‘One wondering Jew’ to keynote for Women’s Philanthropy event | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

‘One wondering Jew’ to keynote for Women’s Philanthropy event

FOX POINT – Writer Abigail Pogrebin spent the Jewish year 5775 immersed in studying, experiencing, and writing about every single Jewish holiday for the first time in her nearly 52 years — including each obscure festival and all six fasts.

Her book, “My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew,” chronicles what she discovered, how it changed her, and why she believes the Jewish calendar is a blueprint for life, regardless of faith.

Pogrebin will talk about her new book at Women’s Philanthropy of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 17 at Congregation Sinai in Fox Point.

“My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew,” is the result of author Abigail Pogrebin’s curiosity, which led her to embark on an entire year of intensive research, observation, and writing about the milestones on the Jewish calendar.


Pogrebin was invited by several Women’s Philanthropy leaders who heard her speak at a national conference. “We wanted an inspiring speaker who could talk compellingly about involvement in Jewish community – which is what we will be celebrating with the women donors and volunteers at our annual luncheon,” said Amy Blumenthal, director of Women’s Philanthropy.

Leadership award

At the event, Lindy Liberman will be honored with the annual Ann Agulnick Young Leadership Award.

“Every year, we choose a young woman who demonstrates outstanding qualities of leadership and commitment to Jewish life and has the potential to grow into a leader for the Jewish Federation and the community,” says Women’s Philanthropy president Eileen Graves.

“Lindy has shown dedication to philanthropy – serving our community by giving of both her time and resources – by taking on many volunteer positions at the Jewish Federation, including working in campaign and serving on our Women’s Philanthropy Board and Agency Review Council, as well as joining the Lion of Judah Society and co-chairing our annual Lion of Judah-Pomegranate event.”

Pogrebin at PBS, 60 Minutes

An author and former TV producer at PBS and 60 Minutes, Pogrebin has written for national publications including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Forward, Tablet Magazine, and The Daily Beast. The daughter of Letty Cottin Pogrebin, founding editor of Ms. Magazine, Pogrebin lives in Manhattan, where she serves as president of Central Synagogue and moderates her own interview series at JCC Manhattan, “What Everyone’s Talking About.”

Pogrebin launched into a year of living Jewishly with the blessings of her husband and their two teenage children, having regularly observed only the major holidays. She emerged into 5776 with a more robust and meaningful Jewish practice. Her favorite holiday? Hint: it has to do with the entire Hebrew month of Elul.

Since “My Jewish Year” hit the shelves, Pogrebin has encountered spirited audiences across the U.S.

“What has stayed with me after every book talk so far is how many people are, like me, casting about for meaning in their Jewish lives – eager to reopen the holidays they thought they fully understood, or to revisit the ones that have never come alive before,” she says. “We have had lively, surprising conversations about the lessons that get sparked by everything from the Fast of Esther to Passover to Chanukah. It’s further affirmation that these festivals and fasts contain our stories at every moment, if we take a deeper look.”

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How to go:

What: Women’s Philanthropy of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation Annual Meeting featuring Abigail Pogrebin and honoring Lindy Liberman

When: Wednesday, May 17, 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Congregation Sinai, 8223 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point

Cost: $40, kosher lunch served

RSVP: by Friday, May 5. MilwaukeeJewish.org/WPAM or Ashleigh Lund, 414-390-5741