UJA-Federation is reimagining ways to honor deserving community leaders during a time when coming together physically is simply not possible. As such, we’re celebrating our honorees for this year’s Staten Island Community Breakfast virtually.
Your gift, made now through June 30, 2020, to celebrate one of the our community’s honorees will amplify UJA’s critical relief efforts in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Please read through the impressive array of bios, which describe our honorees’ service to the community and pay tribute to their dedication.
Please note that the date listed at the side - June 30, 2020 - indicates the conclusion of our 2019 campaign year. We will not be holding an in-person Community Breakfast this year. Thank you.
Linda Brill, Scott Maurer, Susan Sappin
Terry Baver and her husband Steve met in graduate school and moved to Staten Island in 1976, where they began a psychotherapy practice. In 1982, Terry was invited to join the JCC’s new leadership, led by former JCC executive director, Lew Stolzenberg, and she has been active in the Staten Island community ever since.
Terry was co-chair of the JCC Nursery School Committee, and she still serves as co-chair of the Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute Committee. She has also served for 25 years on the JCC Board of Trustees. The Baver family joined Temple Israel in 1988, where Terry has served as president.
A couple of years ago, synagogue member Dr. Ron Avis created the Avis Foundation to develop new leaders and a strong future for Temple Israel through subsidized dues for young families. He appointed Terry and Bryn Biren (also a Temple Israel honoree) to run the program because he knew that they were effective leaders. Together they have used the foundation's resources to establish innovative programs such as STEAM and pottery-making classes, museum visits, and adult yoga.
As a result of these efforts, 20 new families have joined the temple and bonded with one another. Temple Israel is forever grateful for the leadership and dedication of Terry Baver.
Bryn Biren is a native Staten Islander who attended JCC activities and summer camps as a child. She is a graduate of Curtis High School and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where she met her husband, Richard Biren, an attorney. She taught elementary school for 33 years.
Bryn met Terry Baver (also a Temple Israel honoree) at the JCC nursery school, where they sent their children — who have remained lifelong friends to this day. Bryn was also invited to join the JCC’s new leadership group with Terry in 1982 and has continued her involvement in the community to this day. Bryn chaired the JCC Camp Committee for 10 years and served as chair of the Seniors Committee. She has also served on the JCC Board of Trustees for 25 years with Terry.
The Biren family joined Temple Israel in 1988, the reform congregation that Bryn's parents helped to found. Bryn has also served as president of Temple Israel in the past.
Bryn, in partnership with Terry, helps to run the Avis Foundation, which was founded by fellow Temple Israel congregant, Dr. Ron Avis. Together, Bryn and Terry have implemented dozens of programs that have encouraged young families to become more involved in the congregation, including a wonderful CulturEats program that allows participants to prepare and eat traditional foods from other cultures. They also bring in Brian the Animal Guy to teach children about small exotic animals and birds. By building a sense of Jewish community, The Avis Foundation hopes to fulfill its mission of developing new leaders for Temple Israel and thus ensure a strong future for the temple. Temple Israel is extremely appreciative for Dr. Ron Avis’s extraordinary generosity and for his and Bryn’s lifelong dedication to the Staten Island community.
Temple Emanu-El is pleased to honor two members of our congregation who have been active with our synagogue over the past three years: Lester and Erica Dier. Before joining Temple Emanu-El in 2017, they attended Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, where Lester served on the Board of Trustees for one year. Since joining Temple Emanu-El, they have been both generous to the congregation and helpful in maintaining it. They have helped in preparations for Sukkot for the past few years and are currently active in our membership committee. Lester and Erica were married in 2012. They have two young sons, Aaron and Angel, who both attend the Hebrew school. Lester was also active in the Empire State Shomrim for many years and has participated at other synagogues over the years. Please join us in congratulating them and thanking them.
Anna (Hanka) Furmanski and Leonard were both born in Poland in 1946. Anna was born to Holocaust survivors. In 1957, Leonard immigrated to Israel and spent five years in the Israeli Air Force, where he fought in the Six Day War. In 1967, he came to the U.S., where he met Anna, who had immigrated the previous year. The couple met through Leonard’s uncle, who was a friend of Anna’s parents. Anna and Leonard were married in 1968 and have two children, Rachel and Jeffrey, and six grandchildren.
Anna and Leonard became involved in AHBJC when their grandson Isaac started Hebrew School there. Immediately, Anna became active in the sisterhood and helped at every major function. One year, she even prepared a Passover seder meal for 60 people. Anna and Leonard also joined the AHBJC garden club, where Anna planted vegetables and weeded and maintained the garden, and Leonard prepared the soil for planting and constructed a ramp leading to the raised garden, making the garden accessible. The Furmanskis committed themselves to beautifying the synagogue in whatever ways possible. Anna even spent one week in 2015 power washing the outside of the synagogue, making sure it was ready for the High Holidays. A couple of years ago, they painted the social hall and lobby in record time!
Today, in addition to helping wherever needed, Anna serves on the Board of Trustees and Leonard is always available to work as a handyman when needed. Their presence at AHBJC enhances the synagogue both inside and outside.
