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JCC's deli-themed gala a hit again

Photo of guests seated just before brunch gets underway during the JCC's 2019 Annual Meeting & Gala.

Over 220 supporters come together to celebrate the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s 156th annual meeting and gala, presented by naming sponsor the Wladis family, on Sunday, June 2 at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia. There were plenty of accolades, touching stories and smiles shared during the event’s awards ceremony which recognized outstanding service in support of the JCC and the community. Back by popular demand from last year, the theme was a “New York Kosher Deli Experience” catered once again by Essen New York Deli of Brooklyn.

 “We are thrilled with the wonderful support this year for our honorees,” said JCC of Syracuse Executive Director Marci Erlebacher. “Their dedication to the community and commitment to the JCC are truly remarkable. It was so moving to hear their stories of how the JCC has been there for them throughout their lives. It’s a joy to put on such a celebration each year, and we couldn’t have done it without the terrific support from our sponsors and guests.”

Following a brief business meeting where the JCC board of directors installed its new and returning board members, as well as its officers, it was on to the awards portion where a total of five awards were presented.

Pictured is Kovod Award recipient Phillip Rubenstein (second from left) along with JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher (far left), Phillip's dad Arnie and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind (far right).
Pictured is Kovod Award recipient Phillip Rubenstein (second from left) along with JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher (far left), Phillip's dad Arnie and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind (far right).

The first award given, the Kovod Award, which signifies honor and importance, was presented to Phillip Rubenstein, JCC board member and vice president. Rubenstein is president of East Syracuse-based United Radio. He has served on the boards of Jewish Family Service and Menorah Park and is currently on the boards of the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York and the Longhouse Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Rabbi Evan Shore addresses the crowd upon receiving this year's Kovod Gadol Award.
Rabbi Evan Shore addresses the crowd upon receiving this year's Kovod Gadol Award.

Next up was the Kovod Gadol Award presented to Rabbi Evan Shore. This is the JCC’s highest honor which in Hebrew translates to great honor. Rabbi Shore has served as spiritual leader of Sha’arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse for the past 30 years. He is also the religious advisor to the JCC and its board’s executive committee and serves many JCC programs in various official capacities. Rabbi Shore founded the STOCS Chevra Kadisha, founded the eruv in the Syracuse area and is a former board member of Menorah Park and Jewish Family Service.

This year Barbara Sheklin Davis and Neil and Robin Goldberg were inducted into the JCC Hall of Fame. This award recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made their mark through service to the entire Jewish community.

Pictured is Hall of Fame Award recipient Barbara Sheklin Davis (center) flanked by JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind.
Pictured is Hall of Fame Award recipient Barbara Sheklin Davis (center) flanked by JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind.

Barbara Sheklin Davis is professor emerita of modern languages at Onondaga Community College. She served as principal of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School for 27 years and headed the rabbi Jacob Epstein High School of Jewish Studies (now the Rabbi Jacob Epstein School of Jewish Studies) and the Combined School of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas and Temple Beth El. A passionate advocate of Jewish education, she is also an author. Davis has written Syracuse African Americans, The Jewish Community of Syracuse (with Susan Rabin), 100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die, A Parallel Universe: Haredi Women Leading Haredi Schools for Girls, and Two Jews Three Opinions: Klal Yisrael, Pluralism and the Jewish Community Day School Network. She is currently working on three other books, including I Hate Retirement (which she does).

Hall of Fame Award recipients Neil and Robin Goldberg address gala guests after being introduced by their daughter-in-law Amira.
Hall of Fame Award recipients Neil and Robin Goldberg address gala guests.

For Neil and Robin Goldberg, family has always come first. Neil, president and CEO of Raymour and Flanigan Furniture, and Robin, a retired dentist, have also dedicated their professional and personal lives to the community in their hometown of Syracuse. Neil is currently serving on the national boards of the National Home Furnishings Association, Home Furnishings Council, American Furniture Hall of Fame, National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League and Say Yes to Education. He has been awarded the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York’s American Heritage Award, Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership, City of Hope Spirit of Life Award, the American Heritage Award of ADL, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Syracuse Business Journal’s “Business of the Year.” Robin has served as president of both the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and Make-A-Wish Foundation, chair of Jewish Federation of CNY Lion of Judah division, annual chair of National Council of Jewish Women’s “Mitzvah Project” and as a board member of the JCC of Syracuse, Temple Adath Yeshurun and the Syracuse Jewish Federation (now the Jewish Federation of CNY). She has been awarded the JCRC-NY’s American Heritage Award, NCJW Hannah G. Solomon Award, Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership, Presidential Leadership Award from Syracuse Jewish Federation, and the Syracuse Hebrew Day School Woman of Valor Award.

'The Leslie' Award, named after Leslie London Neulander, was presented to Jessica Malzman (center) this year. Also pictured, from left, is JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher, and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind holding this year's unique glass 'Leslie' Award.
"The Leslie" Award, named after Leslie London Neulander, was presented to Jessica Malzman (center) this year. Also pictured, from left, is JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher, and JCC Board President Steven Sisskind holding this year's unique glass "Leslie" Award.

Finally, this year’s Leslie Award, the fourth to be given since being introduced in 2016, was presented to JCC board member Jessica Malzman. “The Leslie” recognizes outstanding commitment and service to the JCC and the local community—the qualities which the award’s namesake, Leslie London Neulander, personified through her many volunteer pursuits. Malzman is the chief operating officer at Whitney Partners, a New York-based executive search firm. She has been a JCC board member for the past two years, served on the Gala Committee for three years and has sat on the Parent Committee for the JCC’s Jerome and Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program for the past two years, most recently becoming the committee co-chair. Malzman was also a member of the Jewish Federation of CNY’s young leadership committee from 2017-2019.

The JCC of Syracuse’s annual meeting and gala is the center’s largest and most important annual fundraiser. This year’s event proceeds, as in the past, will provide significant funding for scholarships to individuals in the JCC’s early childhood, after school, summer camp and senior programs.

For information about supporting the JCC of Syracuse, contact Erin Hart at 315-445-2040, ext. 112, or ehart@jccsyr.org.

The JCC of Syracuse, located on Thompson Rd. in DeWitt, was established in 1861 and is the second oldest JCC in North America. It offers a range of quality programs and services for all ages, including infant/toddler care, pre-school, before and after school care and vacation camps for school-age children, summer day camps, teen social and fitness programs, a sports and fitness center, outdoor heated pool and swimming lessons during the summer, adult programming, and services for seniors including a senior kosher meal program.

 

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