Tonight I was one of less than four men in the room. I questioned whether I should even attend this women-centric event, despite having a role in planning it. But I decided it was my duty to attend the manifestation of this multi-month endeavor. Oh boy, am I glad I did.
I was strongly humbled by the shine of our community women’s valor. In collaboration with so many others, we ran a panel of our community’s finest, our women. Each and every member of the panel presented nothing short of determination, perseverance, and grit. The elements of drive, sacrifice, and hustle were plentiful throughout everyone’s stories and struggles. I was left in sheer admiration.
Titled “Women in Medicine,” we ran a panel of women involved in the medical field focused on giving aspiring medical professionals a glimpse of what life is like on the other side of medical education and training. Not only did that happen, but something else did. I found myself in the presence of women who not only deserve my reverence as anyone does, but deserve my honor for taking on more of a role than they “have to.”
As anyone who’s planned events before would know, tension builds up that attendance may be lacking at an event you planned so much, and worked so hard for. We pleasantly found ourselves pulling out all the extra chairs the facility had hoping we had enough. Approximately 71 young ladies made it their business to be there. Every single panelist was able to relate to the attendees in an intimate way, that only a fellow community member can tap into. A priceless feat.
I’ve written in the past about our community women. I respect our women vastly in their commitment in building a home, based on tradition, Torah and community values. To me it is beyond impressive that in their young ages all women that participated in the panel were married with children. Yet, these women choose to take on the role of household mother while marching down the track of medicine.
The panel went into talks about how they dealt with community pressures of dating, socializing, and having children “while the clock is ticking.” What I’ll call the “ticking clock mentality” is nothing novel. But the fascination and admiration came out in how these women addressed that mentality. By no means were their stories easy. By no measures were their sacrifices small. By no means could anyone not be moved by their stories.
The energy in the room was vibrant. Each of the accomplished panelists emitted an energy of hope and empowerment to the thirsty minds in the audience. But the panelists’ struggles were not underplayed. Missed family affairs, working overnight shifts, social life hardships all played a role here. Yet each and every woman on this panel still served as the household CEO. Each and every panelist was not only the mother of their children in definition, but in action. Each and every panelist cared and willed with all their being to have a thriving, respectable and dedicated career as well as an equally important home. No panelist was going to let anything get in the way, and none showed any signs of slowing down.
As a community man, I felt particularly proud. I felt proud that our community women are strong enough to endure the monumental duties of running a home as well as climbing a professional life in medicine. I felt proud that current female medical students have more mentor options then when the panelists were in medical school. I felt proud that panelists and attendees networked for hours after the panel finished. I felt even more proud that I can say, this is my community.