On Tuesday, February 24, Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy gathered to schmooze with other like-minded women, sample wine pairings, and nosh on cheese and chocolate. More than 60 Jewish women from all throughout San Diego came together at Carruth Cellars in Solana Beach for a Federation event that was unlike any other.
“The laid-back, casual, and relaxed ambiance along with the shabby-chic décor was a perfect setting that made for a magnificent social, educational, and philanthropic gathering, which was a great success,” said Kara Liederman, General Campaign Development Manager at Federation.
The evening kicked off with a few opening words from event co-chairs, Laura Vainer and Samantha Cohen, who unveiled Women’s Philanthropy new initiative — Shalom San Diego - which will be spearheaded by Women’s Philanthropy. The new initiative aims to transform San Diego into one of the most welcoming, all-inclusive, caring, connected, and vibrant, Jewish communities in the nation. After introducing the new focus of Women’s Philanthropy, a thank you was extended to all parties who helped to make the event possible, including: Leigh Johnson, Lisa Kornfeld, Laura Tauber, Theresa Dupuis, and Federation staff.
After introductory remarks were made, Rabbi Yael Ridberg gave a short speech and discussed the story of Esther and reflected on the upcoming Jewish holiday – Purim. In her speech, Rabbi emphasized the importance of divinity within and all around us as well as the importance of always striving to be divine women. Rabbi also talked about an obligation, as Jewish women, to reach out to people who don’t necessarily view themselves as a part of the Jewish community due to actual and perceived barriers, such as interfaith marriages/relationships and sexual identity (i.e. being a member of the LGBTQ community), and how we ought to welcome, connect, and include everyone in our Jewish community. Rabbi restated that Women’s Philanthropy is and will be “natural leaders of Shalom San Diego.”
The final highlight of the evening came from Michael Sonduck, President and CEO of Federation, in his concluding speech. He addressed the dire and devastating crisis in Ukraine, describing the thousands of vulnerable Jewish citizens without access to food, water, shelter, medicine, and basic necessities. Michael reiterated Federation’s mission – to broaden and deepen engagement in Jewish life, to strengthen Jewish identity, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and to care for all Jews in need around the world. Michael called upon all the women to take immediate action by reaching out to help care for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Ukraine.
“Women, Wine, and Chocolate was a great success, an incredible gathering, and a genuinely heartfelt, lovely evening,” said Lisa Kalal, Federation’s new Director of Women’s Philanthropy. “My team and I look forward to delivering more intimate, inviting, and engaging fundraising events, just like tonight throughout the remainder of year.”