Each year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia presents three awards for young leaders: the Blanche Wolfe Kohn Award, the Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Award, and the Jack Goldenberg Award.
With these honors, the Jewish Federation identifies young Jews in the community who could shape the future of Jewish Philadelphia. And this year, for the first time since 1996, all three winners are women.
Carly Zimmerman, a 34-year-old downtown resident, won the Blanche Wolfe Kohn award. Sarah Vogel, 45, a member of Temple Sinai in Dresher, received the Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Award. And Julie Perilstein Mozes, a 36-year-old member of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia, received the Jack Goldenberg Award.
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“All three are young women with families and careers,” said Gail Norry, co-chair of the Jewish Federation board, who was one of the 1996 winners. you are also taking on a serious leadership role and making a significant philanthropic contribution.”
The women discussed their journeys to service, as well as the future of Jewish life in the Philadelphia area.
Zimmerman, an executive in the family business, Larson Lighting Protection, grew up in Harrisburg in an interfaith home. She celebrated holidays with her grandparents and had a bat mitzvah. But after that, she moved away from Judaism.
During her freshman orientation at the University of Pittsburgh, however, she met a woman who worked for Hillel and got involved, organizing retreats and food-packing events, among other activities.
After college, she spent six years as CEO of Challah for Hunger, where she worked to “reduce food insecurity on college campuses,” according to a Jewish Federation press release. Today, she is president of Women of Vision, an arm of the Jewish Federation that provides grants to nonprofit organizations that help women and girls.
Zimmerman does this job for his 6-year-old daughter, Norah.
“If I can leave him a better world, it will be worth it,” she said.
Vogel, a speech pathologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said serving the Jewish community is in her DNA.
His grandparents and parents both donated to the Jewish Federation. But it wasn’t until Vogel’s sister invited her to the Jewish Federation’s Women’s Leadership Development Program that she got involved.
During those six sessions, she learned the organization’s detailed process for allocating millions of dollars to worthwhile causes.
Vogel then joined the Women’s Philanthropy Board and hosted a series of talks designed to engage people in the Jewish Federation. More recently, she presented the Lion of Judah, the event that encourages women donors to reach the $5,000 milestone.
She is now vice president of Women’s Philanthropy, which raises money for programs at places like the Mitzvah Food Pantry and the KleinLife Community Center.
“I hope that organizations continue to evolve and that there is a lot more flexibility and options for people to stay in touch with the Jewish community, even if it is different from the traditional Conservative, Reform and Orthodox,” she said.
Julie Perilstein Mozes
Perilstein Mozes, who works for Penn Medicine on business development, said it was her grandmother, Cookie Perilstein, who inspired her to become active in the Jewish community. Perilstein donated her money, time and energy to the Mitzvah Food Pantry, Abramson Senior Care and Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, where she belonged.
“Wherever I went, she was a beloved member of the community,” Perilstein Mozes said.
After working in New York, the granddaughter returned to Philadelphia 10 years ago and joined the Jewish Federation. After serving on its Board of Directors, the Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors of Women’s Philanthropy, she now participates in the development of the non-profit organization’s strategic plan for the next three years. The Jewish Federation must understand the nature of the Jewish community today, according to Perilstein Mozes.
“I think there are people who are not from traditional backgrounds who want to raise Jewish families,” she said. I