SPOTLIGHT ON: Ronda Machlovitz and Patti Samuels
Ronda Machlovitz and Patti Samuels accompanied the JWI/JWRP MOMentum Israel Trip participants as Madrichot/peer leaders in October, 2018. They did a spectacular job coalescing the group before the trip, stewarding the women on the trip and continue to lead after the trip. We asked Patti and Ronda to share what the whole experience has meant to them.
How has your experience with the JWI helped you to see your leadership potential?
Patti: My experience with JWI helped me realize the positive impact I can have on others by stepping up and accepting a leadership position. I was not prepared, however, for the personal growth I would undergo. The opportunity to give back to JWI and help others was far more enriching than I would have imagined. It helped me grow as a person and helped me to realize how capable I am to be a leader.
Ronda: My experience with the JWI has helped me to see my leadership potential by focusing on building relationships with people I did not know before. I have been inspired by JWI to better myself and in turn, help to motivate others.
How has your involvement with JWI impacted you and your family’s Jewish connection?
Patti: My involvement with JWI has really helped me and my family internalize the beauty of Shabbat. Since I’ve become involved, we light the candles, say the kiddush and the motzi together each Friday night. It’s such a special time to reconnect with my family, give them hugs, tell them I love them and share a Sabbath meal together.
Ronda: My involvement has impacted my family in a number of different ways. Since coming back from my first trip to Israel, my family has consistently celebrated Shabbat either at home or in the community amongst friends. My life changing trip in Israel also inspired my husband to not only go on the Men’s trip but also gain a closer connection to Jewish life. Our children have connected more to Jewish life by committing to turning off electronics on Shabbat.
Please tell us about your experience as a Madricha on the JWRP Momentum Israel trip with JWI/Aish.
Patti: Being a Madricha was an honor that was both extremely rewarding and fun! The women on our trip were truly exceptional and it was such a pleasure to be there alongside them as they experienced Israel and the JWRP Momentum curriculum. I experienced Israel differently because It wasn’t about me. Israel is not a place of rights, it is a place of responsibilities and I feel that my role on this trip helped me connect deeper to Israel’s culture and that sense of responsibility.
Ronda: My experience as a Madricha was beyond description. It allowed me to gain many new friends. I enjoyed planning events and social get-togethers. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction watching the women enjoy the events we planned. Being a Madricha allowed me to see Israel through the eyes of some of the women who had never been there before. I enjoyed the lectures and found the conversations on the bus rides, and walking through the streets, very meaningful and inspiring.
What other types of leadership/volunteer roles have you undertaken?
Patti: I am currently the President of Women of Aliyah, at Temple Aliyah, and Financial Secretary of University Women at the American Jewish University. I have volunteered at my son’s schools for many years, including being the VP of Fundraising and Recording Secretary for the Parent Faculty Club, being a committee member for the LVUSD school district and being on the board for the CHS Music Boosters.
Ronda: I have been integrally involved with my children’s school. In the past I served as the Parent Teacher Organization Vice President and have volunteered to run hot lunch programs. I have been the chairperson of many successful events. I was involved with the Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy Council.
What message do you have for women who are hesitant about stepping up into leadership roles?
Patti: It’s amazing how rewarding and fulfilling the experience can be. I stepped up to help and support this organization, but I never realized how much it was going to impact me as an individual. The opportunity to take on a leadership role gave me a chance to learn and grow as a mother, leader, friend and a member of the Jewish community.
Ronda: Having been in a JWI leadership role enables me to see what a wonderful experience it can be. I would impress upon anyone who is hesitant to try to look at the opportunity as a way to grow, learn and give back. The experience can be very rewarding and fulfilling.