2018-08-29 / Voice at the Shore

Beron-JOAS celebrates 40-year anniversary and other milestones

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


The Beron-JOAS Adding Life to Years fundraiser honored all of the agency’s past presidents. Here, agency director Adrienne Epstein (from left) stands with JOAS past president Sharon Levine, Philip Perskie, son of JOAS founder and past president Audrey Perskie (z”l), and past JOAS presidents Lloyd Eisen, Leslie Steinberg, Sander Greenberg, Rene Kane, Marcy Rosenthal, and Lori Scarpa. The Beron-JOAS Adding Life to Years fundraiser honored all of the agency’s past presidents. Here, agency director Adrienne Epstein (from left) stands with JOAS past president Sharon Levine, Philip Perskie, son of JOAS founder and past president Audrey Perskie (z”l), and past JOAS presidents Lloyd Eisen, Leslie Steinberg, Sander Greenberg, Rene Kane, Marcy Rosenthal, and Lori Scarpa. Forty years ago, as casinos first opened in Atlantic City, many elderly residents were displaced from their homes. Audrey Perskie was deeply concerned. Perskie, a community advocate and Jewish community leader, worked tirelessly with Dr. Leonard Ellenbogen and other concerned community members to create a safety net for seniors.

And so, in 1978, Jewish Older Adult Services was born.

On August 1, 2018, JOAS celebrated its 40th anniversary during its Adding Life to Years fundraiser dinner at the Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield. The event honored all of the agency’s past presidents, including Ellenbogen and Perskie, the first two presidents, who were honored posthumously.

“This year is an amazing milestone,” said Beron-JOAS Director Adrienne Epstein, noting that the event also marked two other special occasions: the birthday of JOAS “Founding Mother” Audrey Perskie, and the 20th anniversary of JOAS’s Herman Pogachefsky Pavilion.

That pavilion, located at 1102 Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City, is home to the Rosin Senior Center, a vibrant place offering daily activities for seniors ranging from live music and dancing and Shabbat celebrations, to senior fitness, bingo, and art classes. The Pogachefsky Pavilion is also home to the Audrey Perskie Nutrition & Wellness Center, the Josie & Lee Geiger Adult Day Health Center, the Dr. Leonard B. Erber Medical Center and Myriam’s Dream Bookbindery, which is largely run by senior volunteers.

The driving force behind the creation of the Pogachefsky Pavilion was Helen Pogachefsky, who received a special award at the dinner. She and her husband, Herman, moved to the shore in the late 1980s and started as JOAS volunteers soon after. Helen became a champion fundraiser for the organization and ultimately took the lead in securing the funds needed for the new pavilion.

“With the sad and untimely passing of her husband Herman, the love of her life, Helen resolved to remember him in a very special way,” by creating a new, permanent home for JOAS that bore his name, said Epstein in presenting the award to Helen.

Other awardees included past presidents:

• Lloyd Eisen (1985-1987), who fostered awareness of local seniors’ needs and changed the agency’s name to Beron-JOAS to honor the memory of Ed and Edna Beron;

• Raymond Sterling (1987- 1989), a long-time and generous JOAS supporter who enhanced its medical education and wellness programs;

• Susan Lang (1989-1992), who encouraged board members to take hands-on volunteer roles;

• Leslie Steinberg (1992- 1995), who shepherded the idea of creating a new permanent home for Beron-JOAS;

• Dr. Israel Posner (1995- 1998), a visionary who devised a plan for funding the creation of the Pogachefsky Pavilion;

• Benjamin Zeltner (1998- 2000), who oversaw the pavilion’s completion, presiding over endless meeting with CRDA, architects, and contractors;

• Sharon Levine (2000-2004), daughter of founding JOAS board members Doris Katz and mother of current board member Samantha Wilson, who created and directed shows for seniors and narrated a video tour of the new Pogachefsky Pavilion, filmed for the local NBC affiliate;

• Sander Greenberg (2004- 2009), an accountant who improved the organization’s financial reporting and who continues to serve as treasurer for Beron-JOAS;

• Rene Kane (2009-2011) and Beth Shor (2011-2013), who both worked to create an online presence for Beron-JOAS and have continued to expand and enhance its website;

• Andrea Daniel (2013-2017), who helped create intergenerational programming and new fundraising opportunities; and

• Lori Scarpa and Marcy Rosenthal, the current co-presidents, who continue to take the lead in hands-on volunteering as well as event planning for BeronJOAS.

“We do great things for a wonderful population,” said former Beron-JOAS president Sharon Levine, who served as master of ceremonies for the Adding Life to Years annual fundraiser. 

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