WOV Winter Newsletter

A Message from Andi Barsky, WOV Chair

This year was very different from our families’ traditional Chanukah celebrations. As we lit the menorah and said the blessings, our thoughts and hearts were with Israel, praying for the return of the hostages and the safety of the soldiers. 

As my husband Scott and I told the story of the Maccabees to our grandson, Avi, it felt like the miracle of Chanukah has never been more meaningful. Chanukah is about the triumph of light. It’s about the resilience and the strength of the Jewish people.  

Since the horrific October 7 massacre, our community has stood strong together. We have donated our time and money for Israel, marched and rallied against hate and antisemitism, and fought for our children’s rights on college campuses. 

We have learned that we can count on each other in the face of adversity.

I have never been more proud to be Jewish and a member of our WOV community. While many women’s organizations remained silent, we spoke out about the war crimes of rape and sexual violence that Hamas inflicted upon women and girls in Israel. In addition to our Advocacy Committee planning meaningful programs under our theme of equity, we also recently sponsored an important program about the war’s impact on women in Israel. 

Our WOV family continues to inspire me each and every day. Our membership and endowment fund continue to grow, our Grants Committee is larger than ever and we have dynamic new local initiatives for the committee to discuss and vote on. 

I am especially excited to celebrate our 30th anniversary, culminating with our Spring Event on May 21, which will be filled with lots of surprises. 

So thank you for all you do to bring the light in these times of darkness. 

I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Lighting the Way

Share Your Mazels

Women of Vision is turning 30! Share your message of congratulations on WOV’s 30th anniversary by telling us what the group has meant to you. Responses will be incorporated into the Spring Event and other materials. Click here to share your mazel.

Upcoming Programs

Our events will continue to focus on the theme of understanding equity. 

Talking Antisemitism with Lizzy Savetsky
On January 8, WOV is excited to support Women’s Philanthropy’s sold-out program at Congregation Beth Or for a discussion with the digital influencer about what it means to be Jewish today, the current rise of antisemitism, and how we can harness our passions to combat it. To sign up for the waitlist,
click here

Book Review
Who has the right to go to college and what work is being valued in our culture? Join us for a virtual discussion on January 30 as we explore these questions during a virtual discussion of “Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education” by Stephanie Land, author of the acclaimed “Maid” turned Netflix series. To register,
click here

Grant Finalists
Virtually join us this spring to hear from our Greater Philadelphia
grant finalists before you vote on which organization you would like to support through the WOV Endowment Fund.  Date to be announced soon!

Spring Event
Save the date! WOV will be hosting its signature event the evening of May 21. More details to come. 

Advocacy Corner

  • We know that the horrific attacks targeting our Jewish homeland on October 7, 2023 were driven by blatant antisemitism – hate which our community is no stranger to and continues to see at unprecedented levels. You can learn more about what the Jewish Federation is doing to combat antisemitism by clicking here
  • It’s time to fight back and advocate for the people of Israel and the Jewish people at home and worldwide. Discover how you can make a change by clicking here
  • As a proud member of the Jewish Women’s Funding Network (JWFN), WOV signed onto a statement on November 29, calling upon UN Women to stand up for Resolution 1820 adopted in 2008, stating unequivocally that “rape as a tactic of war is a crime against humanity” and that UN Women revise its statements of October 25 and November 25 to reflect reality. The UN Women did reissue a statement and heard the testimonies at the UN on December 4 about Hamas’ intentional use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war in its assault on Israel on October 7. To see the full statement, click here. To watch the recording of the testimony, click here.  
  • On September 12, we went to the State Capitol in Harrisburg to advocate on several issues, including rescheduling the 2024 primary date to avoid conflict with Passover. On September 21, the PA Senate expressed they wanted an earlier 2024 presidential primary, but this has fallen through. We urge you to call your state senators/representatives and ask them to move the 2024 primary date. You can find your elected officials by clicking here. You can learn more about the issue by clicking here

Welcome to Our New Members


Tina Abel
Rachel Arch
Eve Berger
Marilyn Borgman
Andrea (Andi) Cantor
Andrea Dubin
Paula Dvorak
Linda Dwoskin
Jordy Feldman
Naomi Feldman
Raven Frankel
Joan Gubernick Ruttenberg
Rachel Harris
Ronne Hellman
Alexandra Hochster-Korman
Francine Jonas
Gail Kass
Dena Klein
Michelle Rodos
Shelley Saunders
Randi Saunders
Sydney Simon
Barbara Spector
Rachel Steinberg
Melissa Strauss
Bonnie Weinberger

Reflecting on the Past

Grantee Spotlight: Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI)

“This period is horrible and we have never dreamt that this will be the reality here. We are working very hard to see how to help survivors from the massacre and other survivors.”

