Community unites at annual Women for Israel Luncheon in Chicago

Recently, 100 philanthropic “wonder women” united at the Doubletree by Hilton Chicago for Jewish National Fund-USA’s annual Women for Israel Luncheon, where community members stood in solidarity with the people of Israel while learning about how the organization is supporting Israel’s resilience and rebuilding efforts in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

Co-chaired by local philanthropist Margalit Tocher, the luncheon featured an interview with guest speaker Sarri Singer, who worked a few blocks away from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and two years later, after moving to Israel, was a victim of a bus bombing in Jerusalem in 2003.

In the interview, moderated by Women for Israel Illinois co-chair Dana Fish, Singer discussed the attacks and her current role as the founder and director of Strength to Strength, a nonprofit organization that brings together victims of terror from around the world and assists them with long-term psychological needs.

Attendees also heard from Jewish National Fund-USA Chief of Staff in Israel, Talia Tzour-Avner, who provided an update on Jewish National Fund-USA’s Israel Resilience Campaign, which has raised $60 million since Oct. 7, 2023, supporting the evacuation and relocation of tens of thousands of residents in Israel’s south while providing thousands more with housing, food, clothing, and other supplies.

The campaign includes the organization’s Build Together plan, a bold, strategic initiative to rebuild the Israel Envelope communities — cleaning up the region, designing and constructing new homes, and helping small businesses reopen, all while supporting the immediate and long-term security needs, physical and mental health requirements, and resilience efforts to create a welcoming environment for evacuees to return home.

“Over 10,000 evacuees have a place to stay because of our support,” Tzour-Avner said. “We’re equipping the municipalities now in Israel’s north and south with supplies — vests, special radios, helmets, drones, medical kits, protective clothing, night vision cameras, and rescue equipment, along with so much more.”

Jewish National Fund-USA recognizes May as Women’s Month, and local lay leaders took the opportunity to discuss the power of female philanthropy.

“Women are crucial to the work that is being done in Israel,” said event co-chair Margalit Tocher. “Jewish National Fund-USA’s Women for Israel is responsible for more than a third of our annual campaign. We invest in community, education, physical and mental safety, and healthcare.”

In addition, attendees were invited to attend Jewish National Fund-USA’s Global Conference for Israel in Dallas this fall, taking place from Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 14-17 (

For more information about Jewish National Fund-USA or to learn about upcoming events in Chicago, visit or contact Assaf Grunberg at or (847) 656-8880, ext. 766.

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