Sherry Z. Frank gives credit where credit is due. The repeat president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women explains how she came up with the title for the group’s first annual fundraising luncheon, “Women Who Dare: Celebrating our Sheroes,” scheduled for May 30.
The first part of that title headlined a panel at a recent NCJW national meeting in Washington, D.C. “When we began to talk about a fundraiser, the national idea of ‘women who dared’ came up,” Frank recalled.
Years ago, Frank was a member of a black-Jewish women’s group that included six Jewish women and six black women. “I love words that lift up women,” she said. Johnnetta Cole, the president of Spelman College from 1987 to 1997 “used to talk about sheroes.”
Coming up with the catchy title for the fundraiser was much easier than choosing which “sheroes” to honor. “I sent out emails to ask people to nominate women and we received 29 names,” Frank explained. “We created criteria such as determining that it didn’t matter whether the women leaders were lay or professional, but they needed to be women who reflect our values.”
The plan had been to choose five honorees. Instead, NCJW is honoring six women because it couldn’t separate Valerie Habif and Joanie Shubin. The two are co-founders of the Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon. From a small group in 2012, JDWS has grown to more than 1,100 members. Its mission is to educate, empower and involve progressive women on social justice issues, including reproductive rights, voting rights, gun safety, hate crimes, and refugee and immigration policy.
Separately, Shubin held several leadership positions in the Jewish community, including as an NCJW activist. Habif is a retired clinical psychologist, and a lifelong member of ORT, Hadassah, Brandeis and NCJW. Both have served as leaders in the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
A third honoree is Elana Bekerman Frank, who created the Jewish Fertility Foundation and serves as its executive director. After facing her own difficulties with fertility, she founded JFF to provide financial assistance, educational awareness and emotional support to Atlanta’s Jewish families who face medical fertility challenges.
Elizabeth Finn Johnson, now retired from The Coca-Cola Co. as senior counsel, employee relations, is a past president and has served as counsel of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation since 2013. She serves on several nonprofit boards and has received several awards for her pro bono community service work.
Dr. Mimi Zieman has advocated for women’s reproductive health rights in Georgia since she became director of family planning at Emory University School of Medicine and Grady Memorial Hospital. Most recently, she fought the new “heartbeat” anti-abortion legislation in Georgia.
Frank hopes the group’s first fundraiser will attract 200 people and add some $10,000 to $20,000 to the NCJW’s coffer. And she’s already planning next year’s fundraiser which will be the 125th anniversary of NCJW. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to tell NCJW’s story,” she said. “Our focus is innovation and honoring women who have not been recognized.”
Longtime Jewish community activist Lois Frank will moderate the program that will be held at noon May 30 at The Temple on Peachtree Street, with registration starting at 11:30 a.m. Reservations, due May 23, can be made by calling 404-843-9600, or by emailing email@example.com.
- Jan Jaben-Eilon
- Sherry Z. Frank
- Johnnetta Cole
- Valerie Habif
- Joanie Shubin
- Elana Bekerman Frank
- Jewish Fertility Foundation
- jewish federation of greater atlanta
- Elizabeth Finn Johnson
- Dr. Mimi Zieman
- Lois Frank
- National Council of Jewish Women
- Women Who Dare: Celebrating our Sheroes
- Georgia Heartbeat Bill
- Jewish Democratic Women's Salon