Email header: Women of Impact e-newsletter, brought to you by Federation Women's Philanthropy
July 2022
Image: headshot of Jill Dulitsky

The world we live in is in dire need of positive change. But you don’t need me to tell you that; turning on the news is proof enough. However, what you may not hear in the news is that the change we need is happening every day—and often, it’s strong Jewish women who are leading this charge. Lately, I’ve been privileged to witness this firsthand, and I want to share with you a few reasons for inspiration and hope.

Last month, the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of Directors (to which I was recently appointed) met for a retreat in New York City with our very own Carolyn Gitlin presiding as chair. We were joined by Greater Hartford residents Jessica Zachs, Merrill Mandell, and Dana Keller. Together, we heard from Julie Platt, the newly inducted chair of Jewish Federations of North America’s Board of Directors—only the second female ever to serve in that role! Julie shared three of her top priorities as chair: 

First, she addressed the need for leadership development within the JFNA system and her commitment to supporting Jewish professionals and lay leaders nationwide. These are our “local heroes,” and they are so instrumental in ensuring that the fabric of our community stays strong.

Next, Julie spoke to our critical need for community security, stressing that she won’t sleep well until every Jewish community across the country is able to participate in the Secure Community Initiative (a program that our Federation in Greater Hartford has embraced wholeheartedly, with John Colangelo serving as security director). Yes, antisemitism is increasing—but as the Jewish people have always done, we are rising to the occasion, ensuring that our entire community is focused on preventive measures and readiness in the face of the unspeakable. 

Lastly, Julie underscored her commitment to supporting Holocaust survivors for as long as they are with us. They are one of our great shared treasures, connecting us to our past and reminding us of what it means to be a Jewish people. We must all play a role in protecting and celebrating them.

These three priorities give me great hope that meaningful change is underway and that, as a community of Jewish women, we can protect the values we all hold so dear. On a related note, I am thrilled to spotlight the work of this month’s Woman of Impact, Jaime Waldman Seltzer. Yes, the conflict in Ukraine continues to break our hearts. But Jaime’s work with American Friends of NATAL is critical in helping to heal the men, women, and children traumatized by this war. Jaime and Julie represent the change we need—as do all of you who actively support one another and help to bring about a better tomorrow. 
Jill Dulitsky
2022 Women's Philanthropy Chair
Woman of Impact: Jaime Waldman Seltzer
Our Woman of Impact profile features a local woman who is making a notable impact in our community. For this issue, we spoke with Jaime Waldman Seltzer, executive director of American Friends of NATAL (AFNATAL), an organization that supports the important work of NATAL: Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, a Tel Aviv-based nonprofit that assists survivors of war- and terror-related trauma. Previously, Jaime was a key member of our local Federation’s professional staff, where she served as director of financial resource development. Jaime was born in New York and raised in West Hartford, where she now lives with her husband, Mark. Together, they contribute their wisdom and wealth to many local Jewish community organizations and agencies. Jaime and Mark also value the time spent with their four adult childrenAmanda and Aaron Katzman and Brittney and Matthew Seltzer and their grandchildren, Molly and Nathan Katzman.

Most of your professional life has been focused on serving the Jewish community. How did you discover that path as your life’s work?

I grew up in a family that was very involved in the Jewish community here in West Hartford, and my parents were fantastic role models. My mother served as our Federation’s Women’s Division chair and was national chair of Women’s Philanthropy during the 1973 [Yom Kippur] war. My father chaired our Federation’s Annual Campaign and also chaired Project Renewal for Federation when Afula was chosen as Hartford’s sister community in Israel. My parents taught by example the importance of giving back and making the world a better place.

I went to Israel just after the 1973 Yom Kippur war as part of a national college mission, and I served as the campaign chair of the Boston University Israel campaign. When I returned from Israel, Federation’s executive director at the time encouraged me to go back to graduate school for a master’s degree in social work, looking toward a career in Jewish communal service. 

Following that, I took a position with Federation and had so many amazing experiences as a result! Some highlights included mentoring many wonderful community volunteers and leading missions to Israel, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and South America. I was also part of the largest group of American Jews to visit Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall—and I joined a group that brought medical supplies to Ethiopia and helped bring many Ethiopian families to a new life in Israel. All of these experiences allowed me to zero in on my life’s purpose: to leave the world better than I found it and to assist those less fortunate.

How is your current work with American Friends of NATAL a culmination of your professional experience?

I was recruited for this position in 2019 and was immediately drawn to NATAL’s mission. NATAL originally focused on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to war and terror. Now, due to COVID and current events, we deal with trauma in many different ways. Our role at AFNATAL is to create greater U.S. awareness of NATAL’s life-saving work and to raise funds in support of that work. 

Although I’ve spent most of my professional career in financial resource development—nearly 45 years—my role with AFNATAL has brought my professional life full circle. Because of AFNATAL’s focus on trauma and resiliency, my social work background also comes into play. I feel very fortunate that during my time with Federation—and even to this day—I am able to support the worldwide Jewish community. Now, my work with AFNATAL allows me to positively impact those around the world suffering from PTSD.