Dan Glassman takes the UJA-Federation mission to heart — caring for people in need, promoting a passion for Jewish life and learning, and fostering a strong Jewish community.
A third-generation Holocaust survivor and information technology professional, Dan uses his expertise to serve as technical advisor for the Wagner College Holocaust Center Advisory Committee and as a board member at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. He helps enhance the synagogue’s communication methods and promote the shul and Hebrew school events. He successfully more than doubled class size. Dan began working with the men's club and membership and ritual committees to promote events and services.
At the Wagner College Holocaust Center, Dan harnessed the power of social media to broadcast events throughout the world. He developed a system to stream events, including a speech before Congress for Holocaust survivor Rabbi Romi Cohn.
In the midst of this pandemic, Dan has helped keep members of his Jewish community connected while they’re physically isolated. He has found innovative ways to use technology to make this trying time a period of spiritual growth for all. Creating virtual classrooms for the Hebrew school at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun and helping teachers and students to use the platform, Dan has made learning possible and productive with minimal disruption throughout quarantine. Dan is leading by example, and his generosity is inspiring the community in these trying times.
Dan and his wife, Jen, have four children.
Natalie has been involved in Hillel since her freshman year at CSI. She currently serves on the student leadership board. Natalie is an Interfaith Entrepreneur fellow, working on campus to create bridges of understanding between people of different faith backgrounds.
Raquelle is a bright shining star at CSI Hillel. Friendly and kind, Raquelle is an artist who loves to sculpt with wood. Raquelle’s leadership has inspired many new students to join Hillel.
Adar Revivo is president of the Hillel student leadership team. She’s a competent leader who is passionate about Israel and plans to study there in graduate school next year, majoring in security. Adar has staffed Birthright Israel trips and taken on Israel advocacy and education at CSI.
Barbara was a school secretary at P.S. 30 in Staten Island for 19 years before she retired in 2002. In addition to her regular duties at the school, she initiated Bagel Breakfasts on Friday mornings, which helped foster camaraderie among staff.
In 1995, she was voted the United Federation of Teachers’ “Secretary of the Year” for the borough of Staten Island and went on to become the UFT’s Secretaries’ representative until her retirement. She arranged a UFT Secretary’s Breakfast each year, making favors and centerpieces for each event.
Since retiring, Barbara has been involved in many volunteer activities. She plans luncheons three times a year for retirees and friends of P.S. 30 and sends out notifications that keep them abreast of important events.
For the past nine years, Barbara has volunteered with the Friends of the Metuchen Library, sorting books, soliciting donations, and working at their yearly book sale. She has also taught cardmaking classes to both seniors and teens at the library. More recently, as membership chairperson for Hadassah, she put together an open house to solicit new members and is responsible for taking the minutes at each meeting. She sends out notices of all meetings and special events connected with Hadassah.
Lastly, as a member of Congregation B’nai Israel, she is an active member of the Sisterhood, edits the synagogue bulletin, The Shofar, and is recording secretary for the Board of Trustees. To raise funds for the synagogue, Barbara taught two cardmaking classes and donated all the necessary supplies. She is a valued member of the temple.
Arthur was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in 1928 in Krakow, Poland. He attended cheder there and had just finished 4th grade when the war broke out. In the spring of 1941, at age 11, Arthur and his family went into the ghetto as citizens of Slovakia (where his father was born). In 1942, during a violent Aktion, his grandparents were deported to Belzec and Arthur was smuggled across the border to an orphanage in Hungary. After April 1944, his family joined him and lived as Slovaks of Christian faith in Budapest and Miskolc. They endured allied bombings until liberation by the Russian army. His family was smuggled to a DP camp in Germany until getting a VISA to come to the United States in 1949.
After serving in the Korean War, Arthur married in 1958 and had two sons, Barry (lt. colonel in the Israeli Army Reserve) and Allen. In 1993, Arthur married Sydele Bickoff. They share four children, 11 grandchildren (including Yaein, an officer in the Israeli Navy), and three great-grandchildren. Arthur is deeply committed to Holocaust remembrance. He has been involved with the Krakow Friendship Society since its foundation in 1965. In 2014, through the efforts of the Wagner College Holocaust Center, he began to speak to hundreds of elementary and high school students at schools on Staten Island and in the tri-state area. He also speaks at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, at 3GNY events, and at synagogues. He is featured in an Emmy award–winning film, Where Life Leads You, shown on PBS.
Frada worked as a universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) teacher at the Jewish Community Center for over 20 years. During her time in Early Childhood, Frada taught a generation of children in an atmosphere that encouraged creativity and respect.
Following her retirement five years ago, Frada decided to give back to the community and contacted the JCC Kosher Food Pantry, a client’s choice pantry serving the entire community and which requires an appointment for distribution.
Frada volunteers at the pantry scheduling appointments for individuals in need of food, stocking the shelves, checking expiration dates, and generally contributing to the overall operations of the pantry. She treats the clients with respect, and clients will often call the JCC and leave her a thank you message or card.
Frada lives on Staten Island with her husband, Barry, and is most proud of her daughter, Eliza.