Laurie Wax has been appointed as the next President of the Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, succeeding Beth Kushnick. Wax has been actively involved in Women’s Philanthropy and served on its board. She expressed her desire to continue the work of involving new members, following the example set by Beth Kushnick.
Wax and her husband, Robby, who is the president of the Jewish Federation, moved to the Lehigh Valley in 2002. They were already familiar with the area, as they had attended Jewish Federation events and listened to speakers in Allentown while Robby was a law student. Upon settling in the area, they enrolled their son Ben in the JCC early childhood education program, and Laurie joined the ECE committee to get involved. Four years later, their son Danny was born and he followed in his brother’s footsteps.
Inspired by her in-laws, Stan z”l and Vicki Wax, who were dedicated volunteers, Laurie Wax took on various volunteer roles over the years. She served on numerous committees and held positions such as Chair of the Lion of Judah and Pomegranate divisions within the Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy. Additionally, Wax was a board member at Temple Beth El and served as president of the TBE Sisterhood for several years. She emphasized the importance of volunteers in the success of Jewish organizations.
Wax has worked closely with her good friends and Women’s Philanthropy past presidents, Beth Kushnick and Dr. Carol Bub Fromer, throughout her involvement. Her personal goal as the President of Women’s Philanthropy is to continue working with veteran members who understand the significance of giving their time and support. Wax acknowledges her in-laws, Stan z”l and Vicki Wax for leading by example. “I knew I had to follow their lead because without volunteers, our Jewish organizations would not thrive as they do,” she said. As her mentor, Laurie credits Vicki for teaching her the values of giving back to Jewish organizations and “what it means to think with a Jewish heart”. “She always said it is our job to continue in the footsteps of those who came before us. Vicki did so and more when she moved here and I intend to continue that.”
The primary goal of the Jewish Federation is to raise funds supporting organizations that care for people locally, in Israel, and worldwide. Wax aims to recruit new members to Women’s Philanthropy and to educate individuals about the importance of the Jewish Federation. She emphasized that the funds raised are not for personal gain but to benefit the community and less fortunate Jewish individuals worldwide.
The Lehigh Valley’s Jewish community directly benefits from the fundraising efforts of Women’s Philanthropy. Organizations such as the JCC, Jewish Day School, Jewish Family Service, synagogues, Hillels, and camp scholarships receive allocations from the Federation. Wax stressed that without these allocations, the Jewish community in the Lehigh Valley would not thrive.
Women’s Philanthropy played a critical role in the Federation’s 2023 Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs, raising $750,000, which accounted for more than one-third of the total campaign. Wax expressed her hope that others would join her in the upcoming year to ensure the strength and vitality of the Jewish community and its agencies.