Last Thursday evening, more than 140 people attended JF&CS’s Annual Meeting, held this year at the Jewish Community Center. Thank you for this tremendous community support!
Our Annual Meeting is a time to celebrate the achievements of the previous year, acknowledge our own “changes and challenges” and share our upcoming goals and plans with our community.
Rabbi Alex Greenbaum of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills provided the D’Var Torah, which reflected the theme of the evening – diversity and inclusion. He spoke about Jewish law that requires reaching out to help others, engaging with the community and working to improve the world. He drew connections between this law and the work that JF&CS has always done for nearly 80 years.
Highlights of the evening included the presentation of two awards.
Dr. Matthew Keller, At-Large Officer, accepted the Dr. Howard A. Mermelstein Leadership Award for his wonderful work on the JF&CS Board of Directors. His message of modeling volunteerism for his children struck a chord with everyone in attendance.
Additionally, another award was announced at the Annual Meeting. As you already know, our President & CEO Aryeh Sherman will retire this fall. Over the last few months, several staff members have thought about what could be done to express appreciation for Aryeh and all that he’s accomplished and instilled at JF&CS throughout his 17-year tenure. Since his life’s work embodies a commitment to community engagement to make change for good, the idea of presenting an award to a dedicated volunteer in Aryeh’s name felt like it would be one appropriate honor.
Thus, the Aryeh Sherman Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Hilary Spatz, who made significant volunteer contributions to JF&CS’s legal immigration services department, supporting staff and providing legal representation to unaccompanied minor refugees. Congratulations to Hilary!
Dr. Jordan Golin, COO and Director of Clinical & Elder Care Services, and incoming CEO this fall, spoke about his gratitude for the next few months to work with Aryeh before his transition to CEO in October, and about holding on to the values the organization has built even as times and priorities may change.
Finally, Aryeh spoke about JF&CS pursuing diversity and inclusion in far more than the current “political” sense. Rather, those words guided the development of the organization since its beginning, as program development identified and sought out struggling populations and helped to open opportunities for them. He was thrilled with the volunteer award in his name; he said he could not have thought of a more pleasing legacy.
Many thanks to all who attended, to the band Machete Kisumontao for providing such lively music, to Elegant Edge Catering for the fantastic food and to the staff that worked so hard to make the evening run smoothly.