Susan Monas was inspired by her daughter.
Shoshana Wineburg, the daughter in question, spent nine months on a service-learning project in Israel sponsored by the Israeli organization Yahel. Yahel places participants in Gedera, Israel, for nine months to live and work with its Ethiopian-immigrant population. Shoshana tutored English in the high school, helped start an after-school program for youth, and she tutored English to some adults to help their professional development.
Susan says that on the program, Shoshana “developed confidence, leadership skills,” learned about social justice, and acquired the “ability to love Israel and criticize Israel at the same time.”
Her family has “a long-standing relationship” with Israel, says Susan. Her husband travels there frequently for work and she often joins him. During one of those trips she was studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and struck up a conversation with Rabbi Gail Diamond, another Yahel board member. Rabbi Diamond invited Susan to join the board.
“I said ‘of course,’” Susan recalls, “because I believe in it.”
There’s a lot of work to be done in the relatively new organization.
“There’s board development work… marketing and [a] media presence” to establish and it’s much harder than being on the board of a more established organization, says Susan, a past president of Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle. Yahel’s board is also small and international, and she wishes there were more opportunities to meet face to face.
As an at-large member, “I do my little bit,” she says, mostly getting the word out about Yahel’s programs. Those now include spring break and summer service learning for college students. The programs are open to Jews “of all stripes,” from all over North America.
Meanwhile, Shoshana — a graduate of Stanford and the Pardes Institute — is back in Israel working for Yahel as co-facilitator of a six-week summer program for college students in Beer Sheva. Learning from her will be another Seattleite, Julia Snyder, a student at List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University.
Outside of Yahel, Susan is a licensed clinical social worker who enjoys gardening, reading and writing in her spare time. She recently completed a four-year Mussar training under the direction of Rabbi Ira Stone, formerly at Beth Shalom and a founder of the Mussar Leadership program, which brings ancient Jewish wisdom and tradition to character development and improvement.
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Oncologist Saul Rivkin, founder of the Marsha Rivkin Cancer Research Center, has been called “a tireless advocate for his patients” by those he has treated. (Photo courtesy Marsha Rivkin Center.)
One of Seattle’s best-known medical doctors, Saul Rivkin, will retire on July 1. Swedish Cancer Institute, the oncology arm of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, made the announcement. The77-year-old oncologist is best known for his committed, tenacious approach to fighting cancer and the personal connection he has established with the thousands of patients he has cared for over the years.
Saul’s wife, Marsha, died from ovarian cancer in 1993. Out of personal tragedy came a renewed commitment to cancer investigation and he founded the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, housed at Swedish–First Hill. Under his guidance, the center has become a leader of national and international efforts in all fields of ovarian cancer research.
“My life’s work has been committed to healing and helping people with cancer, and Swedish has supported me in every step,” says the father of five and grandfather of seven. “Finding a cure for ovarian cancer is my dream and I will continue to work toward that goal for as long as I am on this earth. I am forever grateful to those who have supported me on this journey.”
A graduate of University of Washington School of Medicine (1964), Saul joined Swedish in 1971 as one of the hospital’s first medical oncologists and became a leader in establishing clinical research at its cancer institute. He helped the institute get its first National Institutes of Health grant, which has provided 36 years of continuous funding. Saul has been recognized repeatedly for his landmark work in Adjuvant Treatment for early-stage breast cancer.
“While Dr. Rivkin may be retiring from Swedish, he will remain an essential part of the Rivkin Center team, providing critical guidance to everyone involved,” says Clint Burwell, executive director of the center.
The Rivkin Center is honoring Saul by creating the Saul Rivkin Innovation Fund and hopes to raise $1 million to support emerging research projects and develop opportunities that lie outside the scope of traditional grant-making programs.