To read our full interview with Jaime, click here. To nominate someone as a Woman of Impact, contact Laurie Mandell.
Welcome to Our Newest Giving Society Members
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford is delighted to welcome our newest women's giving society members! To learn more about women's giving societies at Federation, click here or contact Laurie Mandell.
Lion of Judah
Annual gifts of $5,000 and more 
Diamond ($5,000+):
Tracy Gelles
Leslie Neiditz
Suzanne Pinkes
Jaime Seltzer
Eveline Shekhman
Patti Weiner
Melissa Weinstock

Pomegranate Society
$1,800 to $4,999 annual gift
Shelley Cetel
Andrea Rosenfield
Samantha Trachten
Jan Rosenthal

Pearl Society
$180 to $1,799 annual gift
Susan Berman
Susan Case 
Jillian Feldman
Rachel Leventhal-Weiner
Evie Jones
Debra Raviv
National Women’s Philanthropy Leaders Convene in NYC for Board Retreat
Last month, the National Women’s Philanthropy Board came together in New York City for its annual retreat, concluding a three-year hiatus due to COVID. National Women’s Philanthropy Chair and Hartford native Carolyn Gitlin led participants in reviewing Jewish Federations of North America’s national priorities. Nearly 150 women from across the U.S. representing 60 communities serve on the national board; other local participants included Dana Keller, Merrill Mandell, Jessica Zachs, and local Women’s Philanthropy Chair Jill Dulitsky. “Seeing all of these like-minded women come together in service to our communities was incredibly inspiring,” said Jill. “We’re very excited to share what we learned with our friends and partnering organizations in Greater Hartford.” The board also enjoyed presentations on “Leadership and the Art of Storytelling” and “Effective Advocacy and Mindful Communication” and launched registration for the upcoming International Lion of Judah Conference, to be held December 11 through 13 in Phoenix, Arizona. Click here to learn more. 
Above: National Women’s Philanthropy Chair Carolyn Gitlin (center) is flanked by (from left) National Women’s Philanthropy Board members Dana Keller, Jessica Zachs, Merrill Mandell, and Jill Dulitsky.
Pamela Rae Schuller may have “America’s worst-diagnosed case of Tourette Syndrome,” but on April 26, she proved that her sense of humor is very much intact. More than 50 Pearl and Pomegranate Society members and Lions of Judah attended a reception at the Connecticut Historical Society that evening and were entertained by her unique brand of self-effacing (and self-empowering) comedy. Through tales of personal adversity, Pam inspired the group with an overarching message of inclusion and self-love. Amanda Katzman and Lauren Eisen co-chaired the very successful event, and donations benefited Federation’s 2022 Annual Campaign. Thanks to all who were able to attend!
Above: Comedian and mental health advocate Pamela Rae Schuller
Pomegranate Society Packs More Than 300 Dignity Grows Totes for Those in Need
In May, our Pomegranates met for a meaningful Dignity Grows packing event. Together, we packed 300 Dignity Grows Totes full of menstrual hygiene supplies for our neighbors in need. We also heard from our distribution partners at Goodwin College, who shared how important Dignity Grows is in filling a gap for people in need.
Lions of Judah Honor Joyce Mandell with Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award
For the first time since 2019, nearly 70 Lions of Judah came together on June 1 to once again enjoy an in-person Lion of Judah Annual Celebration. ​​Eleven new Lions were pinned—for a total of 22 new Lions joining since our last celebration. We also honored Joyce Mandell with the 2022 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award, which recognizes extraordinary women philanthropists and volunteers. Attendees enjoyed a presentation from keynote speaker Tanya Zuckerbrot, a social-media influencer and founder of the health-based F-Factor® Diet. Robin Gelles and Alisha Cipriano co-chaired the event, which was held at Robin’s beautiful home.
Above: The eleven new Lions of Judah
July 24: Dignity Grows Summer Pack
Dignity Grows and Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford will hold a community packing event on Sunday, July 24, to assemble Dignity Grows Totes for our local neighbors in need. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford, 26 Buena Vista Road, West Hartford. Everyone is welcome to participate; prior registration is required. A suggested donation of $20 covers the cost of two Dignity Grows Totes. For details or to RSVP, email
September 21: HINENI 2022 Celebrates You and Our Vibrant Community
Save the date for HINENI – Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford's biggest-ever gala event – on Wednesday, September 21 at 5:30 p.m. at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford! This fantastic evening celebrates you and our vibrant Jewish community. You’ll learn how the Jewish Leadership Academy prepares our entire community to face new challenges. We’ll present the Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Award to unsung heroes and enjoy a live performance by legendary Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza and Trio Havana. HINENI 2022 is chaired by Howard N. Weiner. Mark your calendars now; invitations are coming soon!
November 3: Living with Intention Presents Interim UConn President Radenka Maric
You won't want to miss our 2022 Living with Intention event, an annual program that inspires all of the women in our community to live a more meaningful life! This year, we will hear from Radenka Maric, interim president of UConn. This uplifting program, chaired by Gayle Temkin and Eveline Shekhman, will be held on the evening of Thursday, November 3 at a time to be determined. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details!
Above: UConn Interim President Radenka Maric (photo courtesy of Peter Morenus and UConn)
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