“Unique” collaboration brings Delia Ephron to Westport

By Cindy Mindell

delia-ephron-040912WESTPORT – World-renowned writer Delia Ephron will share her wit and wisdom with Fairfield County women when she keynotes at the Annual Women’s Education Symposium on Wednesday, March 6 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. A bestselling author, screenwriter, and playwright, Ephron’s movies include “You’ve Got Mail” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” She writes novels for adults and teens and her writing appears in many major national publications. She collaborated with her late sister, Nora, on the play “Love, Loss, and What I Wore,” which ran on Broadway for two years and has been performed around the world.
West Hartford native Ethan Felson, vice president and general counsel of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), will discuss “Israel in the Eyes of America: What You Need to Know Now” at one of three break-out sessions following Ephron’s talk. JCPA is the public affairs arm of the organized American Jewish community, representing 14 national Jewish agencies and 125 local Jewish Community Relations Councils.
The symposium is the result of a unique partnership between JCC Greenwich, UJA Greenwich Women’s Philanthropy, UJA/Federation Westport Weston Wilton Norwalk (WWWN), and United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien. The event is the most recent example of the power of collaboration among Jewish organizations in Fairfield County, says Steven M. Friedlander, executive director of UJA/Federation WWWN.
“Our region has a long history of successful, collaborative Jewish women’s events,” he says. “There are two major positive elements in the education symposium: By opening it up to several Jewish federations, we bring together women with a common interest and commitment from all over Fairfield County to share the experience.”
In addition, the event provides a networking and community-building function, Friedlander says.
In addition to Ephron and Felson, the Symposium’s two other breakout sessions are:
•    “Jews, Jokes and Science: What Makes a Joke a Jewish Joke?” with Dr. Steven Gimbel, stand-up comic, author of Einstein’s Jewish Science, and distinguished professor of philosophy
at Gettysburg College
•    Screening of “Barriers” (Hasimot; Israel 2011), a documentary exploring the life-or-death dilemmas facing young Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the Palestinian territories, and winner of the Jerusalem International Film Festival 2011 Best Short Film prize. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Robert Abrams, director of Student Life at the Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford

Friedlander sees the March 6 event as launching a “new and exciting chapter” in collaborative programming in the area Jewish community.
“This kind of partnership promotes so much more synergy than if each Jewish Federation were limited to doing its own thing,” he says.
“In this way, we also are able to bring more resources to bear to accomplish our shared goals.”
The symposium is one of several collaborative events in the works, including a multi-federation Israel @65 celebration on May 26 in Westport.

The Annual Women’s Education Symposium will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 9:15 a.m. – 12 noon at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, 1800 East Putnam Ave., Old Greenwich. For more information call (203) 552-1818 or visit

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