International Dinner

Temple Concord hosted us on May 6, 2012, as nearly 200 women came for a festive night to talk about difference, celebrate diversity, and feast on international foods. Many of our members artistically designed the table settings, each one unique. Others brought or cooked the delicious vegetarian meal.

Find a passion you love, figure out what you want to change in the world, and marry the two things together – that’s the way to live your legacy now! So said Barbara Greenspan Shaiman before about 200 women attending the WTB’s 5th International Dinner.

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The international buffet with all home-cooked foods was fabulous, ranging from mouth-watering chicken (certified as both halal [Muslim] and kosher [Jewish]), to roasted root vegetables, to fresh springtime greens, to bean casseroles spiced with the flavors of India, to Greek-inspired spanakopita and couscous salad, to baklava and other desserts made by our Turkish sisters.

Twenty-one tables, each with a hostess and unique centerpiece and table setting – some with peace cranes, others with bright colors and flowers – symbolized the diversity and the warm, welcoming spirit of Women Transcending Boundaries. Women new to our community – refugees from Bhutan who are involved in WTB’s sewing and ceramics projects – displayed and sold handmade aprons and knitted items, pottery, and jewelry.

“If I had to tell you one thing I’ve learned in my life,” reflected Shaiman, “it’s that when life is hard, you need to get out of your own pain and reach out to others.” She wove family stories into her presentation, encouraging all of us to go out and change the world. Her parents, Holocaust survivors, were great role models of that, she explained. “Doing good for the world isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s a responsibility,” said Shaiman, who currently resides in Philadelphia and once lived in Syracuse.

An entrepreneur, she went from being a teacher, to promoting ice cream to supermarket chains, to starting a job placement business. She then found her true passion: helping young people in Philadelphia schools learn to establish cultures of caring through a nonprofit she founded, Champions of Caring. This nonprofit has since expanded from the U.S. to South Africa.