Categories: Cori Wilbur, THE BUZZ

THE BUZZ: The Jewish Federation of San Diego County: A Local Nexus with Global Impact

By Cori Wilbur
January 27,2019

Comedy writer and philanthropist Carol Leifer

Over the course of my own “Jewish journey” I have learned that being a Jew is what you make of it. Instead of looking for ways to exclude myself from the Jewish population as I once did–improper lineage, a lack of a Sunday School experience, opting out a Birthright trip–adult me has decided to embrace my own level of kosher-ness. 

An essential part of the Jewish experience is the existence of community. And that community looks for ways to continuously expand itself. The Jewish Federation of San Diego County aims to provide a local nexus with global impact. The Federation offers a spectrum of events and opportunities throughout the year which allow San Diego Jewish people to network and develop a sense of identity within the community.

One such event, taking place this year on February 2, is OPTIONS, the Federation’s annual women’s event which brings together more than 600 women and a keynote speaker. This year’s strong female lead is comedy writer and philanthropist Carol Leifer.

Whether you are practicing, non-practicing, kosher, consume bacon most Saturdays, young or old, the OPTIONS event is a way for any woman who identifies (or maybe even struggles to identify) as a member of the greater Jewish community to connect (or reconnect) to it. The San Diego Jewish populace, as a whole, is one of particular welcomeness and inclusivity, which the Federation aims at celebrating with this event. 

Ms. Leifer has made a name for herself within the entertainment industry, gaining notoriety for her contributions to critically lauded shows, including Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live, and documenting her life’s experiences through best-selling novels. Her talk at the OPTIONS event is sure to amuse as well as inspire.

“There are a multitude of ways to get involved Jewishly in our community,” Jodie Graber, Federation’s Senior Director of Development, said. “Everything from the speakers to a chance meeting with an attendee [of an event such as OPTIONS] can provide someone with new knowledge and make a difference in their life.”

Graber is also on the Board of Trustees for Diversionary Theatre, the third oldest LGBT theater of the San Diego area. “We have a rich tapestry of arts and Jewishness in [San Diego],” she commented. In fact, the local arts and Jewish circles are incredibly similar–vast, inclusive and tight-knit. 

Along with bringing together women within the San Diego Jewish collective, OPTIONS is also geared toward enlightening its attendees about opportunities to get involved on an international scale. The event will be held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and begin at 10 a.m. this Sunday.

A sense of belonging is a necessity–no matter what religious faction, group or entity you identify with. The best ideas and solutions are born out of collaboration. Especially as women, Jewish and gentile alike, there is strength in unity. 

For further details about the OPTIONS event, as well as more information about the Jewish Federation of San Diego County and other upcoming events, please visit

Vanguard Culture

Vanguard Culture is an online media entity designed for culturally savvy, socially conscious individuals. We provide original interviews and reviews of the people, places, and events that make up San Diego’s thriving arts and culture community, as well as curated snapshots of the week’s best, most inspiring and unique cultural and culinary events. We believe in making a difference in the world, supporting San Diego’s vibrant visual and performing arts community and bringing awareness to important social and community causes.