Federation president earns national award

Federation president earns national award

Sheryl Grutman said she considers it a privilege to take her place among other women leaders in philanthropy.
Sheryl Grutman said she considers it a privilege to take her place among other women leaders in philanthropy.

Sheryl Grutman, president of Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, has been chosen by Jewish Federations of North America’s Women’s Philanthropy to receive its prestigious Kipnis-Wilson Friedland Award.

The honor, which recognizes women leaders who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism, will be bestowed at the International Lion of Judah Conference in New York Sept. 7-10. 

In the Monmouth federation, Grutman previously held such roles as Women’s Philanthropy president, outreach chair, education chair, and chair of Women’s Campaign. In 2013, she became cochair of the Social Action Committee for JFNA’s national Women’s Philanthropy board. Shortly thereafter she unexpectedly was asked to assume Monmouth’s presidency.

“Never one to refuse to help where needed, Sheryl accepted and currently holds both positions,” said federation executive director Keith Krivitzky. “Her commitment to Jewish community is inspiring. She embodies the value of ‘Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh,’ which means ‘All of Israel is responsible for one another.’”

Grutman describes her childhood home as “actively Jewish” — her parents were synagogue leaders, her mother serving as president of the sisterhood, and her father as congregation president — and she followed in their footsteps, like her mother serving as sisterhood president for 10 years. But, she said, “federation wasn’t always part of my life.” 

Then, 11 years ago, she said, she attended a program at which “an Ethiopian woman shared her struggles getting to Israel so she could live openly and proudly as a Jew. This tugged at my heart.”

Grutman became involved in federation, quickly becoming a Lion of Judah and beginning to visit Israel regularly. 

“It is an honor to receive the Kipnis-Wilson Friedland Award,” she said. “To be a Lion of Judah is a great honor that I take seriously, and it is a privilege to be able to take my place among other women in our global Jewish community who have taken it upon themselves to be leaders in philanthropy.”

Grutman is mother to three adult children and owns a small business. 

The Kipnis-Wilson Friedland award was established in honor of Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland, founders of Lion of Judah, the designation referring to women who give an annual gift of at least $5,000 to their local Jewish federation.

Award recipients are chosen by the local federations; in 2014, 75 women from across the United States will receive the award.

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