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More than 300 attend IGNITION! Women’s Philanthropy luncheon

Scottsdale, AZ (March 20, 2015) – More than 300 women gathered at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus on Mar. 18 for IGNITION!, a luncheon hosted by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. The event was co-chaired by Elizabeth Feldman and Benée Hilton-Spiegel and featured several prominent female keynote speakers, each sharing their unique perspective of the Federation’s work.

Dr. Yarden Fanta-Vagenshtein recounted how she was forced to live in a remote village, denied transportation, resources and an education because she was Jewish, and how at age 11, she and a small group from the community decided to walk over 800 miles through the desert to Israel, a two-year journey. Dr. Fanta-Vagenshtein credited the Federation movement for allowing her to become the first Ethiopian woman to earn a PhD in Israel, though when she arrived, she was unable to read and write.

National Women’s Philanthropy Chair-Designate Judy Altenberg shared the power of the collective impact of the Federation movement locally and throughout the world, whether it is a camp experience for youth in the former Soviet Union or watching developments in Washington DC that could affect the community, seniors and Israel.

“We as women have a choice where to give our Tzedaka,” Altenberg said. “Your giving today affects the next generation and when you give through the Federation, you exponentially increase the impact of your gift.”

The luncheon was also a platform for the presentation of the Spirit of Jeannette Continuing Service Award which was given to Nancy Herman, Kim Kotzin, Karen Nagle and Holly Packer for their leadership and dedication to the Women’s Philanthropy League.

Seeking to engage the next generation of Jewish women, more than 20 7th- and 8th-grade girls from Pardes Jewish Day School attended, as well as representatives from the Federation’s Now Gen initiative.

Information about Women’s Philanthropy can be found at Contributions to the Federation’s annual campaign can be made at

About the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix
The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix exists to strengthen and sustain a vibrant, inclusive community that enriches lives through Jewish values, innovation and stewardship. We embrace each generation across all walks of life, and provide funding to services and programs that help develop toddlers, engage children, motivate teens, challenge young adults, inspire adults, connect families and benefit the elderly. Our purpose is to ensure the long-term viability of our Jewish community by providing leadership, financial support, and synergy with other Jewish organizations in the greater Phoenix area, in Israel and around the world.

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Media Contact:
Laura Toussaint-Newkirk