Benefits of Giving 2017-09-11T13:27:38+00:00

Is there someone in your life who taught you to give?

Honoring Josephine Cohen, the woman whose life and conviction inspired us.


  1. Locate a photo of your honoree. Scan or take a photo of your photo with an IPhone. (If you don’t know how to do this, ask your children or grandchildren).
  2. Write your tribute which consists of:
    • A headline of 25 characters or less
    • A short description of the person who inspired you to give not to exceed 40 words.
    • Your name(s)
  3. Place your words of tribute in an email and along with your name, email and phone # and attach your image as a jpg.
  4. CLICK HERE to send electronically.

Tributes must be received by Oct. 20, 2017.

Tributes will consist of a 2 inch square photo of your special person plus your accolade (a maximum of 40 words): $100


Throughout our 10th Anniversary, JWT honors JOSEPHINE COHEN,
who inspires all of us and gives us “A Chance to Say Yes”

Josephine’s philosophy of life was “you don’t ask, you don’t get.  You have to give people a chance to say “yes.”

“I utterly admired my mother.  Despite losing everything to Hitler, she believed in life and love…”

— Olivia Cohen

At age 18, Josephine Von Berkendorf escaped from Vienna as Hitler began his horrors.  Her 13-year old brother Adelbert was sent to England with Kinder Transport. As he left for safety, Josephine’s mother told her to, “Find him and take care of him.” This was perhaps the first time Josephine was asked to act selflessly. It was not the last.

Shortly thereafter, Josephine began a long and solo journey to America.  She travelled through Siberia, took a freighter from Kyoto to Honolulu, landed in San Francisco, and then boarded a train for a trip across the United States to Boston.  Fortunately, a Jewish charity organization had arranged for her to live with an observant Jewish family who had offered to share their home.

She spoke no English and had only $3.60 in her pocket – the amount Jews were allowed to take when they left Austria.  She also had two gold bracelets, which she sold link by link to live.  She worked in a factory making artificial flowers.  She saved her money to bring her mother to America, but she had already been sent to Auschwitz.

Josephine met her husband in 1942 and together, they opened a gift shop.  She honored her promise to locate her brother with the help of the Red Cross. In 1947, she found her brother and arranged his move to the US in 1950. She had her first child, Olivia, at age 34. While working side-by-side with her husband, she found time to cook, bake, clean and do charitable work.  She made sure that students at a local university would always have a seder to attend when they were far from home.

As a Holocaust survivor, she was alone in a new world.  Jewish organizations provided her with a circle of American friends. Despite losing everything to Hitler, she believed in life and love. She would use the rotary phone in her front hall to ask people to donate to Jewish causes. She held rummage sales and always found a dollar for any Jewish purpose.  She gave the gift of her time and the gift of herself.

Josephine’s philosophy of life was “you don’t ask, you don’t get.  You have to give people a chance to say “yes.”

Josephine’s daughter Olivia, a JWT board member, remembers her mom this way, “I utterly admired my mother.  Despite losing everything to Hitler, she believed in life and love.  She overcame her despair and her fear, and built a new life without forgetting her past and honoring her family.  She loved my father and me (her only child) without reservation or condition.  She believed in God, she believed in the United States of America, she believed in kindness and strength and the future.  Totally incredible, considering the devastation and loss in her past.  She never missed a chance to give to a Jewish organization, even though her family was of modest means.  She never missed a “Chance to Say Yes.”

This is your chance to say “yes.”   



Thank you for joining the many patrons who include JWT in their yearly giving.

Donor commits to a gift of $10,000 to commemorate JWT’s first decade! 

  • Two tickets to entire year of JWT & The Braid programming —
    shows, salons, workshops, classes, events, Shabbat, everything!
  • Signed print by JWT’s esteemed artist, Marilee Tolwin
  • Everything listed below

Donor commits to a gift of $5,000 to help underwrite the creation of Salon shows for the future.

  • Two subscriptions to the Salon Season on any night of your choice.
  • Everything listed below

Donor commits to a gift of $2,500 to help support shows and events this season.

  • Exclusive Special Donor Event
  • Everything listed below

Donor commits to a gift of $1,000 to help support the building of JWT’s future.

  • Listed on the Wall of Donors
  • Listed in Season Programs

Contact Us for more information!
If you wish to discuss the specifics of any gift, contact Susie Yuré by emailing or call 310.315.1400.

“Creating a legacy”
– Washington Post

JWT partners with

more than

50 community


reaching 12,000

patrons yearly.

“Changing perceptions…
In society.” – LA Times