— ARCCI Executive Director Orit Sulitzeanu

During a Knesset discussion of the Committee for the Promotion of the Status of Women on the international day marking the fight against violence against women, Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel Executive Director Orit Sulitzeanu said: “We have a duty to all those affected, to their families – and we will never forget that…I promise that we in the Association of Rape Crisis Centers will do everything we can to help you and will fight for you to receive everything you deserve from the State.

“I want to speak to those whom I once called my sisters…the leaders of women’s organizations around the world…How are you not ashamed to maintain such a thunderous silence when girls and women are brutally raped to the point of breaking their bones – how? What a moral betrayal. History will not be forgotten, and your struggle for equality and against violence is worthless if you put politics above all else…If you remain silent, if you do not speak – what happened to us could happen to you as well.”

ARCCI gives a voice to over 50,000 victims each year, advocating for women of all ages who are victims of sexual violence across Israel. This grant will be used to improve the services provided to victims through proper training of the courts, prosecutors and police to achieve more equitable outcomes.

This year, WOV awarded ARCCI $30,000/year over two years to support this vital work. 

Programs Since Summer

The War’s Impact on Women in Israel
On December 19, WOV co-sponsored a virtual program with the Hadassah Foundation about the immediate needs of women and girls in Israel and
 how organizations and communities work together to provide emergency support. To watch the recording, click here.

Period Pack at JRA
On December 14, WOV and Women’s Philanthropy packed feminine hygiene products and toiletries for women in need at the Jewish Relief Agency, a grantee of the Jewish Federation. 

Fall Gathering
On September 20, new members and prospective members gathered to learn about WOV and to hear from Executive Director of jGirls+ Magazine Elizabeth Mandel and alumna Elena Eisenstadt about how our grants have helped them empower Jewish girls and nonbinary teens, ages 13-19, to share their voice through an online magazine and community.
Read WOV Past Chair Renée Sackey’s d’var torah from the Executive Meeting before the event

Advocacy Day to Harrisburg
On September 12, over 65 leaders from the Jewish community traveled with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA, to meet with state leaders and raise awareness about issues of concern within the community, including antisemitism, hate crimes, violence prevention, religious rights, nonprofit security grants, reproductive health, and more. This day of advocacy was hosted by the Jewish Federation’s WOV, Jewish Community Relations Council, NextGen, and Women’s Philanthropy groups as well as ADL and AJC

Women to Watch Leadership Celebration 2023

Three WOV members — Rebecca Bar, Tara Cherwony and Carly Zimmerman — attended Jewish Women International’s (JWI) conference in Washington D.C. this December. They connected with other women who are passionate about making a difference. Amy, Jackie and Shelby Zitelman of local Soom Foods were among the extraordinary women honored.

WOV is a proud funder of JWI.

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

For those we lost since the summer of 2023

Lynne Deborah Bloom z’l 
Natalie Bogash z’l, Janet Zolot’s Sister
Stanley Ginsburg z’l, Arlene Ginsburg’s Husband and Tracy Ginsburg’s Father-in-Law 
Margaret “Peggy” Goldenberg z’l,  Bonnie Kay Marks’ Mother
Seymour Kanter, Esq. z’l, Cindy Warkow’s Father
Josh Katz z’l, Sally Epstein’s Grandson-in-law
Elaine Schlessberg z’l, Renée Rosenau’s Mother
Mark Solomon z’l, Paula Solomon’s Husband
David V. Wachs z’l,  Juliet Spitzer’s Father-in-Law

Brightening Our World

Create Your Legacy with an IRA

This fall, we received over $23,000 from additional end of year gifts and IRA distributions directed to our WOV Endowment Fund through the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Thank you to the 11 WOV members who helped us increase our ability to impact the lives of even more self-identifying Jewish women and girls. 

If you’re aged 70½ or older, you can still make a tax-free gift through your IRA before December 31.

“I chose to donate my IRA rollover charitable distribution for the Women of Vision Fund, which I have supported for many years, because it ensures that Jewish women and girls and others in need both locally and in Israel benefit from impact philanthropy. It’s important to me to be a part of a group of like-minded individuals, who want to sustain and expand a meaningful legacy now and into the future.”

Rabbi Lynnda Targan

“I made my IRA distribution to Women of Vision, because it is instrumental in shaping our world for the better. Whether in Greater Philadelphia or in Israel, I know my dollars are empowering women to take control of their futures and advancing our society to become more equitable. By contributing through my Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), I am not only able to honor WOV’s work to impact countless lives, but I am also able to become a part of its legacy as we collectively create socioeconomic and deep-rooted change for generations to come.”

Fyllis Etter

You can make an impact too through an IRA distribution. 
Learn more by clicking here.

Change Even More Lives

Looking to help Women of Vision expand its impact to advance the lives of self-identifying Jewish women and girls? Check out the following ways! 

Moments Like This

As we head into the New Year, consider making 2024 a safer one at jewishphilly.org/donate. In addition to your support of the WOV Endowment Fund, a gift to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Annual Campaign will help care for those in need, combat antisemitism and global crises, and strengthen Jewish identity.