2021-2022 VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR
B’nai Torah Shul – Greenwood Lake
Lenny Rosenbaum deserves much of the credit for reigniting our Shul with vigor this year. He has been responsible for helping make sure we kept up with our religious observances and obligations. Thanks to his encouragement and preparation, we were able to have a Passover Seder on BOTH nights (as well as enough wine for the 8 cups spread out). Lenny has given hours of time to brainstorming the Shul’s growth as well as offered accounting services at times when it seemed we had nowhere else to turn. Always present with a smile and a story, we are so grateful to honor Lenny as our Volunteer of the Year at B’nai Torah Shul!
Congregation Agudas Israel - Newburgh
Barry Hyman has been an active member of the Board of Directors for many years, most recently serving as President and Presidium member for the past 2 1/2 years. During his tenure he was able to guide us thru the Covid era without losing any of our membership. In fact, we gained members during his years as president.
Barry has been a member of the Agudas Israel congregation since 1994 when he moved to the area with his wife, Mimica. His two children grew up in Newburgh and Agudas Israel was fundamental in their religious education. He is an orthopedic surgeon and has served as Chairman of Orthopedics at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. His interest in orthopedics stemmed from his involvement in sports. He represented the US team for the Maccabiah Games in Judo in 1981 and 1985 winning team gold and silver metals, respectively, as well as two individual bronze metals. He returned to Israel in 1989 as a team physician for the US Team. He has been the Team Physician for the Hudson Valley Renegades since 1994. He is a cellist and was a member of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Congregation Beth Hillel - Walden Jewish Community Center
Shirley Zak and her late husband Jon, of blessed memory, moved to Pine Bush from the Bronx several years ago and immediately joined our shul. Shirley is always there, always willing to lend a hand with her humor, her honest opinions and her heart of gold (don’t tell her we said that!) You name it, Shirley has done it: Board member, Recording Secretary, member of multiple committees, greeter, Master of Ceremonies, clerical worker and faithful congregant who loves to attend services. We love Shirley not just for all her volunteer work –and for that we are most grateful– but for always being herself. She’s not afraid to say no, she’s not afraid to say what she thinks, but always with humor, honesty and good intentions.
Congregation Eitz Chaim – Monroe
The Jerome Spector Action Committee; Michael Grunes, Paula Spector, Diane Soss, Rochelle Marshall, Judy Ronay, Doris Rubinsky, Beth Marks and Arlene Mahr have gone over and beyond assisting those in our community. At present they provide a snack program for 56 children at the North Main Street School in Monroe, coordinating volunteers to help provide snacks for the children each week. For the holidays they provided coats, hats, scarves and gloves along with grocery gift cards for the families. The group was honored by the Monroe Woodbury Board of Education, receiving the Monroe Woodbury Central School District Community Connection Award on June 8, 2022 for their ongoing support and encouragement to the students with their generosity and dedication throughout the 2021-2022 school year. We are very proud and honored to have this amazing group of people working tirelessly to help our community.
Congregation Eitz Chaim Sisterhhod
Linda Siegel is a volunteer without whom our issues of the Shalom would not get mailed. We could never list all the contributions she has made over the years. But we know that if we need something done we ask Linda. Everything from writing notices to filling Purim bags to shopping for the snack program is accomplished because we ask Linda.
Jewish Family Service
Jason Heller has volunteered with Jewish Family Service of Orange County for the past year. Both Jason and his support staff are in the office every Tuesday and Thursday morning. We are very fortunate that Jason has chosen JFS of Orange County to support with his amazing technological skills. We depend on Jason for ongoing scanning and organizing of our files for our programs. More Importantly, Jason comes ready to work and is willing to offer assistance with other tasks when requested. He warmly and sincerely greets everyone in the office with a big HELLO and is always willing to share his snacks. We thank Jason for his dedication and work.
Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County
Marjorie Sweet is the current president of Congregation Beth Hillel/ The Walden Jewish Community Center, and the Chair of the Federation’s Intra-Faith Sub-Committee of the Community Relations Council. She and her husband, Harry, raised their children in the Walden Jewish Community Center. She stepped into the role of president in her synagogue because not one else wanted the job! She has recently retired from teaching English as a New Language, and is striving to remain vital and maintain a Jewish community in Walden.
Being a part of the Walden Jewish community for Margie, meant volunteering, joining the board, actively supporting the congregation and center, leading by example. At the Federation level, she became an active advocate for helping to bridge the divides between our fellow Jews in the county.
Sondra Tuckfelt is a member of Temple Beth Shalom in Florida, NY, where she and her husband Mark raised their children. Now, she is a committed grandparent who brings her grandchildren to religious school and temple events. Sondra’s passion for sustaining Jewish life from generation to generation is evident in all that she does.
