A Kind and Welcoming Heart Brings the Community Together

Varda Rabin, recipient of the 2018 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award

“Varda brings an unusual blend of vision and emotional intelligence to her commitment to building Jewish community. Her deep understanding of people – their needs and motivations – is what enables her to be so effective, both in inspiring them and in weaving them into community.” - Nominator

Varda Rabin

Those words spoken by Varda Rabin’s peer point out just a couple of many reasons she was selected amongst a handful of other worthy candidates to be the recipient of the 2018 Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award. For decades, Varda has dedicated herself to helping others on a deeper level. A marriage and family counselor, she is also as founder and educator at the California Graduate School of Family Therapy.

Two pages of nominations validate why Varda is richly deserving of this recognition, having been a Board member of the Federation, the Bureau of Jewish Education, and UC Berkeley Hillel. Varda is extremely hospitable, graciously hosting and participating in numerous events over the years, including the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lion of Judah Luncheon, and Panim el Panim. She pioneered and led the Irving Rabin Mission to Israel, a successful community building trip for leaders in the Jewish community to find common ground.

Israeli and Jewish cultures play a big part in Varda’s life. Constantly reaching out to other community members and encouraging them to get more involved in Jewish life, she has mentored many women, inspiring them to take on leadership roles and introducing Jewish practice into their homes.

Many of Varda’s friends and peers equate all her qualities with those that Judith Chapman z’l valued most in volunteer leadership. Varda has a passion for encouraging the discovery of Jewish identity, especially in younger individuals. From organizing trips to Israel to creating Jewish music tapes for children, to supporting a greater understanding of arts and culture, the common denominator for her is Jewish education.

Beyond all her contributions to the Jewish community, and another reason she is particularly deserving of this year’s award, one of the nominees wrote “Varda has one of the kindest, most expansive hearts.” Mazel tov, Varda, and here's to many more years of your inspiring dedication and impact.

The Judith Chapman Memorial Women’s Leadership Award is an award given in memory of Judith Chapman, who was a well-respected volunteer and member of the Jewish community. The recipients of this award should be a woman from the Federation’s service area who excels in volunteer leadership and holds a high regard for her personal meaning of tzedakah and her Jewish identity.

Categories: Awards, Community


June 01, 2018


Cathelin Blackett