Victoria Singer traces her devotion to giving her time, talents and money to the Jewish community to a pivotal experience she had as a young adult. After college graduation, she was accepted into Project Otzma, a year-long social service fellowship in Israel sponsored by Jewish Federation. “Not only did I come away with life-long friendships, but also a life-long commitment to serving the Jewish community,” says Singer. “I knew that one day I’d repay what the Federation gave me.”
Singer says Project Otzma was a fantastic experience, for her and the more than 100 other North Americans who traveled to Israel to serve impoverished communities, learn Hebrew, and hear speakers on the history, politics and culture of Judiasm, Israel and the Diaspora. The group spent time on a kibbutz, taught English in youth villages, learned what it was like to be in the Israel Defense Forces and spent time working in an Ethiopian absorption center. Singer is still in touch with the host family she stayed with and her fellow participants. “They are all making great contributions to their communities, are all involved Jewishly in some way, locally or on a larger scale, and are all making a difference,” says Singer.
Nearly 22 years after her participation in Project Otzma, Singer, who left a career as a development professional to be a stay-at-home mom to her two children with Dr. Barry Singer, says she is “honored” to be in a position to help in this community and work with other volunteers to help give back to the Jewish community in her adopted home of St. Louis. She volunteers for Federation, her temple and her children’s school. Singer just joined the board of the Jewish Light and formerly served on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
For eight years, Singer has served on the board and executive committee for Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and now is the incoming co-chair. “As a newcomer to St. Louis, Women’s Philanthropy has become an important part of my life,” Singer says. “I have met a diverse group of women who share similar values to me—volunteerism, family, and the Jewish community at large.” She also has found role models and mentors in the group. “There are so many incredible women who remain inspirations to me, including Lynn Palan, Jane Weiss, and Galia Movitz, just to name a few,” Singer says.
Singer’s devotion to giving of her time and talent also has roots in her upbringing. “My husband and I both come from very like-minded families who believed in generosity, giving to others, social justice, and a belief that if you can do you must do,” she says. It is important to her and her husband that her children see them living the example of giving their time as well as their money. “Your time is equally valuable—it’s giving of yourself,” says Singer. “All contributions should be honored, whether it be time, talent or resources—every volunteer should feel valued and honored.”