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  • JCRC and MAJF to Honor Women in Leadership at State House Reception

    (Boston, MA) – The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC) and the Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations (MAJF) will honor Women in Leadership at the 19th Annual Legislative Reception on Thursday, February 25 at the Massachusetts State House.  To RSVP and for sponsorship/advertising opportunities, visit

    “We are so proud to be honoring these women leaders who have worked tirelessly to promote not only issues of gender parity, but also a wide range of priorities to support social services and increase opportunities for all people,” said Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of JCRC. “This year’s honorees set the bar high with their steadfast commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive society.”

    The Legislative Reception celebrates the contributions of our partners in government, advocacy and the community. Awardees are chosen based on their leadership and contributions to our shared priorities.

    “We are pleased to recognize those who serve as role models of women’s achievement and who have championed policies to support gender equity,” said Reception Chairs Jesse Mermell and Fredie Kay.

    Sponsors for this year’s event are Paul & Ashley Bernon and Related Beal.

    This year’s honorees are:

    Excellence in Leadership Award 

    • Deb Goldberg, MA State Treasurer

    Legislative Leadership Award

    • Senator Karen Spilka, 2nd Middlesex & Norfolk district; Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee
    • Representative Patricia A. Haddad, Fifth Bristol, Speaker pro Tempore

    Excellence in Advocacy Award

    • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, White House Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel

    Honorees quotes:

    “I am delighted to be honored by the JCRC and MAJF with their Excellence in Leadership Award,” said Treasurer Deb Goldberg. “As Treasurer, I work every day to develop policies that promote social justice, equality, and opportunity for all.”

    “I am proud to work with JCRC to advocate on behalf of people across Massachusetts who often do not have a strong voice,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka. “We have made terrific progress on equality and opportunity for women, but we have more work to do to break down barriers and ensure fairness in our communities.”

    “With leadership comes the responsibility to not only help to make good things happen for the common good, but to also prevent bad things from happening,” said Representative Patricia Haddad. “It is also about helping others to find their voice. I am honored to receive this recognition from JCRC.”

    “I am deeply touched to be recognized by the JCRC and MAJF,” said Raffi Freedman-Gurspan. “As a Jewish woman, it is an honor to be recognized by my community for work in Massachusetts and nationally on behalf of women and LGBTQ people, especially transgender people. I am proud to be a voice for these communities at the White House.”

    Honoree Bios:

    State Treasurer Deb Goldberg

    Treasurer Deborah B. GoldbergCurrently in her first term as State Treasurer, Deb previously served for six years on the Brookline Board of Selectmen including two years as Chairwoman. Prior to her career in public service, Deb worked in retail operations, buying and consumer affairs at The Stop & Shop Companies, Inc., a business her family grew from a small grocery store in the North End into a $1.2 billion New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) company with 50,000 employees.

    Deb has worked with numerous non-profit initiatives that have empowered women, children and families. She has leveraged public-private partnerships to offer creative, high-impact policy solutions to combat societal inequity. She is the President of Adoptions with Love, a non-profit adoption agency, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Greater Boston Food Bank. Deb was one of the Founders of Berkshire Hills Music Academy, a school for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and has been the Senate President’s appointee to the Commonwealth Covenant Fund in the Treasurer’s office since its inception.

    Senator Karen E. Spilka, 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk District

    Sen. Spilka Headshot 2013Senator Karen Spilka was elected to the State Senate in 2005 where she currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means overseeing the budget and finances of the Commonwealth. Previously she served notably as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and Joint Committee on Children Family and Persons with Disabilities. Senator Spilka strongly supports JCRC’s legislative agenda by promoting economic opportunity, inclusion for people with disabilities and independence for seniors.

    Representative Patricia A. Haddad, 5th Bristol

    Picture 001State Representative Patricia Haddad has been a member of the House since 2000 and currently serves as Speaker Pro Tempore. Representative Haddad is a prominent member of Speaker DeLeo’s leadership team, is a leader on women’s issues and a tremendous ally to JCRC. She has filed legislation to increase gender parity on corporate boards, enhance treatment for mental health patients, and improve special education.

    Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel

    Raffi FGRaffi Freedman-Gurspan is an Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel at the White House. She is the first staff member and appointee in the Obama White House who is openly transgender. Before working at the White House, Raffi worked as a Policy Advisor at the National Center for Transgender Equality, where she coordinated the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative, focusing on social policy priorities for transgender people of color and those living in poverty.

    Prior to moving to Washington, DC, Raffi worked for three years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Legislative Director for former state representative Carl Sciortino. She was the first openly transgender legislative staffer to work in the Massachusetts State House, and she played an instrumental role in helping pass the 2011 Massachusetts transgender civil rights bill through the legislature.

    Raffi was adopted as an infant from Intibucá, Honduras, and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. Her birth family is indigenous Lenca and her adoptive family is American Jewish. She simultaneously identifies as an indigenous Central American, a Latina, and as an American Jew.


    About Jewish Community Relations Council

    JCRC defines and advances the values, interests and priorities of the organized Jewish community in greater Boston in the public square. Visit us at

    About The Massachusetts Association of Jewish Federations

    MAJF is a statewide government affairs office that works to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community and elected officials.

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