Volunteer honored as a ‘lion’ among women

Volunteer honored as a ‘lion’ among women

Ask local leaders about Marissa Treu’s record of commitment and service to the Princeton-area Jewish community and you will hear resounding praise for her unwavering spirit, tireless efforts, and impressive achievements. All reasons that Treu was recently chosen to receive the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks’ first Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award.

Established in 1974 and named in honor of national Lion of Judah philanthropy system founders Norma Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland, the award recognizes exceptional women who embody the values of the Lion of Judah — those who have committed $5,000 or more to the annual campaign — and who have demonstrated outstanding service to the Jewish community, both locally and abroad.

Treu — who, along with other honorees, will receive the award Sept. 12 at the 2012 International Lion of Judah Conference in New York City — said she is extremely flattered to be the PMB federation’s very first recipient. “The Princeton area is such a comfortable place to be Jewish, and the federation and its annual campaigns are major reasons behind this,” said Treu. “Without a strong campaign and a community of people who care about the federation and its agencies, it wouldn’t be as warm and welcoming an area as it is.”

On being selected for the award by the federation, Treu said, “I’m just so honored and appreciative, and I feel blessed to have been lucky enough to live in a town as wonderful as Princeton, which has given me such great opportunities to serve.”

Treu became involved with United Jewish Appeal after moving to Princeton in 1986 and immediately set to work helping to revitalize the then-flagging Women’s Campaign. In 1990-91, she served as Women’s Campaign president and also joined the federation’s general campaign board of trustees. A Lion of Judah since 1992, she became PMB general campaign chair in 1993-94, and in 1995 was elected president of Princeton Area United Jewish Appeal, where she was instrumental in driving its merger with the Jewish Federation of Mercer and Bucks County.

In 1996, she served as copresident of the newly formed entity, United Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.

In 2002, Treu once again served as campaign chair of federation’s general campaign, and is a past recipient of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County’s Tzedakah Award.

She continues to serve as a member of the executive committee of the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and on the board of the Robert and Natalie Marcus Home for the Jewish Aged, a federation agency at Greenwood House in Ewing, where she currently cochairs the capital campaign.

Treu has been married to husband Jesse for 41 years; they have two daughters, Dara Shapiro and Rabbi Abigail Treu, and five grandchildren ranging in age from two to eight.

“Marissa is absolutely a pillar of the greater Princeton Jewish community,” said Stephanie Will, president of the PMB federation’s Women’s Philanthropy. “From the most administrative job to the highest-level executive activity, she’s always here and is always willing to roll up her sleeves and get involved.

“She’s a true role model whose deeds and lifetime of commitment and service have set a wonderful example for all of us in the community.”

Federation executive director Andrew Frank agreed. “Marissa’s long-standing track record of leadership and dedication to the Jewish community is nothing short of extraordinary,” he said. “She inspires her contemporaries with her guidance, wisdom, and dedication and serves as a model for others entering into Jewish communal life and philanthropy.

“Along with her husband Jesse and their beautiful children and grandchildren, they’re one of the sterling families of the Princeton Mercer Bucks area, and I can think of no one more deserving than Marissa to represent our community and receive this prestigious recognition.”

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