The two have worked tirelessly to make connections with people inside Kiryas Joel, in order to start to build relationships between our communities. Their efforts lead to a recent discussion on security that was attended by representatives from all areas of Jewish life in the county; Kiryas Joel, Chabad, Reform and Conservative synagogues, and of course, Federation. It was Sondra’s persistence to make this event happen, that kept the committee on track, despite the uncertainty of who would actually show up!
Marjorie and Sondra are great examples of how passion for Jewish life can make a difference in our community, and we are grateful for their ongoing hard work.
Margaret Dabrusin (CAI), Mona Rieger (TBJ) and Susan Levy (TBJ) dedicated many hours to the curation, sales, and setup of the Kol Yisrael Emek Gift Shop in 2012. The Emek gift shop has been lovingly cultivated with hand-picked items that support Jewish culture and promote the generosity of the Jewish people.
Margaret Dabrusin is a jewel of a lady who gives her whole heart to everything she does. Together with her late husband Jack, the Dabrusins have given so much to their community over many years spent in Newburgh, NY.
Mona Rieger has made a career of voluntary service. This year she is being honored for her 15-year commitment to the Judaica shop including its successful transport from one site to its new location at Kol Yisrael. Together with Susan Levy and Margaret Dabrusin, the Emek gift shop has been lovingly cultivated with hand-picked items that support Jewish culture and promote the generosity of the Jewish people. Mona has served on the Boards of Directors of the Newburgh Jewish Community Center, the Orange County Hebrew Day School, Jewish Family Service of Orange County, Literacy Volunteers of Eastern Orange County, and the Orange County Coalition for Choice among many others.
Susan Levy is being recognized for her dedication to her community spanning 30 years. She served as President of Literacy Volunteers of America, Eastern Orange County, Inc., senior lunch services at Newburgh JCC, volunteer pursuits throughout the Jewish community and fundraising causes across the Hudson Valley. Susan is a fixture in the Jewish community and her involvement and impact are as far-reaching as the ocean on the horizon.
Monroe Temple Beth-El
Micha Modell is one of Monroe Temple’s newer members. He and his wife, Misun, their Daughter, Manhattan and their son Maverick joined our temple early 2020. They immediately embraced opportunities to connect with others and get involved. As we all know the pandemic soon followed, which really makes the story of Micah Modell as a temple member that much more amazing. Somehow through this time, Micah and family very much became a part of our temple family. They made friends, and became involved. Micah joined the Ways and Means committee, Mens Club and then the Temple Board and Misun the Sisterhood and Torah School committee. But Micah is not just any board member.
At the start of this past fiscal year, we were making plans to sell our building while at the same time ensuring we are going to be able to provide a new vibrant home for our congregation. Our challenge was to do both simultaneously. The board was asked, “Who could help coordinate the efforts towards a new building?” This was a big ask. Not only were we at our first in-person board meeting in 17 months, but this was Micah’s first time meeting some of the more seasoned board members. The board went silent and then Micah asked, “So you are asking someone to corral all the information and coordinate efforts? I can do that.” From there, Micah has led this task force with understanding, intelligence and inclusivity. His guidance is with respect to our history and a focus on our future. He has created an environment in which all are welcome and all opinions matter.
Now, sadly, our temple has to say goodbye to Micah and his family as they are leaving this area. He remains committed to this project as we transition to its new leadership. Our farewell to Micah is filled with gratitude for all that he has given to us during his short time with us. In the future, when the Monroe Temple opens its new doors, Micah Modell will have been an integral part of it, thus proving it is not how much time we can give, but it is what we do with the time we have and the connections we make that truly make a difference.
Monroe Temple Beth-El Sisterhood
Robin Rosenberg has guided the Women of Reform Judaism/Monroe Temple Sisterhood through the pandemic with a variety of activities both virtual and in person to help us stay connected while also supporting our Temple and the broader community. From book chats, to cooking demonstrations, Rosh Chodesh, crafts, dinners, Shabbat services, fundraisers, anti-racism workshops, get out the vote initiatives, and more, Robin has led our wonderful band of women for the last three years. We appreciate her leadership and organization as she supported each endeavor either directly or behind the scenes. Volunteer of the Year."
Newburgh Jewish Community Center
Marsha Sobel is being honored by Newburgh JCC for her work as volunteer Director of Little Friends Learning Loft Preschool at Newburgh JCC. Her deep drive to serve has led her to many local organizations including the Jewish Federation of Great Orange County (Past President), Temple Beth Jacob (Past President), Newburgh Jewish Community Center, Congregation Agudas Israel, Hadassah, Habitat for Humanity, Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Deacon Jack Seymour Food Pantry, with many board and officer positions held.
