Orange County synagogues and Jewish organizations honor special individuals who have shown outstanding service as their Volunteers of the Year. Please join us to show your support for these amazing volunteers! 


  • Congregation Agudas Israel - Mimica Hyman
  • Congregation Beth Hillel - Carol and David Jalazo
  • Congregation Eitz Chaim - Jerome Spector, Z'l
  • Congregation Eitz Chaim Sisterhood - Entire Sisterhood board; Rochelle Marshall, Rita Wincott, Fran Gordon, Bonnie Brunner, Ellen McNally,    Gail Sullivan, Paula Spector, Vicky Morales, Sheila Ornstein, Alyse Matsil, Linda Siegel, Barbara Fromowitz and Samira Galler 
  • Jewish Federation - Sharon Goldberg
  • Kol Yisrael - Marsha Sobel 
  • Newburgh JCC - Paul Hoffner 
  • Monroe Temple - Stephen Block
  • Monroe Temple Sisterhood - Vicki Kilanowski
  • Temple Beth Jacob - Ilana Lustbader 
  • Temple Beth Jacob Sisterhood - Lynne Arnold
  • Temple Beth Shalom - Shannon Pollock
  • Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood - Janne Sommer
  • Temple Sinai - Geoff Chanin


Bios of the Volunteers can be downloaded here.




Congregation Agudas Israel - Newburgh

Mimica Hyman joined the CAI Board of Trustees in 2018 and has been a powerhouse. She has an amazing talent to think outside the box, and endless energy to work on projects that she proposes. Mimica is the brains and engine behind CAI's annual Bark Mitzvah, which was a stunning success at its premiere last fall, and she has been responsible for bringing speakers to campus to share their heirloom Megillahs and Brit certificates, as well as actors – and congregants - in costume to share the film of Mikado in Yiddish.  Most recently, Mimica proposed and organized a monthly Walking Club which meets on first Tuesdays and a Movie Club which meets, currently via Zoom, to discuss a different film on the second Tuesday of each month. Mimica is currently working on a community Jewish Museum Day to be held on the Kol Campus. Mimica is the epitome of the kind of volunteer every organization dreams of, and Congregation Agudas Israel knows that we are very lucky to have Mimica on our leadership team. CAI recognizes Mimica as our Volunteer of the Year with great gratitude and excitement for the future.


Congregation Beth Hillel - Walden Jewish Community Center

Carol and David Jalazo, their daughter, Lisa, and granddaughter, Lianna, all snuggled together in their pew, singing, praying, enjoying each other’s company on Kabbalat Shabbat services after a long week of work and school. Adoring grandparents and smiles surrounded little Lianna as she learned the prayers and melodies. Slowly Carol and David became fixtures at our shul--always showing up, always sharing a friendly smile and a helping hand to those around them. The Jalazos exude a warmth and gentleness of spirit that puts others at ease. As time passed, our shul has grown to depend on the Jalazos for

their dependability and kindness--as members of the Board of Trustees, as Kiddush Coordinators, as shul pianist, rolling up their sleeves to maintain our building, and for just about any task, large or small. Congregation Beth Hillel/Walden Jewish Community Center gratefully acknowledges the contributions and presence of Carol and David Jalazo in our congregation and as our 2020 Volunteers of the Year


Congregation Eitz Chaim – Monroe

Jerome Spector z’l passed away from Covid 19 on April 25th.  He  was the beloved husband to Paula, father to Sacha (Daphne) and Jennie, grandfather to Talia and Gabriel, brother-in-law to Louise Silver and hundreds of cherished friends.

Jerome was a gentle, talented, learned, creative, fun-loving, selfless, appreciative soul who brought more than his share of beauty into this world. For thirty-eight years, he owned and operated Big Dipper Candles from his home in Chester, NY, making handmade candles selling his wares by making the rounds of craft shows up and down the east coast, and he supplied Jewish community centers, museum gift shops, and synagogues around the world with his distinctive, elegant Chanukah candles, which became an indispensable element of the holiday in countless households. His artist's eye for color and composition showed not just in his candles, but in the many gardens he maintained at home as well as in those he created and maintained for Congregation Eitz Chaim, The Seligmann Center at the Citizens Foundation in Sugar Loaf, NY, the Village of Warwick, NY, and other nearby communities. Plants from his gardens are growing today in dozens of gardens tended by friends and family. He created and built and nourished constantly, whether it was a sculpture out of found objects, a whimsical menorah out of a gourd, a cradle for his children and grandchildren, or the Big Dipper mechanical arm itself.

