Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel
11461 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049
University Women of American Jewish University is pleased to announce the honoree for this year's Called to Rise Luncheon:
Donna Bender, Woman of Achievement Award
Rabbi Sherre Hirsch
Nancy Beiser | Beth Freeman | Karen Getelman
Called to Rise is University Women's annual luncheon in support of AJU students and community.
Donna Bender had a 25-year career as a healthcare management executive prior to becoming a full-time community leader and political activist. She directed her energy, management background, and passion into activism for Israel in response to increasingly dangerous threats facing the Jewish State. Donna has served on a diverse number of non-profit Boards, and today she holds leadership roles in several key organizations that impact the Jewish community. A central focus of her volunteerism is working with candidates for and Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives regarding legislative issues that strengthen the alliance between America and Israel. Donna has been a member of AIPAC’s National Board of Directors since 2013. She lobbies Members of Congress monthly on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and participates in Congressional delegation trips to Israel. Donna has been a member of the AIPAC Valley Executive Committee since 2004, serving two-terms as Valley Chair, and has been the AIPAC Valley Political Chair since 2010. She also serves on the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Board of Directors and on the Los Angeles Birthright Leadership Council. Donna and her family are long-time, active congregants of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, an alumna of the Wexner Heritage Program, and a proud member of AJU University Women. Donna and her husband Ron have a daughter Talia, married to Ryan, and son Ari, who all share in their community engagement.
Sherre Hirsch is a rabbi, author and spirituality expert dedicated to empowering individuals to be their own most trusted spiritual guides. She currently serves as Hillel International’s Senior Rabbinic Scholar, focused on developing a culture of wellness and spirituality on 550 campuses worldwide. She is also the Spirituality Consultant for Miraval Properties, where she organizes retreats and leads workshops focused on grief, healing and spirituality. Hirsch launched her rabbinic career as the first woman rabbi at Sinai Temple, Los Angeles’s largest and oldest conservative synagogue. During her eight-year tenure on the pulpit, she was instrumental in the founding of Friday Night Live and other nationally-recognized innovative programming. Since then, she has published two books with Random House - We Plan, God Laughs: What to Do When Life Hits You Over the Head, an Amazon top 100 in all books, andThresholds: How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions to Live Fearlessly and Regret-Free – a Vanity Fair “Best Type.” She is the co-founder of NotAlone, a mobile app empowering 18-24 year-olds to connect consciously and enhance their social, emotional well-beings. Hirsch also served as the Spirituality Consultant for Canyon Ranch Properties for 15 years and was honored as Jewish Women International Women to Watch. Hirsch’s modern approach to ancient Jewish wisdom and relatable framework for spirituality has made her a sought after speaker, teacher, consultant, counselor and national media contributor. She is married to Dr. Jeffrey Hirsch and resides in Los Angeles with her four children, foster son and rescue dog, Latke.