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Suzi-Weiss Fischmann, founder of OPI Nail Lacquers, to headline Federation Connections 2021

Suzi Weiss-Fischmann

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s signature Women’s Philanthropy event, Connections, will be headlined this year by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann. Born in communist Hungary to Holocaust survivors, Weiss-Fischmann learned Hebrew in secret as a child. After promising her mother she’d keep kosher and observe Shabbat each week, she immigrated first to Israel and then to the United States where she and her brother-in-law, George, started a dental supply business.

It didn’t take long before Suzi noticed that manicurists were buying dental supplies not to make bridges and crowns, but rather to make an early version of the acrylic nails that remain popular today. There was one problem—these early acrylics were so strong that they could easily damage nails. Suzi and George set out to create a safer alternative and OPI Nail Lacquers was born. In 1989, OPI released its first 30 colors and since then they have been delighting women around the world with their seasonal collections of cleverly named nail polish. I’m Not Really a Waitress, a deep red color which is by far their most popular, is a nod to Hollywood and those working service jobs there while dreaming of stardom. When it came time to write her autobiography, the name was a natural fit for the title. I’m Not Really A Waitress: How One Woman Took Over the Beauty Industry One Color at a Time was published in 2019.

That’s just the beginning of the story for this year’s Connections speaker, now referred to as “the First Lady of Nails”. If you want the full story, you’ll have to register for Connections, which will be held online on March 14th at 1:00 p.m.

“Connections is an event that’s really close to my heart,” says Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Senior Vice President Fran Katz. “This year when we’re all called upon to be a little creative with resources and to make the most out of challenging situations, it’s especially meaningful to welcome a woman whose Jewish faith has informed a career based on creating beauty and finding humor where it’s least expected.”

In past years, Connections has been held in-person—a multi-generational brunch gathering of hundreds of local Jewish women. This year, in order to create a COVID-safe experience, the Federation is working to recreate a similar atmosphere online. Women will be joining the community celebration and discussion with this fantastic speaker from comfort of their homes.

“Given the speaker and the format, we hope guests will use this as an opportunity to create a little bit of a ‘home spa’ experience for themselves. Guests can put on face masks, paint their nails, and spend this Sunday afternoon recharging for the week in the virtual company of inspiring Jewish women,” says Connections co-chairs Karen Faitelson and Dana Goldstein.

The spa atmosphere will be enhanced by kosher-style boxed lunches provided by Loew’s Ventana Canyon, which registrants may pick up ahead of the event. Fully kosher meals may be requested with registration.

Each year Connections attendees support a charitable effort through a donation drive. This year, funds will be used to will be used to purchase grocery store gift cards for those most in need in our community, and will be distributed by Jewish Family and Children’s Services.  Last year, registrants collected hygiene supplies in support of homeless youth through Youth on Their Own.

Connections is open to all women with a minimum household pledge of $180 to the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona 2021 Annual Campaign. Your generous contributions enable us to support and sustain the Jewish community here in Tucson and around the word. The Federation is your partner through good times and challenges, working to build a better, more equitable world now and for generations to come.

If you are interested in attending Connections, please register here.