JWRP Sister Spotlight: Lisa Kodimer
Lisa Kodimer is a wife, mother, JWRP sister, and a co-founder of Connecting a Caring Community, a Los Angeles-based foundation, which seeks to inspire individuals to find ways to help others. A natural social entrepreneur, Lisa previously ran Good Deeds in Motion, an organization that taught children how to get involved in philanthropy. We spoke with Lisa about motivating others to make a difference and raising kind children.
Why did you decide to travel to Israel with the JWRP?
I learned about the MOMentum Trip in 2011. I remember telling my husband, “I’m going to Israel so that I can eat, pray, love.” After my trip, everything in my life improved. I found more meaning and purpose and welcomed more Judaism into my life. In 2013, my husband participated in a MoMENtum Trip, and then the whole family traveled to Israel to celebrate my son’s bar mitzvah in 2015. Just this past year, I returned to Israel as a madricha on a MOMentum Trip.
What inspired you to start Connecting a Caring Community?
I always wanted to give back in a big way. My son’s bar mitzvah project involved starting and running a special needs baseball program and basically turned into a full-time commitment. Then, someone from my community offered to help me create a foundation and expand my work. Connecting a Caring Community mobilizes the community to raise funds and provide relief to those in our community who need it the most. We realized that people want to be told what’s needed, and they want to get involved in making a difference.
Today, we run five programs that accomplish these goals, including a moms’ group where women encourage one another to discover their purpose through community service, a teen program where participants develop leadership skills and gain confidence while doing something good for others, and a program where youths with special needs socialize with typical teens.
From your experience, what is the best way to pass on to our children the value of giving back?
You need to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you don’t set the example, you can’t expect results. My kids have been raised in a home where we value charity and giving to others, and they have chosen to follow in that same path. It takes courage to be nice in the world, and thank G-d, we have raised mensches.
What advice would you give to other JWRP sisters who want to make a difference in their communities, but may not know where to start?
We lead such busy lives, but when we take the time to look around, we may find that the things that need to be fixed are right in front of us. Then, our work is cut out for us. After all, it’s up to us to make the world a better place for our children.