On May 8, close to 700 members of the Women’s Division came together for the Jewish United Fund’s 2014 Spring Event at the Fairmont Hotel, featuring renowned violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman.
The theme of the luncheon, “A Seat at the Table,” emphasized the importance of taking action to help those in need – especially those must vulnerable members of our community, who are often voiceless.
Acclaimed violinist David Lisker, who studied with Perlman, also spoke at the event. Lisker’s family received help from JUF agencies when they emigrated to the U.S., and he testified that his success would not have been possible without that critical assistance.
“I’m standing in front of you as an example that real people are being helped by JUF every day. Lives are being completely changed,” he said. “JUF found us, and didn’t leave our side. They invested in us. To be here today, having studied with Itzhak Perlman… it’s beyond a dream, and JUF made it possible.”
Chaired by Dana Gordon, Overall Chair; Lynne Shapiro, Young Women’s Board Chair; and Michelle Friedman, Young Women’s City Council Chair; the event also included moving remarks by Women’s Division leaders Charlene Sales, Jennifer Worth, and Robyn Tavel, who shared their individual reasons for supporting JUF’s important work.
Alison Cuddy, newly-appointed program director for the Chicago Humanities Festival, moderated a conversation with Perlman, after which he performed for the crowd.
“I feel so lucky to be able to make a living at what I love to do,” said Perlman, who is known for his passionate emotional connection to his music. “Right now, I’m just yearning to continue to be connected to what I do. To not be bored. I think I’m doing a good job, because I’m still going on stage and not saying to myself, ‘Ugh, again?’ As long as I can continue to do that, I’m in good shape.”
Women’s Board members Marcey Barichello, Debra Green, Sharon Koltin, Debra Marcus and Sheryl Perlman co-chaired the event.
Each attendee received the gift of an award-winning cookbook, One Egg Is A Fortune, which served as a major sponsor for Spring Event.
Gordon thanked the crowd of JUF contributors, noting: “Everyone in this room is an important advocate for the needs of the Jewish community. We ensure that the community here, in Israel, and around the world is fed, educated, and protected in every stage of life.”