Women are powerful, and when they join forces for good, the impact is exponential. The 2019 Jewish United Fund Lion Luncheon, held Sept. 5 at The Standard Club, raised a record-breaking $3.5 million. This was the first event of the 2019 JUF Annual Campaign.
“Somehow, even as little girls, we can begin to learn to walk in someone else’s shoes,” Deborah Schrayer Karmin, Jewish United Fund Women’s Board Vice President-Campaign shared with the 400 women in attendance of this year’s Lion Luncheon. The room of philanthropic-minded women gathered to celebrate their peers who contribute to JUF at the Lion of Judah Level, $5,000 and above. This year, the Institution celebrates 25 years of the endowment program.
JUF Women’s Board President Adrienne Kriezelman presented this year’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award to Merle Cohen for her dedication and leadership in the Chicago Jewish community for the past 50 years.
Several women stood up to recount personal stories that amplify the impact of JUF’s critical work, mission, and values, one of which being to give “help and hope to the most vulnerable through a network of local agencies and programs, transforming the lives of 500,000 Chicagoans of all faiths who are in need at every stage of life.”
Event chair Sharon Koltin was amongst those who shared. “My parents are both Holocaust survivors,” Koltin said. “JUF has touched my life for as long as I can remember. My parents have credited JUF with bringing them from a place of despair to a place of new opportunity.”
Logan shared her harrowing experience covering the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak back in 2011. Protests transpired into a mass eruption of euphoria and chaos in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where Logan was beaten and repeatedly sexually assaulted by a mob of nearly 200 people.
Logan, a mother of two young children, had been detained by Egyptian military police just one week before the uprising in Tahrir Square. After being forced to leave the country, Logan and her crew made the immediate return to Cairo. Just 10 minutes after landing, the news of Mubarak’s resignation had broken. “All I could think about was getting to Tahrir Square,” she said.
The packed room was silent, all 400 women glued to her every word. Logan not only shared her story, but also replayed her every thought and emotion from that terrorizing Friday in Cairo.
“I thought about my children and I thought, ‘How can you give up on them?’” she said. “I literally thought in my head, ‘I’m going to die fighting — so they’ll know they didn’t get all of me.’”
The journalist said she chooses to share her story to be a voice for others. “If I can be a path for people to find their own healing, I consider that a gift.”
“They took a lot from me that night, but they don’t get to have the rest of me and the rest of my life,” she said. “I am not a victim lying in Tahrir Square.”
Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.