Women make impact with actions, as role models

Just before Purim, Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer returned to her native Portland to address the annual women’s Impact event where she urged women to reflect on Esther’s discovery that perhaps we are where we are at a particular time for a reason.
The rabbi was the featured speaker at “Impact: Ripples of Hope-Waves of Change,” the annual women’s philanthropy event of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. Fields-Meyer presented a series of snapshots from her memory of people whose actions inspired her to a life of service and giving.
“The book of Esther says maybe you are here for a reason,” Fields-Meyer told the room full of women at the Nines Hotel, which was serving its first Kosher event. “Sometimes the reason you are here is because of the direct thing that you do … but sometimes it’s about who’s watching you.”
She called Esther the guide for women who are willing to try to do something to fix their world. In a big world that is messy and full of hunger, homelessness, poverty and war, and an internal world that can be full of overwhelming issues, it’s easy to feel stuck. She said it’s important to remember that actions set off ripples that can change the world.
Though Esther wondered what she as one person could do, she still decided to try.
“Salvation occurred because she tried something,” said Fields-Meyer.
Kathy Davis-Weiner, who co-chaired Impact with the mother-daughter team of Evelyn Maizels and Robyn Spring, thanked the rabbi: “You reinforced how we have made an impact and the ripple we each have.”
Together the ripples created by the women at the event gathered into a wave supporting Jewish needs at home, in Israel and around the globe.
The 269 attendees have pledged a total of $315,000 to date to the 2012 Annual Campaign (this includes gifts made prior to Impact). At the event, women pledged $55,000, including $5,144 from new donors and $8,873 from women who increased their commitment even though they had already made a pledge to federation’s 2012 campaign. The remaining $41,083 was from 37 donors from previous years who had not made a pledge for 2012.
Women’s Philanthropy Chair Michelle Caplan urged women who are interested in getting involved to contact Women’s Philanthropy Director Priscilla Kostiner at 503-892-3015 or Priscilla@jewishportland.org.

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