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It Takes A Woman Sizzled with ‘Kosher Burrito’ Giselle Fernandez

More than 350 philanthropic women from across our community joined forces at The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance Women’s Department’s It Takes A Woman event with keynote speaker Giselle Fernandez. The annual multi-generational gathering, held at the Skirball Cultural Center’s new Guerin Pavilion, featured the Emmy Award-winning former KTLA Morning News and Access Hollywood anchor sharing her unique Jewish journey, while raising funds for our Federation.

Experience the event for yourself by checking out photos of many of our guests:

Randi Grossman, Regional Director of our partner Chai Lifeline, participated in our program and thanked the women for their generous support of the Federation which makes it possible for her organization to ameliorate the devastating financial impact on families who have children suffering from catastrophic illness.  Randi shared her gratitude for our Federation’s ability to step in and provide non-medical monetary support for families who were unable to put gas in their car to drive to chemotherapy appointments, or purchase a plane ticket so their child could receive a life-saving transplant. She said, “Thanks to Federation, families going through this incredibly trying time don’t have to choose between buying needed medication and putting food on their dinner tables.”

Federation President & CEO Jay Sanderson expressed his gratitude for the generosity of It Takes A Woman guests and acknowledged their important role in supporting and sustaining our community and building our Jewish future.  Valley Alliance Women’s Campaign Chair Kathy Guccione told the women that our Federation is there to address the unexpected eventualities of today and tomorrow. “As women, we all want lives that are blessed with enough wealth and good health to be able to take care of our families and ourselves. However, we know that things happen and we need to be prepared for the ‘what ifs’ in our lives as well as the lives of those in our community.”

To emphasize the importance of women’s philanthropy across the generations, Kathy called upon her own daughter and the daughters of Valley Alliance Women’s leadership in the room to recite the Motzi blessing. Then, after a delicious lunch, Giselle Fernandez delivered her keynote address. 

Giselle, who has won several Emmy Awards for her news coverage for NBC and CBS, discussed her upbringing by a Mexican flamenco dancer father and Jewish Ashkenazi mother, who fell in love with Latin lifestyle and culture. Though not raised Jewish, Giselle described how the early values instilled in her by her mother and grandmother were actually Jewish values at their core. And, her attraction and affinity to her Jewish roots grew the more she learned about Judaism, Jewish culture and the strategic importance of Israel. Eventually, she even became an adult bat mitzvah. Today, she is proudly passing on her knowledge of Jewish traditions to her own daughter.

Valley Alliance Women’s Chair Ellen Silverman said, “This year’s It Takes A Woman was a powerful, meaningful day that celebrated the possibilities of women’s philanthropy and what we can accomplish together.”

Many thanks to our It Takes a Woman Chairs Robin Cantz and Toby Koppekin, Special Events Chairs Lisa Auerbach and Cheryl Green, and to all of our Table Captains for an amazing day of fun, female bonding and philanthropy.

For more information on how you can get involved in our Valley Alliance Women’s Department, please contact Leah Kitz at LKitz@JewishLA.org or (818) 668-2340.

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