By Kathy Carlson
Three days after Jennifer Reiner moved to Nashville from Chicago, she found herself volunteering to help with the upcoming Girls Night Out event for women’s philanthropy, produced by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
“I was so happy to be going to a place where I could meet new people,” the first-grade teacher said. “They were all so welcoming, warm and friendly. They made the big change feel so nice.”
The event, titled Sole to Soul, takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. It starts with drinks and tapas and the featured speaker is Jane Weitzman, former executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman and the first vice president of Stuart Weitzman Retail. Weitzman, along with local women, will talk about how they became involved in philanthropy. The event is open to all women, and an invitation is included with this month’s Observer.
Event volunteer Reiner has worked within the Jewish community back in Chicago. She moved here to be closer to her boyfriend, Jay Lefkovitz, who is a part of the Jewish community here. And two of her closest friends, Carolyn Hecklin Hyatt and Lindsey Mossman, either live or have lived in Nashville. She got to know them when they were kids attending Camp Birch Trail in Wisconsin.
Hyatt was the one who told Reiner about Girls Night Out. Reiner is helping to come up with activities to get attendees involved when they first come to the event.
She looks forward to the Girls Night Out event and to hearing speaker Jane Weitzman talk about how she became active in Jewish women’s philanthropy. “I just think it will be a great time to meet new people,” Reiner said. GNO will be a cross-generational event, and “it will be really nice to see all the generations of Jewish women coming together and supporting a cause.”
“I came from a huge Jewish community in Chicago. You didn’t have to seek out” other Jewish people. Volunteering with the Girls Night Out “really made me feel connected to the Jewish community. It made me comfortable and (felt) like home.” Back in Chicago, she was active in the young leadership division of its Jewish federation.
She said she’s amazed at the strength of the small Jewish community in Nashville. People need to make the effort to become involved in a smaller community, but there are plenty of activities to meet people’s different interests, she says. “It just feels so comforting to be in a situation that feels like home.” •