Temple Beth Jacob – Newburgh
Patti Cohen Hecht is an inspiration at our Religious School making Jewish themes come alive through art. In addition to holiday themed events where students create heirloom projects that grace their family celebrations for years to come, the culmination of her creativity was in creating a virtual tour to Israel. This full day, full RS event had our travelers start on a mock ‘airplane’ complete with personalized passports (including pictures) and boarding passes. Our intrepid travelers left notes in the wall while touring Jerusalem, in a wall created by the students, dug for artifacts and made mosaics. As No visit is complete without food the trip culminated with authentic Israeli snacks in a replica of the shuk. This multi-sensory day was a roaring success due to the dedication, devotion and attention to detail of Patti Hecht. Thank you Patti for your creativity and vision and all you do for our Religious School.
Temple Beth Jacob Sisterhood
Carol has been a dedicated Sisterhood member volunteering for every activity. She is the hostess with the mostess hosting our annual pool party and many Rosh Chodesh celebrations. Carol is an active member of TBJ where she volunteers for temple activities &classes.
Temple Beth Shalom – Florida
Sharon Ball – When most past presidents of a synagogue step down from their position, their involvement and service to their community wanes. Yes, a past president is always supportive and will step up when asked, but Sharon Ball, Temple Beth Shalom’s Federation Volunteer of the Year, goes above and beyond.
Sharon has never shied away from doing the work needed to ensure TBS continues to run smoothly. She is the editor of our monthly bulletin, The Shofar, she has created numerous postcards and invitations, established a Constant Contact account, and this year, reinvigorated our website, www.tbsny.org. Additionally, for years she has been chair of the ritual committee. Could we do all this without Sharon? Sure. Do we want to? No!
Sharon and her family have been members of TBS for over 30 years. Both her children have become B’nai Mitzvah and Rabbi Shinder officiated at her daughter’s wedding 4 years ago. Her husband, Rich, is a past treasurer and an avid supporter of the temple.
Temple Beth Shalom thanks Sharon Ball and honors her as Federation Volunteer of the Year.
Temple Sinai – Middletown
Lisa Klein has been an active member of our congregation for many years and always steps up for projects wherever needed. You can often find her in the kitchen cooking or baking for an event or fundraiser, and every year she takes it upon herself to oil and polish the wood of the sanctuary’s Bima as well as taking care of the silver Torah dressings for the high holidays. Lisa was a past president of Sisterhood for 4 years at the same time she was the president of the Hebrew School Board. She was also active in our scrip program and has been the chair of the Chevra Kadisha as well. These are just a small part of what she does for Temple Sinai. We are delighted to be able to honor this fine woman with this recognition.
Temple Sinai Men’s Club
Kevin Brodie was born and raised in Spring Valley, NY. He graduated from the University at Buffalo in 1989 and began work as an architect. After a few years as an apprentice during summer breaks, he went from working on additions in Rockland County to Samsung Electronics North American Headquarters in NJ. After 33 years and hundreds of projects, some as distant as Saudi Arabia, he now has his own practice in Monroe, NY designing mainly custom homes and small commercial buildings for the past 20 years.
Kevin met his future wife Bonnie Friedman of Monsey through a mutual college friend in 1989. They immediately fell in love and married in 1995. After living in Manhattan, Fort Lee, and then West Orange, NJ, they had a baby boy, Matthew, in 2003. With their daughter Samantha on the way in 2005 it was time to move to a larger house.
Looking to escape the crowded NJ landscape, they moved to Central Valley, NY. They joined a nearby temple but decided it wasn't for them after a few years. After coming to services at Temple Sinai in Middletown they knew they had found a special place. The entire congregation was so warm and welcoming and for the past 14 years they have enjoyed being members. Bonnie was involved with the Hebrew School and is now a Trustee.
Kevin has been a member of the "TS Open" golf tournament committee for the past 8 years which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Temple Sinai. Kevin is an Assistant Vice President for the Temple Sinai Men's Club, which he has been involved with for the past few years.
For the past 6 years Kevin has been involved in renovation projects for the Temple. In 2018 he renovated the sanctuary. When Rabbi Emily Cobert came to Temple Sinai in the summer of 2021, the Rabbi's residence was in need of some major repairs. Kevin was instrumental in renovating the interiors and completely reconstructing the porch of the 100-year-old house. Kevin has also assisted the Men's Club in constructing their annual Sukkah for the past few years. Donating his time and expertise to this wonderful place has been a rewarding experience for him.
Kevin enjoys spending time with his family and friends as well as playing golf, skiing, and watching the NY Giants and Yankees (especially if they win).