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Jewish Federation Welcomes Global Health Expert for Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon

Judith Shamian delivers the keynote address, and Lila Scher is honored as the 2015 Woman of Valor for her lifetime of service and contributions

Cindy Fineberg, left, and Debra Friedland co-chaired the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara’s Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon held at the El Encanto Hotel.
Cindy Fineberg, left, and Debra Friedland co-chaired the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara’s Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon held at the El Encanto Hotel. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara welcomed Dr. Judith Shamian, RN, Ph.D., as the keynote speaker at the 31st Annual Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon held recently at the El Encanto Hotel.

Dr. Shamian, president of the 19 million-member International Council of Nurses, is a leading global advocate on public health issues, especially for women.

More than 150 guests attended the well-thought-out luncheon, silent auction, presentations and award ceremony. Montecito Bank & Trust was the Speaker Sponsor.

The Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon celebrates the power of women giving back to strengthen their communities and causes around the world. It is a major fundraiser for the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and proceeds support a multitude of efforts locally, nationally and overseas.

This year, it also honored Lila Scher as the 2015 Woman of Valor for her lifetime of service and contributions not only to the Jewish Federation but several other nonprofits benefiting children and the arts community.

The event was organized by a volunteer committee co-chaired by Debra Friedland and Cindy Feinberg with assistance from Women’s Division chair Laini Millar Melnick and committee members Rena Brawer, Robin Cerf, Fran Granet, Beth Katz, Lauren Katz, Nancy Kupperman (who introduced Dr. Shamian), Kandy Lauria-Budgor, Doris Medved, Dale Nissenson, Marcy Oswald, Rachelle Pegg, Adele Rosen, Joan Rothenberg, Sandy Stahl, Louise Wyner and Dianne Zipperstein.

Table Sponsors included Debra Friedland, George Bernard Hammerle, Leatrice Luria and Lila Scher. The unique and colorful luncheon invitations were designed and underwritten by Kandy Luria-Budgor.

The Jewish Women’s Federation’s annual campaign supports important programs such as weekly nutritious lunches for seniors, strengthening the social safety net including services for Holocaust survivors, supporting tolerance education throughout the region, providing humanitarian aid to Israel and overseas Jewish communities and much more.

Dr. Judith Shamian delivers the keynote address for the Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

“The luncheon is such a wonderful event and this was one of our largest ever," Marilyn Simon-Gersuk, director of development and operations, told Noozhawk. "There is such a warm feeling and so much energy in the room.”

The keynote speaker, Dr. Shamian, worked in Botswana in the 1980s on the first nursing research project in the country, the University of Botswananow, which now has numerous Ph.D.-prepared faculty members and offers graduate education. Later, she established the first World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Leadership Development in a hospital environment, which trained and educated nurse executives from the Caribbean, Israel, Eastern Europe and Africa.

She has been a consultant on nursing projects in Israel, China, the Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Hungary and the United States; one of her major accomplishments was helping Polish nurses establish their national nursing association. She has also contributed to many expert panels, including several for the WHO. Dr. Shamian received the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 from the Governor General of Canada and became an International Fellow with the American Academy of Nursing in 2009. Most recently she received Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award by the Women’s Executive Network.

Later in the program, Scher was presented the 2015 Woman of Valor award. She has been active and committed to the federation since she arrived in Santa Barbara 22 years ago. She and her husband, Joe, funded the permanent library in their name at the federation’s Bronfman Family JCC. She has also volunteered at the Music Academy of the West and other children’s organizations. An independent businesswoman and philanthropist even when that was unusual for women, she said she has never been fearful of taking chances.

“Get out there. Don’t be afraid to fail," she said. "You are always going to learn something."

For more information about the Jewish Federation, contact Diana Oplinger at 805.957.1115 x114 or [email protected], or click here.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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