Naomi Richman Neumann inherited a legacy of activism. Her grandfather and great-grandfather, Mendel Richman and Isaac Milkowitz, respectively, were active in the pre-1948 United Palestine Appeal, and her paternal grandmother, Rose Richman, volunteered with Israel Bonds.
“They would be in the middle of eating dinner, and if someone called and said they were interested in buying Israel bonds, she would immediately leave the house to make the deal,” Richman Neumann remembered.
In addition to her forebears, she credits her in-laws, Shirley and Leonard Neumann, as a “huge influence” in her community involvement. Their leadership in the Jewish community of Phoenixville, Pa., inspired her husband, Jerry Neumann, which “in turn inspired me.”
The West Hartford, Conn., native will be presented with the Woman of Valor Award at the May 3 Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks’ Women’s Philanthropy luncheon.
Her connection to Israel began in 1973, when she was part of a Baltimore Hebrew College program for high school students to study Hebrew and travel the country. “It was a really wonderful program and had a huge impact on me,” she said. Richman Neumann has since visited Israel four times and has been a part of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for more than 10 years.
She and Jerry moved to West Windsor in 1986 and joined The Jewish Center, where Richman Neumann is a trustee on the board and has served on committees relating to affiliation, rabbi and cantor reviews, and keruv. The couple also became involved with the Young Leadership division of Federation, which, she said, “was a great connection into the broader community.” She also learned to read Torah in time for her son Daniel’s bar mitzvah.
A past board member of the Federation Women’s Division, Richman Neumann was instrumental in developing the Women’s Philanthropy Cocktails and Conversation program for professional women. Federation connected her with Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS), where she is wrapping up her 10th year on the board.
“Through my involvement with JFCS, I’ve learned that there are Jews right here in our community that have needs,” she said. “Fund-raising isn’t only for someone in Israel, Ethiopia, or Europe; it’s close to home, as well.”
She maintains her family connections; she’s one of the organizers of the quadrennial family reunion of the 400 living descendants of her great-great-grandparents, Zelig and Goldie Milkowitz from Starobin, Russia (now Belarus). The next reunion is slated for August.
Richman Neumann graduated from Bryn Mawr College and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Her first job was assistant commissioner in the New York City Department of Finance, and since then she has worked at Moody’s Investors Service in New York City, where she is now senior vice president in the public finance group.
Jerry is an attorney specializing in trusts. Daniel, now 28, is in commercial real estate finance with a New York firm, and her other son, Benjamin, 25, works for a management company in Beverly Hills that represents screenwriters and directors.