We at GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students have always thought of our Executive Director, Mindy Binderman, as a “shero.” So, it was a treat to see her recognized as such by the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women on April 29th. Mindy was celebrated along with three other honorees at the NCJW’s 3rd annual Women Who Dare luncheon on April 29th.
Like Mindy, the NCJW is all about Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew term that means “repairing the world.” Mindy’s fellow honorees are doing so in a variety of exciting ways:
- Linda Davis is the executive committee chair of the Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta, which uses grants, education, and advocacy to promote social change and create opportunities for Jewish women and girls.
- Jenny Levison, of Souper Jenny fame, is also the founder of The Zadie Project, which fights food insecurity by making and distributing soup to families and seniors, as well as educating the community about urban gardening.
- Rebecca Stapel-Wax is executive director of Sojourn, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender & Sexual Diversity, which uses education, outreach, and advocacy to empower Southern communities to advance and celebrate gender and sexual diversity.
But back to Mindy! The program for the luncheon at City Springs said this about her: “Mindy dared to advocate for and elevate the voices of those who have traditionally been left out of policy conversations.”
A moving video tribute touched on the experiences and values that led her to this mission.
“My whole career,” she observed matter-of-factly, “has been about improving the lives of women, children, and families. I’ve worked on issues of reproductive choice, of domestic violence, and today, I work on issues of child care so that women can go to work, and kids can learn and be engaged and have optimal brain development while their parents are working.
Judaism and Zionism, she noted, are woven into all aspects of her life, from her career and family choices to “how I relate to other people in the world based on Jewish ethics and values.”
So, of course, Mindy gave shout-outs to her family, almost all of whom attended the luncheon, her GEEARS family, and her own shero, Sherry Frank, a longtime powerhouse in the Atlanta Jewish community who’s currently co-president of NCJW’s Atlanta section.
The video ended with Mindy vamping it up in a red cape. Because as every Jewish hero knows, a little humor helps when you’re trying to save the world.
Each of the four honorees was awarded a cobalt blue Miriam’s Cup, a fittingly feminist companion to the Cup of Elijah for the modern Passover table.
The GEEARS staffers in attendance were struck by this part of Mindy’s video:
“I’m hoping a shero is a mentor,” she said. “Someone who helps the next generation of women achieve whatever they want to be and helps lift them up. Someone who can inspire, support, mentor, and set an example for other women.”
We’d say Mindy’s mission is already accomplished, except we know our director considers herself far from finished in her work as a mentor, advocate, leader and so much more. She’s a shero indeed.