Sharyl Paley, MD, is the current Women’s Philanthropy Chair for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. She spoke recently with The Chronicle. Excerpts of that conversation follow.
Tell us about your background.
My husband Bob and I live on the North Shore of Milwaukee where we both grew up. We have three children: Hannah, Avi and Danya. I went to college at the University of Indiana – Bloomington and received my medical degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I’ve worked as a pediatrician affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin since 1996.
Why did you take on the role of Women’s Philanthropy Chair?
I see Women’s Philanthropy as being my philanthropic and volunteer home. It’s where I started learning about the Jewish community and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. It was a launching point for me to serve on different boards and committees. Women’s Philanthropy has always felt like a place where I can get a lot done. The power of women coming together to accomplish something is exciting for me. Now I want to give back some of the energy I received to new people who are becoming involved.
Has your family learned anything from your involvement at the Federation?
My kids have grown up seeing me being active in the Jewish community, attending meetings and having meetings at our house. I know this has helped Danya want to become involved in the Federation’s Teen Philanthropy Board, and it has helped Hannah become involved in Jewish Studies in college. Avi often volunteers for the Jewish Community Pantry due to seeing my involvement and that of his grandmother who runs the pantry. Also, I serve as the medical director at Camp Interlaken Jewish Community Center. My children spent summers there before they became campers. So even their involvement at camp came indirectly through my involvement as a volunteer in the Jewish community.
Why do you give to the Federation’s Annual Campaign?
I want to give to the whole community because the whole community is important to me. Federation supports programs that help us from birth to death. With everything going on in the world, Jews need to support ourselves because I’m not sure anyone else is going to. We also need to be a voice for ourselves.