Seven "generous and committed" women from the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community accept memberships in the Lion of Judah Prime Minister’s Council.
Seven generous and committed women from the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community have accepted the challenge of membership in the Lion of Judah Prime Minister’s Council. These extraordinary philanthropists make a gift to the Federation annual campaign of $100,000 or more.
Gail Norry, Federation’s Campaign chair, says she is excited by the infusion of energy, enthusiasm and empathy that these women bring to our community.
“Our leadership team is striving to make our Federation more welcoming and inclusive to all members of our Jewish community, and it is important to have strong and passionate women like these around the table,” Norry said, adding that “women, with their unique sensitivity to the needs of others and their ability to nurture the commitment of their children and grandchildren, can help us to realize our goals.”
We asked our local Prime Minister’s Council Lions why they decided to commit to Federation at this leadership level:
Lynne Barrack: “I believe that Federation, with all of its issues, is the charitable center for our Jewish community. The agencies under the Federation umbrella are vital to a vast number of Jews — young and old — who live in and around the Philadelphia metropolitan area. I am fortunate to be able to give at this level, and I feel that giving whatever one can is meaningful.
As a single mother, at 26 years old, I turned to Jewish Family and Children’s Services for help. I understand what it means to have a Jewish organization there to help.
“As the Pew study indicated, the future of the American Jewish community is being threatened. I believe that we mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters can have a positive impact on challenging this trend. We can creatively work together to educate and engage our children. We can be welcoming to the intermarried couples. I am committed to insuring the future of our Jewish community, by giving what I can and being involved in the process.”
Sherrie Savett: “I make this commitment because I am privileged to live in America as a proud, free Jewish woman who has achieved success in my profession, and I want to give back to my people. I love serving this Jewish community and through the power of a united Federation, which focuses on what I believe are the central issues facing Jews today — connecting, embracing, engaging and educating Jews to be proud of their heritage and traditions — helping the most vulnerable among us, and supporting the State of Israel.
“Giving this gift and much of my time to our Jewish community has enriched my life and given it more meaning.”
Connie Smukler: “I have always felt that philanthropy is the rent you pay for having a good life. I feel that I have been blessed throughout my lifetime with the love and support of my late husband, Joe.
“Today, I am solely responsible for charitable giving, and I feel a sense of urgency to focus my giving on Jewish agencies to ensure that they are able to maintain their high level of services to members of our community.
“I made the commitment to be a Prime Minister’s Lion because I felt empowered to give as a woman at this level and wanted to set an example for others.”
Susanna Lachs Adler — Susanna started volunteering with Federation as a young lawyer in the 1970s and 1980s. She was active in the Lawyers’ Division and Young Leadership Cabinet. She developed her fundraising and leadership skills as a participant on a Zachor mission to Israel, where she met her husband, Dean.
She has been on numerous missions since that date, including a Lion of Judah mission, which she attended with her mom. She credits her decision to contribute at the Prime Minister Lions level to Connie Smukler, whom she befriended during a mission last fall to the former Soviet Union. As the women retraced the steps of the Soviet Jewish refuseniks who were helped enormously by Connie and Joe and other local activists, Susanna’s admiration for Connie grew. She wanted to follow Connie’s lead and become a Lion at this level.
By generously giving in her own name, she hopes to set a good example for her daughters and future generations to follow.
Sharyn Berman — Sharyn feels honored that she is able to give at this level and knows that her late father would be proud of her because contributing to Jewish causes is a proud family tradition. One of her most poignant memories from her childhood in Montreal is hearing her parents emphasize that performing acts of tzedakah was far more important than amassing material goods.
It is a value that she, and her late husband, Richard, successfully instilled in their six children. Sharyn believes that she is honoring Richard’s memory by perpetuating the family's charitable commitment.
Judy Newman — Judy and her husband, Bud, who began his term as Federation president last month, have been involved in Federation for many years. She feels that many people do not fully understand that Federation is the community convener that works with countless agencies and organizations to help Jews in need throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, in Israel and across the globe.
As a Prime Minister’s Lion, Judy hopes to inspire other women to take a leadership role in our community and help Federation to fully realize its important mission. She is proud to be a member of Women’s Philanthropy — an organization whose members are strong and actively engaged in a broad range of excellent educational, leadership development and social programs.
Frances Tobin is also a proud member of the Prime Minister’s Council Lion of Judah.