There was a noticeable buzz — more like roar — from the crowd as more than 200 young adults from MetroWest came out to celebrate and honor two of their own.
The “Spring Fling” fund-raiser — presented jointly by the Young Leadership Division of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ and its Young Women’s Campaign — was held April 15 at the Morris Museum.
There was lots of activity: During the cocktail hour, people were getting henna tattoos. Each time someone made a gift to the UJA MetroWest Annual Campaign, a symbolic leaf was hung on a “Generositree,” signifying the “blooming” of the MetroWest community. Messages from people in the crowd were posted on Facebook and simultaneously shared on large screens.
Jonathan Ramsfelder and Adina Brownstein, respectively the incoming and outgoing chairs of UJC’s Young Leadership Division, received the Julius and Bessie Cohn Young Leadership Award.
Brownstein, a South Orange resident who is stepping down after her two years as YLD chair, said, “Being involved in the Jewish community is an important part of who I am as a person. The impact I am able to make in MetroWest is rewarding and fulfilling — whether it is participating in the Run for Rachel, speaking to a fellow congregant who is the recipient of services of the Friendship Circle, or helping a friend who is out of work and turns to the Jewish Vocational Service.
“I take comfort in knowing the Jewish community is here to add guidance and comfort to those in need,” Brownstein added.
Ramsfelder, a Morristown resident, said the Jewish sense of community has survived the historical tides.
“I have seen evidence of how we care for one another as if we were still living next door to one another in the 1800s in a shtetl,” he said.
As an example, Ramsfelder spoke movingly of a destitute Holocaust survivor named David who lives in the former Soviet state of Georgia and is visited regularly by representatives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which receives funding from MetroWest.
“We take care of Jews,” he said, holding aloft a small cardboard box representing a “CARE” package from JDC. “Without our deep compassion and familial claim to one another, David would have been forgotten about. As an accident of history, we could all be Davids. This simple box, delivered across time zones and continents, beautifully recognizes that fact.”
The night culminated with most of the attendees staying on to dance into the wee hours.
Cochairs of the event were Ramsfelder’s wife, Jamie, Stacey McGarr of Millburn, and Melody Fuhr and Jodi Murnick of Short Hills.