I got my start as a volunteer for my kids at The Davis Academy and continue to volunteer there. I also volunteered at The Epstein School when they attended preschool. I enjoy being an active participant in enriching my children’s education, and they of course love that I am involved.
Beyond my kids, I like to focus on volunteer activities that amplify my love for Israel. So, I volunteer annually to put together the Yom Hazikaron program for the Israeli Consulate, in memory and honor of Israel’s fallen soldiers. I take great pride in making sure this important day for Israel gets the commemoration it deserves.
My ties to ORT Atlanta are also strong. World ORT has roots in Russian Jewry where it helped Jews establish agricultural and trade schools to lift people out of poverty. Today, it’s a global educational network of schools and programs that helps at-risk students learn skills to develop careers and independent lives. My father-in-law, Joe Cohen z”l, was an ORT student prior to immigrating to the United States, and later became ORT’s National President. This is why I have hosted ORT’s “Women Seders” at my home for the last eight years, and feel a special connection to ORT’s “Honey from the Heart” fundraiser where volunteers pack honey at Rosh Hashanah. I‘m currently chairing ORT Atlanta’s first annual ORT and the City event on March 15, that will feature the original art work of over 40 local artists to be auctioned off.
Last summer, knowing that the JCC Maccabi Games were coming to Atlanta, I hosted more than a dozen athletes participating from Israel over the weekend. It was a special joy to be able to do this for the young Israeli athletes. I have also hosted our Atlanta Shinshinim overnight, to help them feel at home in our city and to know that our local Israeli community cares about them. For our family this is also way to express the value of Hachnasat Orchim, (hospitality) which is such a central mitzvah in Jewish tradition.
Right now, I’m pushing hard to finish strong and make ORT and the City an amazing event not just for the Jewish community but for all of Atlanta. Once that event has concluded, I will be focused on the Yom Hazikaron Ceremony and making sure it continues to evolve and become more and more meaningful each year. My dream for this ceremony, and for much of my volunteering, is to build stronger bridges between Atlanta’s Israelis and the entire Jewish community.