JFS Woman to Woman — with Kristin Chenoweth
Photos: Courtesy Jewish Family Service
The first JFS Woman to Woman event was held in 2004. Pictured, from left, are Ethel Zale, Janet Beck, Dena Frankfurt, guest Susan Dell, Roslyn Goldstein, Lisa Zale and Elaine Pearlman. The biennial event has raised more than $4.6 million in 18 years for JFS.

By Deb Silverthorn

The 2022 Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Greater Dallas’ Biennial Woman to Woman event will host special guest Kristin Chenoweth Wednesday, May 25, at the Renaissance Dallas Addison Hotel. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the event beginning at noon. It is open to the public, with RSVPs requested by May 1.

“We cannot wait to celebrate all that has been made possible by our donors at this event the last two decades,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker. “It has been four years since most of us were last in a ballroom like this together, and we are so looking forward to the energy and excitement of the day and to seeing friends get together to make a difference for our community.”

In the last 18 years, this event has raised $4.6 million, helping to triple the number of clients the agency supports. It began as a garden party with 100 ladies at the home of Elaine and Trevor Pearlman; Pearlman, Janet Beck, Dena Frankfurt, Roslyn Goldstein, Lisa Zale and Ethel Zale welcomed Susan Dell as the premiere event’s special guest.

“I didn’t know much about JFS when I first got involved but Dr. Harlan Pollock, of blessed memory, was the president and asked me to help out. What he cared about was important, and I soon learned that it was important to me too and I had to help,” said Ethel Zale, the Woman to Woman’s Founding and Sustaining chair.

Through the years the JFS event has welcomed guests Joy Behar, Jill Biden, Goldie Hawn, Karen Katz, Marlee Matlin, Bette Midler and Diane Von Furstenberg.

“I am so proud of the work we do, the people we help and the friends we’ve made all along the way,” said Zale. “This event, this organization and its people, mean so much to me.”

Linda Garner has joined Zale as a co-chair since 2006, becoming a dynamic duo working with other event committee members.

“The need for JFS’ help has grown and the support of our community has grown along with it. When we look out into the audience and see our generous supporters, we too are filled with an ever-growing passion,” said Garner. “We are no longer the ‘best-kept secret in Dallas,’ and that’s a great thing. The more who know, the more we can help.”

The Woman to Woman event returns in-person after the 2020 event was hosted virtually, and there is also a virtual option for attendance this year. The luncheon, catered by Simcha Kosher Catering, will include a conversation between WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre and Tony- and Emmy-winning Broadway, television and film sensation Chenoweth.

The all-around entertainer, and author of the recently published children’s book “What Will I Do with My Love Today,” will share stories of her life before she became a celebrity and of how she has grown to become a woman of influence and impact.

“During the pandemic I went from 170 miles an hour to zero, like we all did. What am I going to do to show love when I can’t breathe near, touch or love my people?” said Chenoweth, who was adopted when she was 5 days old. “I adopted [my dog] Thunder and I wanted to send a message — we rescued each other. That’s the crux of the book. The more love you give, the more love you get.”

That message, and the notion of what to do with one’s love, is in sync with the work of Jewish Family Service, feeling that giving is getting.

Chenoweth is now preparing for the May release of another book, “My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves.”

“I’m very excited and so proud,” Chenoweth said of that project. She compiled the book with Lauren Blitzer, Kathy Najimy, Linda Perry and Chely Wright. “Chely and I were writing a song called ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ about the first time we fought for ourselves, really stood up as women, and I couldn’t remember my first time,” said Chenoweth, who originated the role of Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway. “We started writing down our stories and then we went to other people, famous and not, and we gathered incredible and amazing stories of how women have fought for themselves.”

JFS helps its clients — people of all ages — to stand up for themselves, supporting them year-round. For more than 70 years, JFS has welcomed clients through its doors regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, the agency impacting more than 39,000 individuals in just the last year through its programs.

To raise more dollars toward that support, the event will feature a wine pull and luxury raffle which will award a girls’ getaway for two at the Lake Austin Spa Resort, a private wine tasting for 10 at the 55 Seventy private wine club in Preston Center, a Ylang gift card and, in partnership with Sewell Automotive, a 2022 Lexus RX 350. Raffle tickets begin at $25 and winners of the raffle do not need to be present.

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