Last month, the Jewish Federation of North America’s women’s mission, dubbed “Heart to Heart,” traveled to Israel for a week of inspiration, learning and engagement with Israeli thought-leaders and peers. The mission celebrated women’s philanthropy and the key role that women in North America have played and continue to play in strengthening the Jewish state. Among those, representing JFNA in country was Colorado’s (and JEWISHcolorado’s) own Amy Kaufman Schinagel.
Mission participants had the opportunity to meet Israeli women who work at the highest levels of business, government, technology, science, military, arts, and fashion, and this year’s trip did not disappoint. 2022 Heart to Heart participants met with Member of Knesset Merav Ben Ari, medical pioneer Dr. Galia Barkai who is using telemedicine to treat Covid-19 patients to refugees in Ukraine, leading businesswomen, social activists, and entrepreneurs.
In addition, the group visited programs supported by Jewish Federation funds, including an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) youth village that empowers at-risk teens to pursue business and social ventures, as well as a Jewish Agency for Israel compound that is supporting Ukrainian refugees and new immigrants. They also took part in a festive ceremony in Jerusalem for mission participants who have never celebrated a bat mitzvah.
JEWISHcolorado Israeli Emissary (Shaliach) Itai Divinsky has known Amy, who has been co-chair of our Israel Committee for a number of years, since he moved here with his family. The two share a facility for Spanish (Amy is Venezuelan; Itai is, apparently, tri-lingual and counting). “It’s clear that Amy has a deep and abiding commitment to the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and to our community,” said Itai. “I’ve come to know her over the past few years—she was among the first to hold my new son Alon—and her enthusiasm for Israel has never waned.”
Women’s Philanthropy is the fastest growing campaign in the Federation system. Chair of the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of the Jewish Federations of North America Carolyn Gitlin—who was the featured speaker at JEWISHcolorado’s recent Lion 50th Anniversary luncheon—said, “We’re thrilled to be back in Israel after this long break, to learn more about the latest innovations in Israel through a women’s lens, and to cry and laugh together with our Israeli sisters. We will return from this trip inspired by the stories we are collecting and with new energy to invigorate our women’s campaign.”