One of Martine Fleishman’s most powerful memories is accompanying her mother on tzedakah rounds for Jewish causes during her Johannesburg childhood. For Nancy Zaro, meeting UJA Federation speaker, Elaine Winik, as a 16-year-old triggered an ambition to pursue a career in the Jewish institutional world.
These early influences played out in each woman’s life, ultimately leading to their being honored for their respective roles at the Westchester Jewish Council 38th Anniversary Gala next month.
Upon graduating from Boston University, where she ran the fundraising campaign for UJA through the local Hillel chapter, Zaro worked at UJA Federation as a professional fundraiser. After she and her husband. Joseph, left Manhattan to move to Westchester, Zaro soon became involved in “everything Jewish.”
Eager to do even more, Zaro enrolled in the not-for-profit management certificate program at Manhattanville College, which ultimately led to a paid position as the associate executive director at the Westchester Jewish Council from 2004-2012.
Zionism and commitment to the Jewish community around the world are part of Martine Fleishman’s DNA.
“My mother and grandmother were staunch Zionists,” said Fleishman, who had intended to make aliyah when she met the man who would become her husband.
Fleishman, who emigrated to the United States from South Africa in 1986 with her husband, Stanley, soon dedicated herself to the causes she cared about: Israel, Jewish education, and the continuity of the Jewish religion. The couple’s three children are all graduates of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester.
A member of the Young Israel of Harrison, Fleishman initially became involved with UJA Federation at Nancy Zaro’s invitation, and joined Zaro in the Manhattanville graduate degree program in not-for-profit management.
For Fleishman, “It’s been a never-ending career for me.” She spends three-to-four days a week on her various Jewish activities, and travels frequently with the American Jewish Committee as part of her portfolio.
One of her current passions, which was launched 18 months ago, is through the Jewish Agency for Israel. The group works with local NGOs on the ground in sustainable development work, currently in four centers: Mexico, Israel, India and Ethiopia.
The Westchester Jewish Council 38th Anniversary Gala takes place on Feb. 1 at Temple Israel Center in White Plains. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, register online at www.wjcouncil.org, or call 914-328-7001. A longer version of this feature is available online at www.thejewishweek.com.