2018-01-17 / Voice at the Shore

Avoda awardees bring club members nachas & tales of academic achievement

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER Voice shore editor


Avoda award recipients Lawrence Strenger, Sydney Van Dyke, Elia Lichtenstein, Laura Naegele, and Matthew Wisneski. Avoda award recipients Lawrence Strenger, Sydney Van Dyke, Elia Lichtenstein, Laura Naegele, and Matthew Wisneski. Avoda award recipients home from college for winter break reported back to Avoda Club members on their academic pursuits during two meetings in late December and early January.

Avoda, a not-forprofit organization started by five local Jewish businessmen in 1928, provides financial awards to promising Jewish college-bound students from Atlantic and Cape May Counties. Avoda’s roughly 100 members are mostly senior citizens, who braved the bitter cold to come out to hear award recipients speak at Sofia Restaurant on December 27 and at Al’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria on January 3.

Jordan Biagi, an award recipient who recently graduated from Rutgers and is now doing graduate study at the University of Hartford, offered Avoda members a heartfelt thank-you for their financial support during the Jan. 3 luncheon. “You help get kids like me through school so we can achieve our dreams,” she said “There is no way I could have afforded graduate school without Avoda’s help” paying for undergraduate studies.

Biagi, who has an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, is now getting a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics. She described her first semester in the program, which includes hands-on clinical work with patients, as “a life-changing experience.”

Jake Leavy, a senior studying chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also attended the January 3 luncheon.

Attendees of the Avoda dinner on December 27 were Lawrence Strenger, a freshman at Purdue University; Sydney Van Dyke, a freshman at Farleigh Dickinson; Elia Lichtenstein, a senior at Purdue University; Laura Naegele, a sophomore at Rutgers University; and Matthew Wisneski, a junior at the University of Delaware.

College-bound seniors can now apply for the 2018 Avoda Award. Applications, which can be found on the JCC website (jccatlantic.org) are due March 2, 2018. Applicants must be Jewish with high scholastic achievements who are active in Jewish affairs as well as school and community affairs, and have need of financial assistance. 

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