October 23, 2020
By Leslie Shuman Kramer, President, Buffalo Jewish Federation

This past week, 18 women of the Buffalo Jewish Federation Board of Governors, in partnership with Federation professionals Miriam Abramovich and Stacey Block, came together for a two-day virtual retreat called KOLOT (“Voices”).  This impressive group of community leaders was diverse by age and background and spans the gamut as professionals in fields such as medicine, law, the arts, business, education and more. They are mothers and life partners. They are presidents, chairs and members of agencies. They juggle family, work and volunteer obligations. They are each pillars in their own right.

Each woman took precious time and paused from her demanding schedule to dedicate herself to digging deep and examining her own leadership.  Facilitated by Jewish educator Nicole Nevarez, KOLOT ran over a two-day period (nine hours in all) on Zoom, with breakout rooms, creative exercises, Jewish learning and conversation.  As prelude to the remote meetings and to incorporate a real and vital face-to-face element, each woman was paired with another and each pair met ahead of time in chevruta to learn and discuss Jewish text together. Focusing on women in the Bible, they grappled together with stories and questions of leadership, partnership, wisdom, judgment, and other aspects of relationships.

These busy, talented, and generous women explored subjects such as female role models, gender norms, feminist leadership, and wrestled with the very meaning of the word “feminism.” In the end, they came together to study Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ Seven Principles of Jewish Leadership, and to explore questions of what could come next.

Jewish Buffalo is so fortunate to have these women, whose names are noted below, engaged in Jewish community life and contributing in so many ways. They are generous with their time and talent, and will lift our community to even greater heights.

Hadar Borden
Marjorie Bryen
Ann Marie Carosella
Iris Danziger
Brenda Feldstein
Brenda Freedman
Charlotte Gendler
Deborah Goldman
Leslie Kramer
Risé Kulick
Merredith Levin
Nina Lukin
Marina Maulucci Finkelstein
Sheri Rodman
Laurie Sadler
Joni Shatkin
Cheryl Stein
Ellen Weiss

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