NYT Best-Selling Author Headlines Inaugural Women for Israel Event in Chicago


CHICAGO, May 11, 2023 — A former editor for the Chicago Sun-Times and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Barr, who penned award-winning novels including Woman on Fire, The Unbreakables, and Fugitive Colors, was the keynote speaker at “Women on Fire,” Jewish National Fund-USA’s inaugural Women for Israel event in the region on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Chicago.


Robyn Schneider, Barbara Burry, Sandy Goldstein, Gaylee Schif, Cantor Laurie Akers, Lisa Barr, Jill Weininger, Ellen Spira Hattenbach, Sara King, Assaf Grumberg

Robyn Schneider, Barbara Burry, Sandy Goldstein, Gaylee Schif, Cantor Laurie Akers, Lisa Barr, Jill Weininger, Ellen Spira Hattenbach, Sara King, Assaf Grumberg


Barr herself has strong ties to the State of Israel. She first visited the country when she was 16 years old, and two of her children were born in Jerusalem during the five years she worked as a reporter and editor for The Jerusalem Post, the oldest and largest English-language daily newspaper in Israel and the most-read English news website in Israel and the Jewish world. Over 115 Chicago-area residents attended the event, where they learned about Barr’s experience as a journalist in Chicago and in Israel, and how Women on Fire —a gripping tale of a savvy, young journalist who gets embroiled in a major international art scandal centered around a Nazi-looted masterpiece — will soon be adapted into a film produced by and starring academy award nominee Sharon Stone.


Event Chair Sandy Goldstein


“What an honor it was to speak at Jewish National Fund-USA’s Women for Israel event, and to celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday,” said Barr. “It was so special to join Jill Weininger, Chair of the organization’s Illinois Board of Directors, in a fireside chat to discuss my Israel connection, bestselling novel, Nazi-looted art, and of course, why I gravitate toward creating strong, fiery women in my books. This event combined everything that matters to me.”


The event also featured Gaylee Schif, Director of LOTEM, Jewish National Fund-USA’s affiliate in Israel that makes nature accessible to all. At the luncheon, Schif discussed LOTEM’s Mother Nature program, which provides critical art therapy and other services to battered women. 


Marlene Garfield


“I’m excited to have joined Jewish National Fund-USA and local community members in support of this momentous milestone for the organization’s Women for Israel Giving Society that unites female philanthropists who, like me, share a passion for the land and people of Israel,” said Event Chair Sandy Goldstein. “Women for Israel has redefined female philanthropy and channeled the power of women, similar to our speaker, who has covered some of the most groundbreaking moments in American and Jewish history, among her many other notable accolades and accomplishments.”


LIsa Barr and Jill Weininger


Jewish National Fund-USA recognizes May as “Women’s Month” and celebrates the accomplishments of all the women who make a difference for the land and people of Israel.


For more information, contact Assaf Grumberg, JNF-USA Executive Director, Illinois at or 847.656.8880 x766.



Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

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About Jewish National Fund-USA

Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Learn more at