Jerome grew not just flora, but family and community as well. He was the nucleus of the "Hugs Family", a group of friends who lived communally on an old farmstead outside Bennington, Vermont in the late 1960s. Later, he was part of a weekly card game that met for over forty years, as well as a member of other groups that met for decades. He was an active member of Congregation Eitz Chaim for over forty years. He had a free-wheeling spirit that inspired a life of traveling and spiritual seeking, including hitchhiking trips across the country and to Mexico, freighter passages to Europe and countless trips with his family.

Jerome lived his life without need or desire for recognition. He always acted out of his own quiet but unwavering commitment to Tikkun Olam – that Jewish principle of healing the world. He initiated the Eitz Chaim Snack Program, which ensured that food reached needy children and families regardless of weather or other impediments. For the past eleven years, he volunteered at My Father's Soup Kitchen in Monroe as part of the Eitz Chaim team and represented Congregation Eitz Chaim in the Interfaith Alliance in Southern Orange County.   He was dedicated to a range of environmental efforts as well, in particular the work of the Orange Environment and the Orange County Land Trust. He helped friends and neighbors before they knew they needed help.

His slight frame belied his strength and stamina – for hiking, making music, consuming literature and art, and caring for his grandchildren every week. All this he did most often at the side of his beloved wife, Paula.  Jerome was goodness, light, and love incarnate. He left us too soon and is deeply missed.


Congregation Eitz Chaim Sisterhhod

Rochelle Marshall, Rita Wincott, Fran Gordon, Bonnie Brunner, Ellen McNally,    Gail Sullivan, Paula Spector, Vicky Morales, Sheila Ornstein, Alyse Matsil, Linda Siegel, Barbara Fromowitz and Samira Galler comprise the entire Sisterhood Board. They’ve been on the board for many years and do whatever job needs doing.  They consider themselves well-oiled machine with high regard and respect for each other.


Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County

Sharon Goldberg is retiring from the Jewish Federation board this year after years of dedicated service. She was an active member of our Community Relations Council, and continues to be an important presence on our Zachor Anti-Semitism Initiative. Sharon's passion for honoring the memory of the Holocaust drives her work, from her commitment to our Zachor Committee, to the Monroe Temple Yom Hashoah commemoration, to her service at the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education where she is in training to become a docent. Sharon and her husband Jerry are committed supporters to the work of the Jewish Federation both to the annual campaign, as well as to their family endowment. Mazel tov, Sharon, on this well-deserved honor!


Kol Yisrael

Marsha Sobel is being honored by Kol Yisrael for bringing her vast talents to the table and never missing an opportunity to ask how she can help. 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. Marsha’s career in education starting as a teacher then becoming a principal and retiring as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction allowed her to not only lead in her roles but to teach others the way forward.


Monroe Temple Beth-El

Stephen Block and his wife Shelly and their family have been active members of Monroe Temple for many years.  Stephen has been instrumental in leading or supporting the Temple in many ways including Chairing the Special Arrangements Committee, as well as being a vital and active member of the Long Term Planning Committee and the Budget Committee. His commitment and passion for the continued strength and longevity of Monroel Temple has been vital and very helpful.


Monroe Temple Beth-El Sisterhood

Vicki Kilanowski has served as Sisterhood treasurer for a number of years and works in the Judaica Shop. She is cheerful, kind and a wonderful team player. We love Vicki and we are delighted to name her as our Volunteer of the Year.


Newburgh Jewish Community Center

Paul Hoffner is a man whose triumphs are eclipsed only by his capacity to aid and assist those in need at any time in any way he can. His commitments include:

  • Newburgh Jewish Community Center - Board Member, President (3 terms)
  • Kol Yisrael - Board Member, Treasurer
  • Hospice - Board Member, Buildings & Grounds Chairperson, Golf Committee
  • Powelton Club - Board Member, Bar & Restaurant Chairperson
  • Salisbury Bank - Advisory Board Member
  • Habitat for Humanity - Golf Committee
  • Newburgh Unity Center - Golf Committee
  • Military Appreciation Day Committee Volunteer


