2018-07-04 / Home

Hundreds attend ceremony for Federation’s Commons at 1721 Springdale

With ceremonial shovels in hand were (from left), Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Senator James Beach, philanthropists Stan and Roz Middleman, Pennrose Regional Vice President Jacob Fisher, Saltzman Foundation Executive Director Vicki Zell, Jewish Federation Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, Jewish Federation President Glenn Fuhrman, Camden County Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo, Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn, and Jewish Federation Vice President Harry Platt. Also participating in the ceremony were Bank of America Senior Vice President Miles Cary, III, Tri-County Board of Rabbis President Andy Green of Cong. Beth El, Nafshenu Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, and Jewish Federation Vice President Brad Molotsky.With ceremonial shovels in hand were (from left), Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, Senator James Beach, philanthropists Stan and Roz Middleman, Pennrose Regional Vice President Jacob Fisher, Saltzman Foundation Executive Director Vicki Zell, Jewish Federation Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, Jewish Federation President Glenn Fuhrman, Camden County Freeholder Susan Shin Angulo, Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn, and Jewish Federation Vice President Harry Platt. Also participating in the ceremony were Bank of America Senior Vice President Miles Cary, III, Tri-County Board of Rabbis President Andy Green of Cong. Beth El, Nafshenu Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, and Jewish Federation Vice President Brad Molotsky.By DAVID PORTNOE

Voice Editor

Under a bright, sunny blue sky that mirrored the spirits of the hundreds of people present, the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey held a “Commencement Ceremony” for The Commons, its new affordable housing for older adults and adults with special needs at 1721 Springdale Rd. in Cherry Hill.

“This is an awesome day, a totally exciting day for all of us who worked so hard to get here,” said Federation Vice President Brad Molotsky, himself the father of a 24-year-old son with special needs. Molotsky quoted the sage Hillel, when he said, “If not now, when?”

Molotsky, like many of the speakers who followed him, thanked those who made the day possible, including the Federation, political figures, philanthropists, and others. “Efforts like today happen because of the dogged determination of many,” he said, pointing to the bold and visionary people bringing The Commons to fruition. “We can change things when we work together.”

Harry Platt, Federation vice president and chair of the 1721 Committee, served as master of ceremonies for the event. He noted that the addition of independent living for special needs adults enhances the entire community. “I am extremely excited about the bright future of The Commons at 1721,” he said.

Cong. Beth El Rabbi Andy Green, president of the Tri-County Board of Rabbis, noted during his D’var Torah that The Commons would be a place for every individual, each with their own specialness and needs. He drew a parallel between The Commons and the building of the Temple in biblical times. The Bible describes how a stone that was initially overlooked became the cornerstone of the Temple.

Federation President Glenn Fuhrman thanked the Federation agencies for their efforts and noted that they will be providing the services and programming for the residents. He said that while every day is a good day for him as Federation president, today is a great day.

“This housing will be the first of its kind in the area,” said Fuhrman, noting that seniors and adults with special needs will be together, with each group enhancing the other.

Jewish Federation CEO Jennifer Dubrow Weiss spoke movingly about her parents, Ellen and Ron Dubrow, and their passion for helping those with special needs. She said that the Federation and its agencies offer many programs for those with special needs, but The Commons will fill in a missing piece—residential housing. She added that residents of The Commons would have access to the many services for seniors and those with special needs offered by the Federation and its agencies. She also spoke to “our most important people,” the prospective residents, assuring them that the long-anticipated project was really happening.

“This project ensures that seniors and those with special needs can live independently in Cherry Hill,” said Mayor Chuck Cahn, who said that he was thrilled to be celebrating this extraordinary project. He noted the commitment of the Federation, Cherry Hill Township, and developer Pennrose, LLC.

New Jersey State Senator Jim Beach and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt both took the podium to extol The Commons. Beach said it was a wonderful thing for the community, while Lampitt said that her heart was filled with joy. Both Lampitt and Beach conveyed a “Mazel Tov” from Congressman Donald Norcross, who could not attend because of a prior commitment.

“I love this community. This is one of those examples of why we do what we do,” said Lampitt.

One of the touching moments in the ceremony was when philanthropists Stan and Roz Middleman spoke about why they were supporting The Commons. Stan Middleman spoke about a beloved cousin who could not take care of himself and spent is last days alone and how he could have benefitted from a place like The Commons, while Roz spoke about her parents, both Holocaust survivors, and how they are living in a great community like Lions Gate, part of Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service, an agency of the Federation.

“I thought this was something we could support,” said Stan Middleman as he choked up with emotion. Roz Middleman added that they were honored to be able to help.

The last speaker before shovels were put into a mound of dirt set up near the tent in the parking lot of 1721 was Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, executive director of Nafshenu. He spoke of his nine-year-old son with Familial Dysautonomia and of celebrating life each and every day.

“If we know that we are not alone…the journey is that much sweeter,” said Sernovitz, noting that the celebration that day was of a more inclusive, kind community. Sernovitz offered a prayer thanking God for all the miracles.

Also speaking were representatives of developer Pennrose, LLC, and Bank of America. They spoke about their partnership with the Jewish Federation and how special this project truly is. 

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