Sofiya Fikhman of West Hollywood is one of 13 women honored as Women of the Year by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff.
Each year Schiff selects women from his congressional district, which includes West Hollywood, to receive the honor during Women’s History Month, which is April.
“Today, I met with remarkable women from my district who have all worked tirelessly to make our communities a better place,” Schiff after attending a lunch in Echo Park honoring those women. “It was an honor to recognize their outstanding work in the 28th District. These women have worked to found or support a myriad of charitable organizations and given so much of themselves to improve the common good. They are all pillars of our communities and I thank them for their invaluable service.”
An announcement of the honors notes that Fikhman was born in the Ukraine in 1939. She was two years old when the war between the Soviet Union and Germany began. During World War II, she and her family, along with 13 strangers, lived in the Bershad ghetto in a one-room tenement. After the Soviet army freed the ghetto in 1944, Fikhman and her family returned to Savran in 1945, where they lived until 1952, thereafter moving to Moldova to join her father’s family, where she pursued her education at a medical college to become a nurse.
She married her husband, Shmil, in 1958, and they had two children. Upon completing her degree that same year, she began work in a children’s hospital as a supervisor until 1967; then worked in early childhood education, retiring in 1988 to help raise her grandchildren. Fikhman was over 50 years old when she and her family moved to the United States in 1991, with the dream of creating a new life in a new country. She worked as a caregiver for the elderly and a babysitter and volunteered in her free time.
“A tireless and dedicated volunteer, Ms. Fikhman has always enjoyed being of service to people in the community,” the announcement says. She joined the Association of Holocaust Survivors from the Former Soviet Union in 1996, and two years later, started volunteering for the organization and undertook various tasks including answering telephone calls, curating events, assisting new immigrants, and visiting survivors in care facilities and hospitals. She expanded her volunteer work by visiting several Jewish day schools, where she educated young people about her experience during the Holocaust. Fikhman became a member of the City of West Hollywood’s Russian Advisory Board in 2006, where she continued to plan cultural events and assist immigrant families. She now is a volunteer at the City of West Hollywood’s Russian Language Public Library.
Below is a full list of honorees from this year:
Karen Knapp (Atwater Village), Joy Collins-Brodt (Burbank), Joelle Dobrow (Echo Park), Carrie Ann Sutkin (Elysian Valley), Anita Quiñonez Gabrielian (Glendale), Lara Yeretsian (Hollywood), Jeanne Broberg (La Cañada Flintridge), Dr. Diane L. Evans (La Crescenta), Lynn Alvarez (Los Feliz), Kathy Jane Onoye, Ed.D. (Pasadena), Cynthia Hubach (Silver Lake), Pat Kramer (Sunland-Tujunga), Sofiya Fikhman (West Hollywood).
Row seated left to right: Anita Quiñonez Gabrielian (Glendale), Pat Kramer (Sunland-Tujunga), Jeanne Broberg (La Cañada Flintridge), Lynn Alvarez (Los Feliz), Sofiya Fikhman (West Hollywood), Kathy Jane Onoye, Ed.D. (Pasadena). Row standing left to right: Joy Collins-Brodt (Burbank), Cynthia Hubach (Silver Lake), Lara Yeretsian (Hollywood), Congressman Adam Schiff, Karen Knapp (Atwater Village), Dr. Diane L. Evans (La Crescenta), Joelle Dobrow (Echo Park). Not pictured: Carrie Ann Sutkin (Elysian Valley)