Family service to honor ‘pillars of community’
When Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Monmouth County gathers for its 28th Annual Tribute Dinner on Aug. 16, it will honor a couple described by organizers as “pillars of the Jewish community.”
Vicki and David Portman of Holmdel will be recognized for more than two decades of support of JF&CS, said Barbara Marshall, director of operations.
“The Portmans have supported JF&CS for more than 20 years financially, and have generously shared their astute business expertise and many years of experience working in Jewish communal services in Monmouth County and New York,” Marshall said. “We are pleased that Vicki and David have chosen to support the work of JF&CS by being our 2011 honorees.”
Nearly 250 people are expected to attend the dinner at Congregation Magen David in Ocean, which, JF&CS president Laura Krantz, said will include a “magnificent” silent auction and raffle. “We are thrilled that the Portmans have accepted the honor. When their names are mentioned in our community, it is with much awe and esteem,” Krantz said. “They really are terrific people who stand out for their philanthropy and community activism.”
In an interview with NJJN, the Portmans said they are motivated by a desire to make a difference in the world. “Being involved in charitable causes in the Jewish community helps connect us with like-minded people who value doing good for others,” Vicki said. “It is important to us to let people know that their help is needed in the community, so that valuable organizations like JF&CS can continue to offer so many services to people of all ages.”
Vicki, who owns and operates a communications consulting firm, chaired Business and Professional Women with Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, served as the philanthropy’s vice president of campaign and vice president of allocations, and is a Lion of Judah donor. A lifetime member of Hadassah, she was honored by that organization in 2000. She is also an active supporter of UJA Federation of New York, where she served as vice chair of major gifts for Women’s Philanthropy, where she chairs the advisory group and sits on the executive committee. She is a member of the NY federation’s Women’s Executive Circle, sits on the Ethiopian Taskforce, and is a member of the board of directors. She currently has a seat on the advisory board of Jewish Federations of North America’s Women’s Philanthropy.
A scholarship fund established by Vicki and her sister, Arlene Saltz, in memory of their parents, sends teenagers on the March of the Living to Poland and Israel.
David is cofounder of a medical advertising agency, and has developed numerous commercial real estate projects and pathology laboratories. His long history of volunteerism in the Jewish community dates back to the ’70s.
He has held numerous positions with Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, including serving twice as president, as vice president of Operation Exodus and of campaign, and as board chair.
Under governors James Florio and Christine Todd Whitman, David was appointed commissioner for economic development between Israel and New Jersey. He has been a member of the national campaign cabinet for Israel Bonds and the board of directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and served as building fund chair and vice president of Temple Beth Torah. He is now chair of development for the planned Village for Healthcare and Rehabilitation of Workmen’s Circle.
His scholarship fund in memory of Sharon Portman has sent, since 1993, 60 Jewish teenagers from Monmouth County to programs in Israel.
The Portmans have traveled with HIAS and the federation on numerous missions whose aim was to ensure Jewish continuity and to enhance the quality of life of those in need in Israel and throughout the world. The two are lifetime members of the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Center at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.
They have three sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
“Vicki and I have traveled to Israel about 50 times,” said David. “My mantra for the last 40 years has been that if Jewish people don’t do for themselves and others, no one will. It’s what I do; it’s what I am supposed to do.
“Being involved gives me the opportunity to give back and make the community stronger.”
Their involvement with JF&CS is particularly meaningful to them, David said. “It does an incredible job helping the community, particularly through their counseling services,” he said.
The tribute dinner offers JF&CS a chance to thank the Portmans, said dinner committee cochair Evelyn Friedenberg of West Long Branch. “Vicki and David Portman have been generous in giving both their time and money to support our greater Jewish community,” Friedenberg said.
“Whether it is raising money for Israeli bonds, helping Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel, or lending their support to JF&CS, Vicki and David have always been willing to accept leadership roles. They are a caring and compassionate couple who can be counted on to help family or friends in need.”