A Commitment to Jewish Community — Now and Forever

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, Bonnie Friedman watched her parents devote their time, energy, and philanthropy to all things Jewish.  
Her father, Henry Yaschik (z”l) served as Campaign Chair of the local Jewish federation and led the drive for Israel Bonds. Her mother, Sylvia Yaschik (z”l), was president of Hadassah.  
The family belonged to an Orthodox synagogue, and together, Henry and Sylvia founded the Jewish Studies program at the nearby College of Charleston. Today, the program — along with the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina — is housed in the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center. 
“I was so lucky to come from this kind of background,” says Bonnie. “Both of my parents grew up very poor, and when they were able, they chose to give back Jewishly. They taught me about tikkun olam (repairing the world) and to think about the idea that if we don’t do it, then who will? I learned that you don’t have to do the whole thing — but you have to do something.” 
As she started her own family, Bonnie kept the Jewish values from her childhood close. She and her husband, Richard, settled in Hingham, where they lived for 40 years before moving to Brookline. In the 1980s, friends introduced Bonnie and Richard to CJP; the couple began attending events and supporting the organization philanthropically. Bonnie and Richard each traveled to Israel on a CJP mission. 
Bonnie took on leadership roles within Women’s Philanthropy, and eventually joined the Lion of Judah Society, a national giving society that recognizes women who make a gift of $5,000 or more each year to CJP’s Annual Campaign. 
In 2021, Bonnie established a Lion of Judah Endowment (LOJE) fund, which will continue her gift at the Lion of Judah level past her lifetime. Bonnie’s LOJE both pays tribute to her childhood and connects her to a global community of women who share her commitment to a vibrant Jewish future. 
“I hope I have 120 more years left to give but it’s going to come to an end sometime, so it was important to me that my gift keeps on giving,” she says. “I hope that CJP will forever be able to keep funding all their programs and partners, being inclusive, supporting Jews in Boston and Israel, and growing and innovating.” 
Inspiring the next generation 
Following in the footsteps of her parents, Bonnie knew that she wanted to pass down her love for Jewish life and community to the next generation through her sons, Michael and Andrew.

Michael and his wife, Deena, live in Brookline with their 15-year-old twins, Daniel and Sophie, and Andrew and his wife, Elizabeth, live outside of Washington, D.C. with their kids, Will, 8, and Abby, 7.

“Your children see what you do, and they follow,” says Bonnie.

Deena Friedman agrees. Rooted in her own strong Jewish upbringing as a Rabbi’s daughter — and inspired by the example of her in-laws — Deena connected with CJP shortly after she and Michael moved to Boston in 2005. 
“Growing up, I learned how important it was for the Jews to always support each other,” says Deena. “Once I met Michael, I saw how involved Bonnie and Richard were in CJP, and I wanted even more to give and be part of the Jewish community.” 
In 2015, Deena became a Lion of Judah. For the past three years, she’s served on CJP’s Community Impact Grants Committee, volunteering her time to help CJP distribute grant funding to Jewish organizations that strengthen the community and shape the future.  
In her own home, Deena says she and Michael engage their children in conversations about giving back and helping those less fortunate. Each week, Daniel and Sophie give some of their allowance money to tzedakah (charity), and the family regularly volunteers with Cradles to Crayons.  
“Michael and I talk about some of our philanthropic activities and my kids see me reviewing grant applications for CJP,” Deena says. “We always reinforce that when we have opportunities to give — items, money, or time — we give. It’s important that your kids see you put those words and values into action.” 
Leading the way 
Bonnie says that she and Richard are proud to have inspired their children — and even prouder that their children have inspired their own children — to continue the family’s legacy of philanthropy. 
“We need to lead the way and set the example,” she says. “It goes back to the old saying, ‘We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.’ For me, Judaism is a way of living your life, and I am so glad we’ve helped our family and others to keep that going.” 
Just as her in-laws did, Deena says that one day, she and Michael hope to make their own legacy gift to forever strengthen Jewish life. 
“We want to be there for the Jewish community as much as we can,” she says. “The beauty of giving through CJP is that we can support both Boston and Israel. It’s our responsibility and our privilege to show up and help.”