Bi-Monthly Comment Box

We can be proud of having within our membership a woman author who has just published her latest work “Did You Really? A Game Without Rules—A Memoir.” This book, available on Amazon, demands a read and a discussion among book clubs. It touches the very soul of both men and women of all ages.

LION OF JUDAH THANK YOU

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE KIND INTRODUCTION, STEPHANIE!

I AM SO HONORED TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF YOU DEDICATED LIONS OF JUDAH, ESPECIALLY THE WONDERFUL WOMEN FROM OUR WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY WHO HAVE RECEIVED THIS AWARD IN THE PAST—THE KIPNIS WILSON FRIENDLAND AWARD! I WAS TOTALLY SUPRISED LAST SEPTEMBER WHEN MY DEAR FRIEND ROBERTA NYMAN INVITED ME TO LUNCH TO CELEBRATE-SO I THOUGHT-MY BIRTHDAY. WHEN I GOT TO THE RESTAURANT, I WAS GREETED BY OUR OUTSTANDING WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY PROFESSIONAL, LESLIE PEPPER, WHO ESCORTED ME TO MY TABLE. THERE, I FOUND CELIA NORIAN, STEPHANIE ROSS, BARBARA PLATT, AND NANCY DITLOV, AND ROBERTA.

I WAS THRILLED TO SEE ALL THESE WONDERFUL FRIENDS IN PERSON, AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF OF COVID, AND WAS SO HAPPY TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY WITH THEM. HOWEVER, I HAD A REAL SURPRISE COMING! INSTEAD OF A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, CELIA PULLED OUT A DARLING LION STUFFED ANIMAL AND TOLD ME I HAD BEEN SELECTED TO BE OUR FEDERATION’S LION OF JUDAH WOMAN OF VALOR AWARD WINNER. I WAS TOTALLY STUNNED AND AM HUMBLED BY THIS WONDERFUL HONOR.

CAROL FRAGEN, MY MENTOR AND LIFELONG FRIEND, INTRODUCED ME TO THE WOMENS DIVISION (AS IT WAS THEN CALLED) OF FEDERATION DECADES AGO AND I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO HER FOR BRINGING SUCH A WONDERFUL ORGANIZATION AND COMMUNITY INTO MY LIFE. SINCE THEN, I HAVE SERVED ON BOTH THE WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY AND FEDERATION BOARDS. IN ADDITION, I HAVE BEEN ON THE BOARDS OF BOTH TEMPLE SINAI AND HAR EL, THE LATER AS PRESIDENT. I FEEL I HAVE RECEIVED MORE FROM MY VOLUNTEERING THAN I COULD EVER GIVE, AND AM GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. THE REWARD FOR DOING A MITZVAH IS THE MITZVAH ITSELF.

MY ROLE MODEL WAS MY MOTHER TOBETTE DOROSHOW, OF BLESSED MEMORY, WHO ACTUALLY SERVED AS SECRETARY OF THE WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY HERE, IN 1985, WHEN BARBARA PLATT WAS PRESIDENT. SHE WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE TEMPLE SINAI SISTERHOOD AND I CAN STILL RECALL HER SELLING JUDAICA GIFT SHOP ITEMS OUT OF THE TRUNK OF HER CAR AFTER FRIDAY NIGHT SERVICES. MY MOTHER WAS ALWAYS ACTIVE VOLUNTEERING IN MANY ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING JEWISH ONES, WHEN I WAS GROWING UP AND I AM PROUD TO SAY I LEARNED COMPASSION AND A DESIRE TO SERVE FROM HER AT A YOUNG AGE.

FUNDRAISING IS NEVER EASY BUT IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT AND ESSENTIAL NEED ESPECIALLY TODAY. WE AS JEWS MUST TAKE CARE OF OUR MOST VOLUNERABLE BOTH HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD. WE, AS WOMEN, ESPECIALLY AS LIONS OF JUDAH, ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR RAISING 60 % OF OUR ANNUAL FEDERATION CAMPAIGN DOLLARS IN THE DESERT. WOMEN ARE THE KEY TO MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER AND SAFER PLACE FOR ALL.

