Both the honorees and the guests at the annual Vanguard event of the Middlesex federation know what it means to help their fellow Jews, especially during the current economic crisis.
“Half of our campaign comes from Vanguard,” said its chair, Lee Livingston, also the immediate past federation president.
This year’s event will be held Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the historic barn located on the East Brunswick farm of Mike Baker and his family. The barn, built in Quebec in 1845, was disassembled piece by piece and reassembled on the farm for use as an event venue.
The Vanguard is for those who have given $5,000 or more to federation’s annual campaign and is the kick-off for the fund-raising year. Last year’s Vanguard brought in $1.1 million. The federation’s fiscal year ended June 30, raising $2.8 million, including endowments, grants, corporate sponsorships, and contributions, according to federation associate executive director Susan Antman.
“We feel optimistic that we will have a very successful event,” she said. “We believe our supporters understand the growing needs, especially those that impact us locally. We know the community will stand with us.”
At the event, Jeffries and Rona Shein of Long Branch will be honored for their lifelong dedication and commitment to the Jewish community.
“Jeff and Rona never say no to the Jewish community,” said Livingston. “And I’m proud to call such generous and compassionate people my friends.”
That tradition of giving is longstanding. Rona is the daughter of former state Sen. Norman and Marion Tanzman. Norman donated the South River building that houses the federation offices in memory of his wife, and the Marion and Norman Tanzman Foundation remains one of the largest contributors to the Middlesex federation. Its most recent endeavor is the Tanzman Fellows program, which is cultivating young federation leaders.
“We are longtime supporters of the federation,” said Jeffries Shein. “We believe in federation. Federation is the basis for a community to really be a community. Without a strong Jewish federation, there really is no Jewish community. We are both honored and looking forward to the event.”
He was a board president of the former Central Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged in Somerset, and Rona has been a Lion of Judah for many years.
Livingston said the event would demonstrate the strength and depth of commitment of those who attend, adding, “Our Vanguard contributors are people who can be counted on year after year. They understand the importance of federation and are the backbone of the community.”