ALBANY–The Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center (AJCC) has announced the selection of its 2024 Pillars of the Community Award recipients. Rob and Margie Dorkin, Dr. Michael and Sharon Lozman, and Michael and Melissa Lurie have been selected as this year’s honorees by Center leadership and past Pillars recipients. An in-person program at Beth Emeth, 100 Academy Rd., Albany has been scheduled for Sunday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m.

 Rob, Margie Dorkin

The Dorkins have been married for 43 years and are the parents of Arielle Dorkin.  Margie, originally from New Jersey has been a resident of this area for many years. Rob is a lifelong resident of Albany and a member of Congregation Beth Emeth.

As a Jew by choice, Margie completed her conversion over 35 years ago as Rabbi Scott Shpeen’s (then spiritual leader of Beth Emeth) first student. She has served as sisterhood president and on the Beth Emeth board.  She was the first recipient of the Beth Emeth President’s award. She continues to volunteer at Beth Emeth by preparing oneg platters and creating flower centerpieces for congregation functions. Margie and Rob have been honored with a Jewish Family Services Mensches Award. They continue to serve as co-chairpersons of the annual Beth Emeth garage sale and have been doing so since 2007.

Rob is a graduate of The Milne School, Boston University, and the College of St. Rose. He retired in 2018 as an independent IT consultant.  He grew up around the corner from the Center and participated in various activities including Boys Scouts Troop 33, ABG fraternity, day camp, and swim lessons from Betty Clark.  He served on the Camp Chingachgook Alumni Council and is on the Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY board. Having served as board member of Congregation Beth Emeth and president of its brotherhood, he continues his service at Beth Emeth heading up the crew of kitchen volunteers for congregation dinners. He also volunteers for the Diane’s farm community garden and for the Beth Emeth soup kitchen.

Dr. Michael, Sharon Lozman

Dr. Michael and Sharon Lozman moved to the Capital District in 1971, and are the parents of Robin Anderson, an orthodontist in practice with her father, and Tobie Schlosstein, an attorney. They have been married for 63 years.

Sharon is a graduate of Kingston High School, Fairleigh University where she obtained her undergraduate degree and Russell Sage for her master’s degree in health education.  She has been head of the Lower School of Albany Academy for Girls, an agent of Roberts Real Estate and owner and manager of Park View Terrace and of the Kingston Camelot Manor Apartments for 25 years. Subsequently she sold the properties and retired from ownership.

She is the head of house and grounds of Congregation Ohav Shalom of Albany and has held the position for 23 years. She and Michael have been members of Ohav since 1978.

Michael, a Brooklyn boy and the son of Eastern European immigrants, received his college degree from Wilkes College, his dental degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and his orthodontic training from New York University. Opening his Latham orthodontic office in 1971, he is in fulltime practice with his daughter Robin. Some of the of the several leadership roles he has held include president of the NY State Society of Orthodontists, member of the NY Dental Board of Governors, member of the NY State Board for Dentistry, and the first dentist to be on the three member panel of the NY Regents Review Committee.

His involvement in Jewish affairs include the development of two foundations; the Restoration of Eastern European Jewish Cemeteries, Inc., through which he took college students and restored 15 Jewish cemeteries, 10 in Belarus and five in Lithuania, over a 17 year period. The second foundation is the Capital District Jewish Holocaust Memorial Inc. created to install a Holocaust memorial in the Albany area. Michael was appointed by President Biden to be a member of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.

Michael, Melissa Lurie

Michael and Melissa Lurie have generational bonds to the Capital District and have lived in the Capital District for their entire marriage of over 20 years. They are the parents of Paul and Jack Lurie.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of Albany where she earned her master’s degree in public health. She works as an epidemiologist with the New York State Department of Health, where she specializes in chronic disease surveillance and research and was involved in the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.

Michael is a graduate of Bethlehem Central High School and SUNY Oswego. Michael has made a career in public accounting and finance for over 25 years. He has been president of Lurie and Co, CPAs PC for 15 years. He specializes in helping families and small businesses achieve their life and financial goals.

Melissa serves on various youth sports and school committees and is a member of Congregation Beth Emeth.  Michael has served as a board member of Jewish Family Services and serves on its finance committee.  He is a board member of B’nai B’rith Housing Foundation and has served on Congregation Beth Emeth’s board for over 20 years, including as president from 2020-2022. He continues to serve on several financial committees of the congregation.

Melissa served on the board of the ASAAJCC and Michael has served on various committees of SAAJCC including the audit committee and finance committee. Michael reports that he has wonderful memories of his childhood at summer camp at the JCC and Michael and Melissa sent both of their children to the pre-school at the Center.

According to organizers, selection criteria to become a Pillar of the Community include acting as moral pillars and dispensers of wisdom and advice (Torah), providing continued service and/or leadership (avodah), and acting generously in the spirit of Tzedakah (Gmilut Hasidim).