AS THE FIRST WOMAN ON OUR LOCAL BANK OF INDIO BOARD BACK IN THE 1970’S, I GAVE SEMINARS ENCOURAGING WOMEN TO BECOME FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED STRONGLY THAT WOMEN SHOULD HAVE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN MONEY AND BE IN CHARGE OF THEIR OWN CHARITABLE GIVING. WHEN I JOINED THE WOMEN’S PHILANTROPY BOARD, I WAS ASKED TO BECOME A POMEGRANEATE BY MY DEAR FRIEND ANNETTE NOVAK. SHE WAS IN CHARGE OF AN EVENT AND ASKED ME TO BE HER CO-CHAIR. FROM THAT TIME ON, MORE THAN 25 YEARS AGO, I HAVE ALWAYS PAID MY FEDERATION PLEDGE WITH MY OWN MONEY THAT I EARNED AS A TRAVEL CONSULTANT. MY PLEDGE ALWAYS HAS BEEN MY FIRST PRIORITY. I AM PROUD AS A WOMAN TO DONATE INDEPENDENTLY AND FIND PERSONAL SATISFACTION IN DOING SO. MY LATE HUSBAND, MARK, WAS ALWAYS VERY ENCOURAGING ABOUT MY VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES, ESPECIALLY WITH FEDERATION, AND VERY PROUD OF MY COMMITMENT.

DURING MY YEARS WITH WOMEN’S PHILANTHOPY, I HAVE MADE MANY FRIENDSHIPS AND HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY ALL OF THE BOARD MEMBERS WHO HAVE WORKED TIRELESSLY TO HELP ALL OF OUR RECIPIENTS HERE, ISRAEL, AND AROUND THE WORLD. I WAS FORTUNATE TO TRAVEL TO ISRAEL SEVERAL TIMES TO SEE FIRST- HAND THE WORK OUR FEDERATION DOES AND THE IMPACT IT MAKES. EVEN THOUGH I AM A TRAVEL CONSULTANT; IT WAS WITH THE FEDERATION THAT I TRAVELED THE FARTHEST. IN 2000, I JOINEDTHE WOMEN’S DIVISION ON AN EYE-OPENING TRIP TO UZBEKISTAN. IT IS CALLED THE COUNTRY AT THE END OF THE WORLD AND TURN LEFT. THERE I HELPED BRING FOOD AND MEDICINE TO A HOMEBOUND SENIOR NAMED BELLA WHO LIVED IN A 5TH FLOOR WALKUP WITH A BROKEN LEG. WE ALSO BROUGHT 70 JEWS FROM TASHKENT TO TEL AVIV TO MAKE ALIYAH. WATCHING THEM KISS THE GROUND AS WE ARRIVED ON THE TARMAC WAS SUCH AN IMPRESSIONABLE SIGHT THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET. HERE IN THE COACHELLA VALLEY, IT HAS BEEN SO MEANINGFUL TO SEE OUR CAMPAIGN DOLLARS SUPPORTING MANY LOCAL JEWISH EVENTS, THE SYNAGOGUES, JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE AND BIKUR OLEM, WHICH ENABLES RABBI KREIMAN TO VISIT THE SICK AND CARE FOR THE ELDERLY IN OUR VALLEY.

I AM THRILLED THAT MY TWO DAUGHTERS, ELAINE GRUNAUER AND MARCIE KAUFMAN TUMPAK, ARE HERE TODAY TO HELP ME THANK ALL OF YOU FOR SUCH A WONDERFUL HONOR. THEY, ALONG WITH MY SON JOSEPH, WERE ALL RAISED HERE, HAVE FOLLOWED IN MY FOOTSTEPS AND HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN JEWISH FEDERATION BOTH IN LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK CITY.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THIS WONDERFUL HONOR. IT HAS BEEN MY PRIVILAGE TO SERVE ALL OF YOU AND THE ENTIRE JEWISH COMMUNITY TO THE BEST OF MY ABLILITY. I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING MY WORK WITH WOMEN’S PHILANTHROPY IN THE FUTURE AND HOPE TO INSPIRE MY GRANDCHILDREN TO CONTINUE MY LEGACY OF MITZVAH. LADOR VIDOR.