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August 24, 2018  RSS feed
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Monica Lewinsky to keynote Tampa event

Anti-bullying ambassador, social activist, and writer Monica Lewinsky, whose name will forever be linked to a White House scandal, will be keynote speaker at the 17th annual Franci Golman Rudolph Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood Star Event.

The Monday, Oct. 15 luncheon and presentation will take place at the Renaissance Hotel at Tampa’s International Plaza.

“At the Star Event, Monica plans to address such societal issues as survival, resilience, digital reputation, and equality – all issues being confronted today by women in the ‘Me Too’ movement,” said Star Event Chair Faith Alexander. “Her lens for these societal issues is based on her myriad unique and profound experiences in the White House, the Pentagon, and the investigation that resulted from her time in Washington, DC; as well as her involvement in media projects as both producer and subject; in education; and as an entrepreneur and designer,”

Lewinsky became known to the public in 1998, when it was revealed as part of a federal investigation that while a young White House intern and staffer she had an intimate relationship with then President Bill Clinton who publicly and derisively referred to her as “that woman.” Subsequently, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton, claiming he had given false testimony and allegedly influenced Lewinsky’s testimony. He was acquitted of the charges following a Senate trial.

Overnight, at just 24 years old, she went unwillingly from being a private individual to a public figure on the global stage. Being at the center of a legal, political and media maelstrom nearly destroyed her; her survival – despite the odds – is a compelling and inspiring story.

The investigation unfolded against a backdrop of a changing media landscape with the advent of both competing 24-hour news networks and the Internet.

In June 2014, after a decade-long, self-imposed retreat from public life, Lewinsky authored an essay, titled “Shame and Survival,” for Vanity Fair in which she overlapped personal experiences and cultural observations regarding the shift toward what Professor Nicolaus Mills calls, a “Culture of Humiliation” (June, 2014). In it, she wrote that after the story of her presidential affair broke, “I was arguably the most humiliated person in the world. Thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”

Later that year Lewinsky gave a speech about the Internet’s reputation shredder at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit from the perspective of what she termed “Patient Zero” – the first person to have her reputation completely destroyed online.

The acclaimed magazine piece, which received over 2 million views online and was nominated for a National Magazine Award, was an entry point for Lewinsky to begin a process that she describes as “taking back my narrative and giving a purpose to my past” while the well-received speech served as a catalyst for her present day speaking career.

Writing again in Vanity Fair earlier this year, Lewinsky reflected on 20 years since the Clinton scandal blew up her world. In the article, Lewinsky said she no longer feels alone and is re-examining her perspective on her own trauma, writing “I – we – owe a huge debt of gratitude to the #MeToo and Time’s Up heroines. They are speaking volumes against the pernicious conspiracies of silence that have long protected powerful men when it comes to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and abuse of power.”

The 45-year-old was born in San Francisco. She was raised Jewish and attended Sinai Akiba Academy in the Los Angeles area in her younger years. A graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, with a degree in Psychology, Lewinsky also studied abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she earned a master’s degree in social psychology.

“In this era of the ‘Me Too’ movement, the 2018 Star Event will be an opportunity to listen to and learn from Monica Lewinsky’s anti-bullying message about confronting the effects of social media and the internet on one’s reputation and about the importance of investing in education and the development of women,” said Star chair Alexander.

About the Star Event

The Oct. 15 event will begin at 10 a.m. with registration and social hour, followed by lunch and the program at 11 a.m.

Because Lewinsky has spoken to sold---out audiences around the country, Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood suggests purchasing your tickets early. Invitations are not being mailed, only emailed this year. Luncheon tickets are $118 and are available online at or by sending your check addressed to Faith Alexander, c/o Congregation Schaarai Zedek, 33030 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, FL, 33609.

Patron and sponsorships range from $360 to $10,000 and include an invitation to the “Mingle with Monica” Patron Party on the Sunday evening prior to the event. Details about this party will be provided to confirmed contributors. Those interested in sponsorships can sign up online on the Star Event website or can contact Alexander, at

The Star Event celebrates the memory of Franci Golman Rudolph, a beloved former Sisterhood president who also played an integral part in previous Star Events as the emcee of the segment where she interviewed the Star Event headliner. Rudolph was dedicated to tikkun olam, to changing the world, and received wide praise from the Tampa community for her work for various charitable organizations.

As Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood’s annual fundraiser, the Franci Golman Rudolph Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood Star Event provides funds for its many projects. These include donations to local, national, and international agencies, such as Tampa Jewish Family Services Food Bank, Florida Holocaust Museum, Camp Coleman, URJ’s Emergency Relief Fund for natural disasters, Weinberg Village Assisted Living Facility, Women of Reform Judaism’s many worldwide projects and the World Union for Progressive Judaism. In addition, the Star Event funds allow Sisterhood to provide financial assistance to the religious school, and Schaarai Zedek youth groups.

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