Volunteers devote time and passionate commitment to UJA-Federation of New York’s network of nonprofits and touch many lives in meaningful ways. On April 20th, UJA-Federation’s Volunteer Recognition Ceremony honored 46 individuals who have provided outstanding volunteer service to their community.
“Thank you for the extraordinary work you do for sustaining our network of beneficiary agencies,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation, at the event. “You inspire us every day.”
Marc Utay, a member of UJA-Federation of New York’s Live With Purpose Lay Leadership Committee, also expressed his heartfelt gratitude. “I’m thrilled to be here to celebrate talented and dedicated volunteers,” he said. “Your efforts have made a profound difference in the lives of others.”
Volunteers have many different reasons for the commitment they make and serve in diverse ways. Evan Fischer is representative of the caring attitude these exceptional volunteers maintain day in and day out. Since he retired four years ago, Fischer has volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Family Respite Program at the Samuel Field Y, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency.
“I like connecting one on one with people in the group,” he said. “When they’re uneasy, I hold their hand to bring them back in touch.”
He also assists the program in a myriad of ways, from preparing snacks and lunch to confidently leading group activities. Cysts on his brain caused Fischer’s own memory impairment and forced him to retire from his job as an elementary school teacher when he was in his 30s. So he understands firsthand what people with Alzheimer’s may experience.
“My heart goes out to them. I get a good feeling from helping other people,” Fischer said. “I can’t get enough of this place.”
Preview of Live With Purpose
At the event, held at UJA-Federation’s building in Manhattan, the first Live With Purpose awards were presented to nine remarkable individuals. These awardees not only went above and beyond in their volunteer service, they also inspired others to serve.
The Live With Purpose award is part of a new initiative that will launch in 2016. Live With Purpose will enable Jews of all ages to volunteer, give back, and make a difference on a far larger scale. It will create an innovative online community—a place where all the beneficiary agencies in our network, together with synagogues, and day schools can share volunteer opportunities and connect with other volunteers in a meaningful way.
“The goal is for Live With Purpose to be a household name, a go-to place for Jewish volunteering,” said Goldstein. “Jewish volunteering would become a communitywide movement with thousands of Jewish New Yorkers making an ongoing commitment to address our region’s greatest challenges.”
One of the Live With Purpose awardees, Lola Greene, is an enthusiastic volunteer with UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps in Manhattan. Greene became involved with Engage, which connects baby boomers and beyond with the opportunity to serve the community, when she retired from a senior management position at a nonprofit.
“Engage was my way to form a sense of belonging, which I find with the volunteer communications team I lead,” she said. “Everyone brings a tremendous amount of passion and enthusiasm.”
Greene, an Engage volunteer at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, is also a compelling speaker at UJA-Federation events. In addition, she volunteers in countless other ways — assisting children with special needs, creating memory books for seniors, and cooking at a local shelter.
“I felt I had a lot I could contribute and now it was my turn to give back,” she said.
Live With Purpose Outstanding Volunteers
- Philip Altheim, Philanthropic Leadership Group, UJA-Federation of New York
- Ken Baxt, UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps on Long Island
- Deborah Faranda, UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps in Westchester
- Lola Greene, UJA-Federation of New York’s Engage Jewish Service Corps in Manhattan
- Amy Gutenplan, UJA-Federation of New York-Westchester
- Alex Horn, Real Estate Executives (REX), UJA-Federation of New York
- Mindy Richenstein, Women’s Philanthropy, UJA-Federation of New York
- David Rothman, Emerging Leaders & Philanthropists, UJA-Federation of New York
- Carol Sherwin, Management Assistance Program, UJA-Federation of New York
2015 Volunteers of Excellence
- Ruthie Ashkenazi, Kings Bay YM-YWHA
- Emma Gordon Blass, Eden Village Camp
- Sophie Buchholtz, Jewish Association Serving the Aging
- Monita Buchwald, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
- Rochelle Cohen, Jewish Community Council of Canarsie
- Josh Commer, Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island
- Taffy Dabby, Riverdale YM-YWHA
- Ralph Feingold, Central Queens YM & YWHA
- Evan Fischer, Samuel Field Y
- Jane Flechner, Bronx Jewish Community Council
- Larry Frankel, Westchester Jewish Council
- Rivka Gesser, Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush
- Ann Goldberg, YM & YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood
- Mira Goldfeld, Bronx House Jewish Community Center
- Doris Heinlein, MJHS
- Toby Himmelweit, Hebrew Free Burial Association
- Ben Hollander, Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College
- Judy Jacobson, DOROT
- Roslyn Jacobson, Jewish Community Center of the Greater Five Towns
- Luverne Kane, Jewish Home Lifecare
- Marvin Kantor, Barry and Florence Friedberg Jewish Community Center
- Ellen Koppelman, Queens College Hillel
- Cheryl Lexton, The Educational Alliance
- Jeanne-Marie Musto, Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood
- Robin Nack, Westchester Jewish Community Services
- Carrie Newman, The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
- Karen Nichols, Selfhelp Community Services
- Nora Polisar, Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst
- Ken Rose, The Mount Sinai Hospital
- Steve Rubinsky, Hazon
- Jeff Saber, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services
- Sandra Schurberg, United Jewish Council of the East Side
- Denise Silverberg, Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center
- Morris Terzi, Sephardic Community Center
- Janet Weiss, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation
- Pam Wexler, New York Legal Assistance Group
- Remi Zeff, Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester