Photo above: Volunteers of the Year: DEBBIE and ART FRIEDSON

SCHENECTADY–Congregation Agudat Achim (CAA) will hold its annual  Shomrei Kehillah Awards celebration on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 11 a.m. The brunch will be held at the synagogue at 2117 Union St., Niskayuna. The event will recognize outstanding volunteers as well as raise funds for programs and services at the synagogue.

Shomrei Kehillah translates to Guardians of the Community. Congregants who have made outstanding contributions to both the CAA community and the community-at-large will be honored. The Volunteers of the Year are Debbie and Art Friedson. Kathy Englebardt will receive the Woman of Valor Award. Andrew Gavens and Joel Weingarten will each receive a Shofar Award. Elianna Moses, daughter of Gilah and Eric Moses, will receive the Tzameret Award for Youth Leadership.

Elianna Moses

Andrew Gavens

The Volunteer of the Year Award is given to a congregant or congregants who exemplify the spirit of tikkun olam through their volunteerism and/or philanthropy in the CAA community as well as the community-at-large. As members, leaders, and role models, Debbie and Art Friedson have had a positive impact on the Agudat Achim family. Both were raised in the congregation, and also together raised their family. Their active participation and leadership, often quietly, has had meaningful impact on Agudat Achim. Debbie Friedson’s fund-raising efforts for Cystic Fibrosis are also noted. Art Friedson’s commitment to the ritual health of the congregation is noteworthy.

Joel Weingarten

Kathy Englebardt

The Woman of Valor Award is presented annually by Women’s Network to recognize a woman who has made a distinct contribution to her synagogue and/or community by demonstrating a personal commitment and a sense of mission to enhance the lives of others. Whether serving on Reyut during its earliest years, or serving on and chairperson the school board, youth commission and ultimately, serving as president of the congregation, Kathy Englebardt’s participation in and/or initiation of many congregational projects has impacted the congregation in many ways during her over 40 years of membership.

The Shofar Award is presented by the men’s club to an individual in recognition of his leadership and outstanding service to men’s cub and the congregation. In addition to having served as congregation president, vice president, chairman of house and grounds, president of men’s club and co-chairman of the Carrot Festival, Andrew Gavens initiated havdalah and hockey night and Shabbat Dinner Under the Stars.  Joel Weingarten has helped behind the scenes with necessary projects: grounds’ cleanup, repair/renovation of the rabbi’s house, kitchen crew, and organization of and participation in events. In addition to his lengthy tenure as president of the men’s club, his input over the years helps sustain CAA’s community.

The Tzameret Award for Youth Leadership is presented to a graduating high school senior or seniors for their outstanding service to youth programs at CAA and their spirit of volunteerism in the greater community. A frequent participant in services at Agudat Achim, when Elianna Moses is not chanting Torah, leading prayers or teaching first grade in the Agudat Achim Hebrew School, she is busy with leadership and cultural interests outside of the synagogue.

Hillary Fink is chairwoman the event and Robin and Ron Scharf are the honorary committee co-chairpersons. The cost to attend the event is $54 ($18 for children ages 5-12, children under 5 are free) and registration is required. The synagogue office at 518 -393-9211 can provide details.