For Emily Gindi, Jewish giving is a family affair. Growing up on Long Island, she was constantly hearing about her parents’ dinners, trips and events with the UJA-Federation of New York (her mother is a current board member and her father is a past board member). When Gindi chose an agency to join as part of the UJA-Fed’s Observership Program, she selected the Samuel Field Y, where her aunt had served as an assistant executive director. She is also an active member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, along with her mother, aunt and two cousins.
“I learned from my parents, actions speak louder than words,” said Gindi. “They could have taught me about tzedakah, but they showed me.” Today Gindi continues that tradition by devoting herself to women’s and family fundraising at the UJA, as the current chair of women’s philanthropy in Manhattan, and previous co-chair of the families division. Gindi organizes and runs events that combine fundraising, volunteering, and outreach.
She is also the chair of the $10,000 Giving Circle at UJA-Fed, which encourages women to reach that level of philanthropy. “We want women to understand that a gift in their name is different,” said Gindi. “Our voices matter.” Since the inception of the $10,000 circle last year, more than 108 women have increased their donations to join, and have had chance to participate in two events: a day in Washington Heights visiting member agencies and a 24-hour mission to Washington, meeting with congressmen and other policy makers. “The collective responsibility of women coming together and raising this money on their own is important,” said Gindi, who wants to show her three children — Lynn, Sam and Hannah — that she also has a say.
Last year Gindi joined a mission to Ethiopia run by the Jewish Federations of North American. Together with 15 other volunteers, she escorted 126 Ethiopian men, women and children to Israel, helping them adjust to their new homes and introducing them to modern conveniences. “It was really life changing.”
Fishin’ family: Gindi worked for five years for the Acme Smoked Fish Corporation, a company started by her great-grandfather, Harry Brownstein; her father and brother currently work there. Mission connections: Gindi met her husband, Nathan, on a UJA-Federation mission to Budapest and Prague.