a chance to purchase tickets for themed baskets that are raffled later in the day. Following morning introductions and welcoming remarks a keynote speaker addresses the audience. Over the years there have been a wide range of speakers both women and men who have thoroughly engaged and inspired the audiences. Recent keynote speakers have included Lynn Povich an advocate for Women’s Rights and an award-winning journalist; Jeannie Smith the daughter of a Righteous Gentile, who shared her mother’s heroic story and Rachel Cohen, and inspiring young women from an inter-faith family; and Sue Fishkoff journalist and author of “Kosher Nation.”
The Women’s Forum is also a fundraising/campaign event for the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys – historically reaching out to women of the community to make their annual individual donation/pledge to the Jewish Federation. Each year the Women’s Forum Committee selects a theme and a special Tzedakah project that attendees and community members can participate in. Tzedakah projects have included the collection of toiletries, canned and non-perishable food, school supplies, and gently worn women’s suits/work attire.
Organizations, friends and family members also have the opportunity to congratulate a Women’s Forum Honoree in the event program with a single line tribute. For more info please visit http://www.jewishsgpv.org/event/2017-annual-womens-forum/
JLife had the chance to catch up with a two of the amazing women involved in the Women’s Forum to discover more about their involvement in this inspiring event.
How did you get involved with your community/organization?
I’ve been a member of Temple Beth Israel of Pomona since 2004.
What do you like most about the tzedaka projects?
I like that even as we celebrate the women in our communities, we always remember those that still need our help and support. The annual tzedaka project is our small way of giving back to the community.
What are you most looking forward to about the Women’s Forum?
Connecting with friends in the community and hearing the guest speaker.
What does Women’s Forum mean to you?
It is a way to connect with friends from other synagogues and organizations that make up our region. I’ve learned so much over the years from these amazing, inspirational women.
How long have you been volunteering on the Committee and why?
I’ve been on the committee since I was honored back in 2010.
What added value does the Women’s Forum give the wider community in your opinion?
It encourages us to connect with the larger Jewish community. We are all stronger together.
How does Women’s Forum Impact the wider community? (Non-Jewish and Jewish)
It puts a face, names and organizations we support through tzedaka and the speakers we have at the events. We are able to share those experiences with others.
Temple Sholom of Ontario
I have been involved with the Forum from the beginning. This is a time for all the community to come together to honor those women who give of themselves constantly.
The women being honored are from many different Jewish Congregations, Organizations and schools in the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys
In recent years we have tried to help as many women in need as possible with our Tzdakah project and also many times with centerpieces that are composed of items to be donated.
To those attending the event it is most inspiring to hear of all the good being done in our community and we are encouraged to continue these important projects.
This is also an opportunity to meet and become friends with others that have like interests who you never would have met if not for this event.
This year’s Tzedakah Project will focus on Friends in Deed. Specifically its Women’s Room.
The mission of Friends In Deed is to alleviate the effects of poverty, to encourage self-sufficiency through the collective efforts of congregations, individuals and community organizations and to promote mutual support, understanding and collaboration within the faith community. For more information please visit www.friendsindeedpas.org