The more than 200 people who came to the annual meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County left inspired by the efforts of supporters of all ages to better not only their own communities, but others around the world.
“Tonight we have much to celebrate,” said federation president Arlene Frumkin at the June 13 gathering at Young Israel of East Brunswick. “Our federation, its board, and our very dedicated staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the good you can see around every corner for our children, teens, adults, and seniors.
“From educational programs and social gatherings to feeding the hungry and providing for those in need, through partnerships and direct funding, we are hoping to build a stronger Middlesex and safer world,” said Frumkin.
The evening was kicked off by students from the Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley in East Brunswick who recreated a giant hanukkia designed for an annual program, in which each grade raises money for a cause supported by the federation. This year’s program, held immediately after the federation’s Super Sunday, brought in $491.
Also recognized was the J. Team, through which teens contribute $125 to be matched by the federation and doubled by the Karma Foundation, a family foundation overseen by Sharon Karmazin of East Brunswick. After researching various charitable organizations, the current team’s first-year class allocated $3,360 and its second-year class $8,870 to deserving causes.
In her speech, Frumkin cited many successes for the federation during the past year, including acting on the findings of a communitywide demographic study and forming committees to focus on outreach and engagement, Jewish education, and senior services in defining priorities and direction.
“As stewards of Jewish Middlesex, we must continue to learn from the road we have traveled and gain inspiration for the work still to be done as we plan for our future,” she said.
In line with this, Frumkin said, a new federation mission statement that “clearly defines who we are and aligns our community’s vision for Jewish Middlesex” will be voted on this fall.
The Create a Jewish Legacy campaign — which provides a framework for individuals and families to create endowments for Jewish institutions they care about — was also launched.
Other officers and board members installed were Seth Gross, president-elect; Marilyn Goldsmith, Sandy Lenger, and Keith Zimmerman, vice presidents; and Gary Busman, treasurer.
New board members installed were Elie Borger, Brian Dube, Melissa Jerushalmy, and Jennifer Bullock, all from Edison; Ilana Lutman of New Brunswick; and Debra Fisher of East Brunswick.
Honored during the evening’s proceedings were Florence Stein of Monroe, the Ruth Jacobson Woman of the Year Award; Hebert Levitt of Edison, the Sidney and Shirley Godis Volunteer of the Year Award; and Susan Mandell of Manalapan, the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award-National Women’s Philanthropy.
Rachael Thomas, a k-12 teacher at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, was recognized for winning the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. The $2,000 award recognizes outstanding teachers across North America.
Also honored were the Jewish Congregation of Clearbrook on its 35th anniversary, outgoing allocation committee chair Marilyn Goldsmith of East Brunswick, and outgoing impact committee cochairs Mitchell Frumkin of Kendall Park and Paul Rovinsky of East Brunswick.