Jan 15, 2021
Remembering the 35 brave soldiers known as Israel's Lamed Heh
By Shani Simkowitz
Jan 29, 2021
Why I dedicated my life to Israel even before I visited it
By Deb Rochford
Feb 12, 2021
The magic chair
By Gaylee Schif
May 17, 2016 By Jewish National Fund Category: Special Needs,
Power of Women spotlight on Nina Paul: 'Together we can create miracles'
Did you grow up with involvement in Jewish life/organizations?
I grew up in a very Conservative Jewish home. I was active in my Hebrew school and Sunday school. While in high school, I was fortunate enough to attend Camp Ramah in Ojai, California, for two months after ninth grade. Following that experience, I enrolled in the Los Angeles Hebrew High School, an after-school program, raised the most money for a Walk for Israel on Independence Day, and went to Israel the following summer with the Los Angeles Hebrew High School for an intense 10-week program of study, work and touring.
I fell in love with the country and its people. When I returned home, I began working to save up enough money to return the following summer. I went with a small group to volunteer on a kibbutz for a month and backpack throughout Israel for the second month -- at 16! When I returned home, I became an advisor and then a director of USY at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Los Angeles.
Nina and Eddie Paul at Aleh Negev.
What does the idea of 'girl power' mean to you?
As a woman entrepreneur for 30 years, I know firsthand the power of women, especially as it was a man's world when I started. It is our passion and need to succeed that has created the largest philanthropic group in the country. There is a natural bond among women and together we can create miracles.
If you could teach one lesson to the next generation about being a woman involved in the Jewish community, what would it be?
I believe that I have taught my children, through being a role model, that we must think
Nina at Aleh Negev.
Do you think women's giving differs from that of men? If so, why?
I believe that women give to a cause where they can actually see the difference they make in the quality of life of others. Most men tend to give because someone has asked them to.
Is there an area of JNF that touches your heart more than another?
Back in 2004, I brought the area of disabilities to JNF. Through a local Cincinnati foundation passionate about inclusion, we were able to create, together with JNF, the Manual and Rhonda Mayerson Inclusive Park project. All parks from that time forward were, and are, built with inclusiveness as the top priority. Other parks are being retrofitted as money allows.
Through establishing our first prototype park in the Jezreel Valley, Nahal Hashofet, I met Amos, who introduced me to Lotem, a nature reserve next door to our first inclusive park. Lotem offers programs in nature for all people with disabilities. Recently it has established a program for abused women who live with their children in 13 shelters throughout Israel, allowing them to enjoy a day in nature, free from fear and abuse, building up their trust and self confidence and helping them to repair the parent child relationships as well.
Grofit, a therapeutic horseback riding program enhances the lives of so many people with disabilities.
Aleh Negev, a state-of-the-art residential and outpatient rehabilitative facility in the Negev, that helps the most severely disabled individuals from birth to death, is another JNF partner where women have made a tremendous difference. I had a son, Max, who recently passed away at age 21, from complications of a brain tumor resected 13 and a half years ago. We needed to send our child, at age 9, to a residential rehabilitative facility as there was nothing here in Cincinnati. He was at three different facilities throughout the country and nothing compared to Aleh Negev!