The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ said goodbye to an old friend and greeted new leaders as 275 supporters and staff gathered for its annual meeting on June 16.
Chaired by Mindy Goldberger and Lisa Gutkin, the event at the federation’s Aidekman campus in Whippany served as a thank you to donors and staff as well as a reminder of the umbrella philanthropy’s impact on the local Jewish community, in Israel, and elsewhere.
“Everything I have and everything I accomplish is because of you,” said featured speaker Alina Gerlovin Spaulding, who described her journey from the Soviet Union to the United States in the 1970s. Now a Jewish educator, Spaulding was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, settled with her family in New Jersey, and earned degrees from Muhlenberg College and Barry University. At each step along the way, she said, federation-funded organizations, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, gave her family vital assistance.
Other highlights of the evening included a tribute to Neimah Tractenberg, who is retiring this month after 27 years as the federation missions director. Lee Murnick and Ariel Nelson were welcomed as this year’s Julius & Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award recipients with a film created by the outgoing “Rishonim,” young Israelis who spent the year as emissaries to the local community.
In their closing presentations, federation president Leslie Dannin Rosenthal and CEO Dov Ben-Shimon expressed appreciation for what federation donors, volunteers, and professionals accomplished over the past year.