Life Magazine: Women of Substance

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Life Magazine: Women of Substance

We ask females who lead top Jewish charities about their roles and the future

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Some of the amazing women featured in our Women of Substance!
Some of the amazing women featured in our Women of Substance!

 ‘No one has ever become poor by giving’ wrote Anne Frank, who realised the importance of philanthropy before her tragic death. Our community is blessed with people dedicated to a wide range of causes. In the spirit of our Wonder Women theme, we ask females who lead charities about their roles and the future

Lisa Wimborne, Chief Executive, Jewish Blind & Disabled

I joined the charity in July. It’s an exciting role for me but  a wonder woman I am not, nor do I need to be. I realise how fortunate I am to have joined this great organisation.

My initial focus is identifying what more we can do to improve the quality of our tenants’ lives and those struggling to cope in accommodation that is unsuitable to their needs, and then articulate this into an action plan. My approach from the outset has been to listen  and learn and by talking to as many people as possible get a real feel for the charity in order to push both myself and this organisation forward.

One of our greatest struggles is meeting current demand. We hope in 2020 to begin our eighth development of mobility apartments with state-of-the-art features and technology, giving those with a physical disability or visual impairment their key to independence.

In addition, our Independent Living Advisor visits people living in the community and, by constantly researching the latest means, helps them to maintain their much-prized independence.

Lisa Wimborne

Naomi Dickson, Chief Executive, Jewish Women’s Aid

I, together with Jewish Women’s Aid’s staff, am passionate about working towards ending violence against women and girls at a time when the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are adding momentum to our cause. JWA is on a mission to ensure all Jewish women affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence have the support they need and a safe space and professional advice to help them take the steps to live a life free from fear. We will continue to work hard over the next year to ensure women know how to find us, through training professionals and also through our education programmes – speaking to young people about consent, healthy relationships and respect has never been more important.

Naomi Dickson

Louise Jacobs, Chairman, UJIA 

I have been chairman of UJIA for nearly two years and there are many days that I certainly do not feel like  a wonder woman! I do, however, feel a huge sense of responsibility for the task I have taken on.

I feel passionately that we need to have an engaged and connected community with Israel, and how important Israel is as a part of our Jewish identity. This is especially challenging with the next generation, whose relationship with Israel is shaped differently from their parents and their grandparents.

We need to constantly think through those challenges and adapt and respond as necessary. I feel it would be tragic if we failed in that connection; our community would be much poorer for it.

Next year, UJIA will be 100 years old and we need to recognise this amazing achievement and celebrate all those who have played their part; while at the same time continue to ensure we look forward.

For the first time in UJIA’s history, we will also have a woman CEO to lead us forward. I am excited we have two women thinking about the next 100 years.

Louise Jacobs at UJIA Annual Dinner 2018 ((C) Blake Ezra Photography Ltd 2018.)

Nicky Goldman, Chief Executive, Jewish Volunteering Network

I have worked professionally in the Jewish community for 35 years, but always volunteered. As a woman, 

I feel my contribution is to encourage and empower the team – staff and office volunteers – and others to play their part. Volunteering is good for your mind, body and soul, and JVN gets people volunteering. If we can inspire others to give their time for the benefit of others, we have done a good thing.

JVN is 12 years old, so 2020  is the right time to review our purpose, vision and strategy to enable us to better promote volunteering, and to connect and deliver volunteers to opportunities that enable charities across
the Jewish and wider communities to achieve more.

Nicky Goldman, JVN

Sue Cipin, CEO of the Jewish Deaf Association

Last month, we celebrated my 20th anniversary as CEO.When I joined the charity it was probably the toughest time of my life – a crash course in sign language and an introduction to a world about which I knew little.

I empower the JDA team by being supportive, adaptable, nurturing their talents and making them feel appreciated.  I work hard, lead with total dedication and honesty, but admit when I make mistakes. The reward is
a committed team of outstanding staff and volunteers who, in turn, support and empower deaf, deafblind and deafened people – often some of the most vulnerable members of society. We work here for love – love of what we do, love for our clients, and love for each other.

In 2020, we will focus on raising more money to keep doing what we do best – supporting the people other charities don’t, and stepping in to change lives when nobody else can or will.

Sue Cipin with JDA chair Trudy Kling

Joy Moss MBE and Anthea Jackson, Executive Director, Jewish Child’s Day

JCD has a strong record of being led by women – even before female empowerment came to the fore! Over my 28 years’ tenure, I worked with no fewer than four women executive directors and a passionate female team. Together, we have grown the charity’s donor base and the number of Jewish children in need we support in Israel and around the world, as well as the growing number of disabled and disadvantaged children in the UK.

Anthea came to us in August with 20 years’ experience in Jewish charities, and will help drive and grow the charity to ensure people from all generations connect and engage with our work. She has visited a handful of our many projects and is in awe of the commitment, drive and passion of the women who lead them. She is incredibly motivated to be part of what can be achieved through our support.

Joy Moss MBE and Anthea Jackson

Rachely Plancey, Co-founder of Camp Simcha

In 2020, it will be 25 years since we established  Camp Simcha. Our vision was to create a charity that would offer bespoke practical and emotional support to Jewish families with a seriously ill child.

With a young and growing family of my own in those early years of the charity,  at times it did feel like there were not enough hours in the day, but seeing the difference Camp Simcha was making drove me on.

Now the charity has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, among them 13 family liaison officers, all of whom go above and beyond to be there for families who need us, a whole team of wonder women.


Rachely Plancey, Camp Simcha

Ronit Ribak Madari, WIZO UK Chairperson

WIZO was founded in the UK in 1918 by such dynamic women as Rebecca Sieff, Vera Weitzman and Romana Goodman, and is now driven by women across the globe. All funds raised are for vital social welfare services throughout Israel at every stage of life, regardless of race, religion or gender.

Involved for 27 years, I feel privileged to be taking this remarkable organisation forward to its next 100 years. Currently, we are working on a way to meet the challenges of a competitive charity market, to educate the community and demonstrate our understanding of the impact of today’s lifestyle on potential supporters we want involved. Naturally, it is harder to show people our work when our projects are in Israel, but the short visits we organise to introduce people to WIZO’s work offer opportunities to experience aspects not available to tourists, which reinforces our role and importance within Israeli society.

Ronit Ribak Madari

Ellisa Estrin, Director, Jewish Care

I joined Jewish Care 10 years ago. I feel proud to work for an organisation where half of the directorate team are women and flexible working is fully embraced, so that those who are raising families and are care-givers are afforded the same opportunities as others. Even as we approach 2020, this still isn’t the case in so many industries, and for so many women.

Every year Jewish Care, through its many services, touches the lives of 10,000 people. We remain committed to offering a service which is customer centric and meets their needs.

This past year, my focus has been on developing different ways to communicate with the community outside of traditional media and putting in place a new onboarding process to make the 400 clients and their families who come into our homes each year feel supported every step of the way.

I am privileged to work alongside a fantastic team of talented men and women of different ages, faiths and nationalities, all committed to supporting one community – the Jewish community.

Ellisa Estrin



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