Anita Gray, Honoree
HONOREE Anita Gray is the retired Cleveland Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. Previously, she was a Congressional Liaison to Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and Cleveland Director for AIPAC. In addition, she co-founded Ishmael & Isaac, a co-existence organization for Cleveland’s Jewish and Arab communities. In that capacity, she was National Executive Director and traveled three times to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan with Cleveland Jews and Arabs. Locally, Anita has been a board member of the Jewish Community Federation and chair of its Community Relations, Government Relations and Women’s Division in addition to numerous other committees.
She also was General Co-Chair of the annual fundraising campaign for several years. Currently, she serves as a member of Government Relations and Community Relations Committees. She has served on the boards of Agnon School, the Temple Tifereth Israel, Park Synagogue, the Cleveland Jewish News and Bellefaire.
Nationally, Anita is a past officer of Jewish Council for Public Affairs and United Jewish Appeal where she chaired its Speakers & Trainers Bureau and Women’s Young Leadership Cabinet in addition to conducting many fundraising training and motivational sessions.
Internationally, she has served as a representative to numerous Jewish Agency meetings and has traveled to Israel and the Middle East over 70 times. She has visited the former Soviet Union five times on behalf of Soviet Jews and has flown to Israel
with Jews making aliyah from Uzbekistan. She also was on the tarmac in Israel and helped with Operation Solomon when 25,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in 27 hours and have spoken in many cities.
Anita is a member of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. She has two daughters and one grandson.
Proceeds from Today’s Event
NA’AMAT, the largest provider of childcare services in Israel, welcomes more than 17,000 preschool boys and girls to its 200 centers where they develop the skills needed to succeed in school and in life. Recognizing the importance of early childhood education, NA’AMAT pioneered preschool education programs that became the model for Project Head Start in the United States.
The Cologne Peace Daycare Center, located in Jaffa, is the only NA’AMAT daycare center to offer bilingual early childhood education and serve a mixed group of Jewish and Arabic children. Its student population is kept strictly in balance, half Arab and half Jew, with the Arab students equally divided between Christians and Muslims. Parents who wish to enroll their children in this unique program–and the waiting list is long–must commit to attending multi-cultural workshops and volunteering time at the school. more..
The center was established 30 years ago. Its original director, Yael Ben-Shahar, wanted to create a daycare center for all the people of Jaffa which is a special, multicultural community in Israel. Traditionally, Jews and Arabs are educated separately in Israel. They don’t often meet or interact as they grow up. The founders wanted it to be a place where children live and learn together. The families who come here want that experience for their children. The parents who bring their children here believe in peace. They want to mix with others, to be good neighbors. They are not just from Jaffa, but also from Bat Yam and other surrounding communities. We celebrate all the holidays…Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. The parents come to all these celebrations so they get to mingle and learn about the other cultures. The Cologne Peace Daycare Center is a beacon of hope for all Israeli citizens. It is building bonds, not just between children, but between communities.
NA’AMAT – Empowering Women & Children
NA’AMAT (formerly Pioneer Women) began almost 100 years ago with a plea from Israel to build a well for the women working in the fields building a nation. Today, NA’AMAT USA sister movement to NA’AMAT Israel is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the world, counting more than 300,000 members worldwide. Along with its day care centers, NA’AMAT provides funding for technological and agricultural high schools, educational scholarships, women’s shelters, legal aid bureaus, women’s rights centers, and family health centers.
It is also a powerful voice in advocating for equal rights, religious freedom, and world peace. As times have changed, so has NA’AMAT’s approaches to improving the status of women. In the twenty-first century, we are reaching out to new generations of women to join our partnership with NA’AMAT Israel to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Israel. Visit www.naamat.org for more information
Golda Meir Award
Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, stateswoman, politician, and the
fourth prime minister of Israel. She, and other leaders of the women’s workers
movement in Palestine, played conspicuous roles in the life of the organization.
We honor Golda Meir’s legacy through this Award, given to a woman of distinction,
a woman who gives of her heart, time, and commitment to the Jewish community.
Mrs. Meir, the National Secretary of NA’AMAT in the 1930s, said: “NA’AMAT is
the first and last women’s organization for which I ever worked.”