Friday, February 24, 2012

Lions and Gloria and Bares (feet) Oh My.....

This is a story of a little Jewish girl brought up in Bakersfield California in the late 50's and 60's.Okay I will not bore you with the details of all the fun things that happened to me, well okay maybe a little taste. Let me put it this way was it hard being brought up Jewish in a highly racist town. Yes. My named was spelled Jewdy in my yearbook, I was asked stupid questions like "where were my horns and tails" and of course "you don't look Jewish" I did not look Jewish because I got my horns and tail removed by a prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon if you must know, but I am digressing from the story.

As most of you know, I have been without a job for over two years and last month my unemployment ended along with anyway I could pay my bills and rent. (aren't you glad I started with the first paragraph.Not a lot of laughs here). I was scared and did not know what to do since I wanted to keep my apartment so government funds were not available to me. I was told to go to JVS (Jewish Vocational Services) to get some guidance. When I arrived at the West Hollywood branch, I felt like I was home. The staff treated me with such dignity and respect, all I wanted to do was pay it forward.

So this big Jewish girl was asked to partake in a video that was for a fundraiser for the Jewish Federation. They thought my story would be a good addition to their campaign. I was relieved to be able to pay it forward since they had assisted me in my bills last month. Well you know me....I cried all the way through the taping. I figured there was no way they could capture ANYTHING. So when I walked out of the taping I told the producer that I would love to assist them in any way. The producer told me that I had everyone crying and that she will contact me soon, that there may be a way to help the Federation and JVS out.

Two days later I was called by the producer to speak at a luncheon for the Lion of Judah which is a fundraiser for the Federation. Now, before it gets anymore complicated let me tell you that this lunch was at the Beverly Wilshire ballroom. The hotel that Pretty Woman was filmed. I was waiting for Richard Gere to jump out and give me a beautiful necklace, but that would make me a prostitute and that would be a whole other story.

Anyway back to the lunch. I was told that the great Gloria Steinem was the keynote speaker and I would be the only other speaker at the event. Honored, I wrote my speech in which the Federation execs. thought was wonderful. I was told that I would come onto the stage in the dark while the video, that I had taped last week, was being played then the lights would come up and I would be standing there in the spotlight saying my speech.

So here I am all dressed up with shoes that where quite beautiful, (thank Marie) but of course as any woman can tell you, heels are not all that comfortable. So as I am walking into the ballroom and seeing that it was not set for 300 people but closer to 500 people I almost fell off my shoes. I thought as I was back stage to take my shoes off, since I was so nervous I was about to plotz! Bare feet that the Beverly Wishire, Julia Roberts would be proud!

So the video played, I looked pretty good even with red eyes and I walked on stage, yes I put my shoes back on, the lights came up and I saw hundreds of people there. Now, I was told to speak slowly and deliberately like Obama. That was not hard to do since my glasses kept steaming up and I could not read my copy. That worked for me, I breathed and spoke clearly and felt I did a good job. Still I have not seen Ms. Steinem and I was asked to go to my table and enjoy the lunch.

After lunch, the head of the Lion of Judah introduced Gloria. And let me tell you, she is not only still beautiful, she was an absolute incredible speaker. Now she spoke a lot about, women's rights, politics and equality and said some really important  and powerful statements. The problem is I can not tell you one of them, because I was so overwhelmed. Well that is a lie. One statement stuck in my mind. Paraphrased, she talked about when in the 80's the women movies were coined with the phrase "chick flicks" so why isn't the action adventure movies coined "prick flicks" You gotta love Gloria!!!!

The whole afternoon was an amazing adventure. The women, and men at the event came up to me wishing me luck and prayers. I was asked by the Federation to have my picture take with Gloria. She walked up to me and stated she thought my speech was powerful and beautiful. OMG she was there the whole time!!!! The day was filled with adventure, joy, tears for fears....wait that is a music group and there was no fear. Only a glimmer of hope that things are changing in my world for the better. As my mother would say, from my mouth to God's ears.....Are you listening God????? I know you are!!!!


  1. BRAVA, my friend! Wish I could've been there!

  2. Way to go, Amazing Woman! You inspire us all, Judith. xoA