2016-07-06 / Voice at the Shore

Spirit of giving infuses JFS Annual Meeting

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


Rene Kane (left) receives the Community Support Award from JFS CEO Andrea Steinberg. Rene Kane (left) receives the Community Support Award from JFS CEO Andrea Steinberg. Fifteen years ago, Jordan Kleinman started getting up at 5 a.m. so that he could start delivering Jewish Family Services’ Kosher Meals-on-Wheels to a handful of community members and still get to work at Berkshire Hathaway in Margate by 9:30 a.m.

“I just wanted to do something of a charitable nature, so I gravitated to JFS. That was what they needed at the time. Whatever they needed, I would have done,” said Kleinman, who received a Volunteer of the Year Award from Jewish Family Service at its Annual Meeting last month at Congregation Beth Israel.

Kleinman’s spirit of giving and community focus was shared by the many JFS volunteers, donors, board members and staff at the agency’s Annual Meeting, many of whom received special recognition for their service and contributions.


Jordan Kleinman (left) and Bob Cohen receive the Volunteer of the Year Award from Eileen Dillon-Gantert, JFS volunteer coordinator. Jordan Kleinman (left) and Bob Cohen receive the Volunteer of the Year Award from Eileen Dillon-Gantert, JFS volunteer coordinator. “It’s a funny thing: God doesn’t bring bread from the earth,” said Beth Israel Rabbi David Weis, who was asked to recite the blessing before the meal. “Bread comes about from a partnership between God and human beings—bread is manmade.” Similarly, he added, it takes human beings working though organizations like JFS to make the world whole. “JFS takes the world and makes it a better place.”

JFS has been doing this for our community in new and unique ways over the past decade, said JFS CEO Andrea Steinberg in her state of the agency speech, hitting on how the agency had changed and grown in the 10 years she served as its leader. During that time, the agency has expanded its services to include fee-based older adult services and Village by the Shore, supportive housing, a jail-diversion program, and expanded services for people with mental health issues and disabilities as well as for the homeless.

At the same time, JFS has also expanded its fundraising efforts, with a cocktail party, golf-tournament, a much more profitable House Tour and more—all of which help to cover the agency’s $11 million annual budget, said Steinberg.

Many volunteers and others were honored at the Annual Meeting. Kleinman shared his title of Volunteer of the Year with Bob Cohen, who has volunteered for the Kosher Meals on Wheels program for the past five years. Together, the two men have delivered more than 2200 meals over the past five years, said Volunteer Coordinator Eileen Dillon-Gantert, who also praised them for keeping JFS informed when anyone receiving meals had some kind of illness or issue that the agency needed to address.

Another volunteer receiving special recognition was Rene Kane, a longtime House Tour volunteer, who received the Community Support Award. Kane recently began a community initiative called Project Prom, which distributed hundreds of gently used prom dresses to local high schoolers. She has also played a huge role in assisting victims of Superstorm Sandy. “Rene uses her network to help those in need,” said Steinberg of Kane, a realtor with Prudential Fox and Roach in Margate.

JFS President Dr. Richard Wise installed new and continuing board members. These included secretary Traci Werman; new board members Joel B. Frankel, D.M.D., Lawrence A. Reich, DDS, Melissa Rosenblum- Pisetzner, Esq., and Matthew Simpson, all serving one-year terms; and returning board members Joel Caplan, Ph.D. and Ali Lieberman, serving two-year terms, and Eric Goldberg, who is serving a three-year term.

The agency also said thank you and farewell to board members Deena Dine and Beverly Rubin for their years of dedication and service. Rubin, a board member since 2004 who was instrumental in starting Village by the Shore, also received the 2016 President’s Award.

Donors were also recognized at the meeting. These included Hafetz & Associates; Andi & David Goldberg; Ocean City Home Charitable Foundation; Steve & Cookie’s By the Bay / 7311; Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni & Kelly; Wells Fargo; Wise Family Eye Center; Diana & Mitchell Gurwicz; and AtlantiCare. 

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