Our Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy is a diverse community of compassionate and committed Jewish women connected by Jewish values. Judy Rosen, a Lion of Judah and active member of our Los Angeles Jewish community, shares her story with us — why she became a Lion, the impact of the Federation on her life, and her relationship with her mother.
How are you involved with the Federation?
I am on the Valley Women’s board as the 2018-2019 Lion of Judah Co-Chair and have held several chair positions throughout my involvement in Women’s Philanthropy, which were both meaningful and inspiring.
My first real connection with Federation — aside from my husband’s involvement — was a Family Mission to Israel in 1990 — my first trip! The mission truly swept me away, and I was sold. I started attending Women’s missions, and my involvement deepened. I also spent 10 years volunteering at SOVA on Sunday mornings to help with client intake, because I spoke Yiddish growing up and a lot of the Russian Jews coming into SOVA didn’t speak English.
What inspired you to become a Lion?
Both the Women’s missions and my husband Alan’s involvement — which spans decades — played big roles. I would attend events with him and learn more about the Federation through the impactful events and decided to be involved in my own right.
What impact has being a Lion had on your life?
I am constantly inspired by the like-minded women I work with, and I am gratified to know that I am contributing to doing good in the world. Lions really make a difference in the community on a grand scale.
Can you tell us about your mother?
My mother Janet Arzt was born in Poland. She was a Holocaust survivor, and after immigrating to the United States, she worked as a seamstress. She made a lot of my clothes growing up. When I was eight years old, my parents bought a house in the San Fernando Valley. My mother was the driving force behind our family, and she always steered us in the right direction.
How did your mother inspire your dedication to and involvement with the Jewish community?
She was very heavily involved at Adat Ari El, both in the PTA and the Sisterhood. Whenever the synagogue held an event in remembrance of Yom Hashoah, she always told her story. It was very important to her to share with the community and to educate people about the Holocaust.
My mother was an incredibly hard worker who really cherished life. Although her life wasn’t easy, the transition from where she came to where she landed was a beautiful one.
Any favorite childhood moments/memories (or learning about your family history) that motivate you to be involved with the Jewish community and, specifically, The Jewish Federation?
The Federation didn’t enter into my childhood, but hearing about my mom’s experiences instilled in me a strong desire to embrace Jewish values and pass them on to my kids and grandkids. We weren’t a religious family, but we felt strongly about our Jewish heritage. The Jewish values you hear all the time concerning education and doing the right thing always stuck with me the most. As I mentioned, my mom was very involved at her synagogue, but I chose to become involved in a different way.
Thinking about the lessons your mother taught you, what lessons do you want to pass on to your children?
Two words, tikkun olam — repairing the world. This concept is why Federation is such a big part of my life. You need to give back to your community. To me, it’s absolutely an obligation. I know how fortunate I am, and it is so important to help those who are less fortunate.
Why is it important to attend the LOJ luncheon?
It’s truly inspiring to be in a room full of powerful Lions, and it helps to build on our level of dedication.
To learn more about the Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy, visit www.JewishLA.org/women.