Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York (JFS) will host its second annual Mensches & Mimosas, a community-wide celebration of mensches noting the most dedicated volunteers and unsung heroes of its partner organizations. The dedication and contributions of 23 mensches from 20 organizations from seven cities in the region will be recognized at a “virtual” event on Sunday, May 23, at 11 a.m. The event will be emceed by Benita Zahn, co-anchor for the 4 p.m. newscast on WYNT, and winner of awards for her news reporting.
Temple Beth El of Glens Falls recognizes Steven Adler for his service, most recently for personally purchasing and distributing prayerbooks to members of the community making ‘virtual’ services more accessible. Helene Ainspan, a familiar face at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany, has been on several committees and the board of trustees, consistently volunteering her time and energy. Nancy D. Bell is being honored for her work at Temple Israel in Albany. She has served on committees, including acting as the chairwoman of the administration committee. Congregation Beth Emeth in Albany recognizes Joseph Bierman for his volunteer work with the congregation’s Sunday Soup Kitchen, and his contributions to other projects. Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady is saddened to have to posthumously recognize the life and legacy of the recently late Victor Friedman who had served as everything from cantorial vocalist to brotherhood president to general tech wizard. Therese Lowenthal has played many roles in the Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs community, from secretary to the board to oneg coordinator, to avid book club participant. Becky and Ben Marvin are mainstays within the B’nai Sholom of Albany congregation: Ben, formerly the president of the board of trustees, serves as the congregation’s communications chairman while Becky advocates for issues such as sustainable housing and racial justice. Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob in Albany is honoring Evy and Larry Farbstein. Evy for her creativity in redesigning the interior of the shul, from artwork to the tree of life, and Larry for his oversight and organizational talents as treasurer. Flo Miller is the backbone of Congregation Beth Shalom of Clifton Park and provides the spiritual and religious spirit for its congregants. Christine Parisi is Congregation Agudat Achim’s office administrative assistant, contributing to the Schenectady congregation through its Hessed Committee and volunteer work.
Maimonides Hebrew Day School has announced its 2021 Mensch will be Stephen Caruso, a dedicated and helpful volunteer. Gail Kendall, the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District’s mensch, is a member of its Life and Legacy team and financial committee, playing an integral role. Ilene Sykes’ work at the University Albany Hillel centers on building a strong Jewish community on campus and beyond, she also volunteers her time and resources to various local organizations. Pre-pandemic, Melvin (Marty) Wigler of the Colonie Chabad, channeled his love of music into his volunteer work at local senior care facilities and community events. At the Bethlehem Chabad, Jessica Yankulin has volunteered regularly for Senior Connections, helping to keep seniors and high-risk individuals connected to their communities during these challenging times. The Albany JCC recognizes Billy Golderman for his work on programs such as teen camp and for his promotion of a strong community for Jews of all ages. Judy Gaies Kahn is recognized by the Shalom Food Pantry for her many hours spent on food deliveries and for her care and concern for her clients’ wellbeing. Similarly, Arthur Kline is being honored for his more than 12 years of volunteer work with JFS’ Project 5, providing dedicated, reliable and accommodating transportation to those in need. Bruce Ginsburg is board president for the Daughters of Sarah Jewish Foundation and will be honored for his vision and leadership. Rona J. and Louis-Jack Pozner efforts are noted by the Jewish Federation Of Northeastern New York, but their work and advocacy can also be seen in organizations all around the Capital District. Gordon N. Zuckerman, a JFS board member, is being recognized by the Schenectady JCC. Zuckerman’s community work, currently centered on minimizing the education gap widened by the pandemic, has had an impact on the entire region.
“This year, the pandemic’s impact challenged us to significantly expand our essential and social services. Like the mensches we are honoring, JFS is passionate and committed to leading and responding, said Jane Ginsburg, president of JFS.”
Those interested in becoming a Mesnches & Mimosas sponsor, joining the honorary committee, or contributing to the services of JFS, are asked visit the website, jfsneny.org, call 518- 482-8856, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on how to participate virtually will be posted on the JFS website.