If you sat down for a meeting with Susie Feldman today, you’d never know the hellish journey she’s traveled. The Jewish Federation’s Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Giving is a direct, confident, seasoned professional. She’s passionate and vocal about the importance of supporting the Jewish community, and she’s 100% committed to the work of the Jewish Federation and its partner agencies. And she speaks from experience.

As the guest on FedRadioDetroit’s February episode, Susie shares a story that’s not easy to hear and, unfortunately, one that other women in our community also could tell. For years, Susie was abused emotionally and physically by her ex-husband. She endured verbal assaults, horrific beatings and was controlled and manipulated to the point where she and her children were trapped. Until one evening when Susie made the choice to run.

With her three small children, her mother and just a few garbage bags full of clothes, Susie found herself in another state, safe — but in need. She recounts the agencies and organizations who helped them during that time, from the local synagogue and day school to Jewish Family Service and the JCC.  

When she returned to Detroit after almost a year in hiding, our community’s agencies were also at the ready, providing the support Susie and her kids needed to rebuild here at home.

In addition to her work in Federation’s Philanthropic Advancement department, Susie further supports the community by sharing her first-hand account of the impact that the Jewish community’s network of social service agencies has on so many.

“I do what I do because I know what our amazing community does, and I see what our Jewish Federation and its agencies do. We give people hope and dignity. We can lift them up from the depths of darkness and make them human and whole. I know this, because I lived this. It is my greatest honor and privilege to speak for those who don’t have a voice. This is the most rewarding feeling on earth.”

You can hear Susie’s story in its entirety in the latest episode of FedRadioDetroit here. FedRadioDetroit is Federation’s podcast series hosted by Sam Dubin and Beverly Liss and featuring big personalities from Jewish Detroit’s diverse cast of characters. Explore previous episodes and stay tuned for a new episode next month here.