Temple Beth Shalom – Florida

Shannon Pollock is always full of energy and ideas, Shannon never fails to lend a hand, take on a project or come up with new ideas. As one of the leads of TBS’ Security Team, she has been instrumental on updating TBS’ security policies, ensuring that we take every possible step in securing our community. Following in the footsteps of her mother, TBS board member and Federation volunteer, Gail Conklin, Shannon is a member of the Board of Trustees and does not shy away from additional responsibilities. She has joined the newly created “Operation Open Shul” team. Her consideration for others is always evident. As a mother of 2 children in Hebrew School, Shannon is always assisting other moms with projects and is the go-to for B’nai Mitzvah parents when they have those “what to do?” questions. Shannon lives in Slate Hill with her husband Kevin and daughters Emma and Olivia. TBS thanks Shannon Pollock for her service to Temple Beth Shalom and the example she presents to the community.


Temple Beth Shalom Sisterhood

Janne Sommer is very supportive and is always ready to lend a hand. She's a wonderful asset to Temple Beth Shalom and Temple Beth Shalom sisterhood. Janne is on the TBS board of directors, having been a TBS member for many years. Janne is always willing to volunteer her time to make any event successful. We are so fortunate to have Janne Sommer as our sisterhood volunteer of the year.


Temple Beth Jacob - Newburgh

Ilana Lustbader is a past Board member and now leads our supermarket certificate program. She is a longtime member of Temple Beth Jacob who never shies away from stressful, and sometimes tedious, work. Her quiet strength and unwavering support have been a vital part of our fundraising efforts over the years. Ilana is a positive, warm, and steadfast supporter of TBJ and we feel honored to have her as part of our community.


Temple Beth Jacob Sisterhood

Lynne Arnold and her husband, Bill, moved to the Town of Newburgh in 2009.  They joined Temple Beth Jacob and Lynne joined the crew selling script at Sunday School.  She became active in the community and became Hadassah president, president of the local Garden Club, and member of the steering committee for Newburgh Illuminated. Lynne is a member of the TBJ choir and acts as choir librarian.  She is a temple board member and chairman of the Ritual Committee.  She is presently first vice president of the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc.


Temple Sinai - Middletown

Geoff Chanin is married to Carla Wise, Past President of Federation and they have four children (combined), one grandchild and five step-grandchildren. Geoff has been a  practicing attorney for 40 years. He has served as Orange County Attorney and as Corporation Counsel for the City of Newburgh and counsel to many towns and villages, including Zoning Board for Town of New Windsor. His fifteen years in private practice include commercial, criminal defense, appeals, family and matrimonial, wills trust and estates, guardianships, land use and zoning, mental hygiene, corporate and not-for-profits, regulatory and code compliance, contracts, civil litigation, real estate, mediation and alternative dispute resolution, and many others. His volunteer work includes twenty-five plus years volunteering on Surrogate Decision-Making Committees (provides legal consent for people with severe developmental disabilities) for NYS Justice Center; twenty-five plus years as counsel to Goshen Humane Society and other animal shelters; volunteer work for Ecclesia Ministries in Newburgh, Temple Sinai and Jewish Federation, among others; pro bono (free) counsel to veterans needing legal assistance; volunteer for Orange County Dispute Resolution Center; many others.

Over the past two years Geoff Chanin has been indispensable to many Temple Sinai committees, the Board of Trustees and our Temple Sinai staff, with his professional knowledge. The following are just a few of his accomplishments: A revised by-laws, revised "Constitution" and handbooks for  Chevra Kadisha, the Cemetery Committee including revised cemetery rules and regulations; draft contracts with Orange County for chaplain services; management of the cemetery investments. He is still working on camera installation at the cemetery.  He has also represented Temple Sinai in various litigation.  He has also continues to provide valuable legal research for the future of Temple Sinai.

Geoff said, “I am gratified by your kindness and I will always be willing to help however I can, as long as I can.  In EVERY case I have ONLY been assisting others who have taken the lead on these several important matters. These people are much more deserving than am I, and I accept this recognition ONLY on their behalf. My philosophy has always been that if I might do some good, the opportunity to do so is a real gift TO ME, not to others. Again, thank you very, very much.”





   Harvey Kallus, President

Hatikvah / National Anthem    Student Rabbi Bena Kane Graber

D’var Torah

   Rabbi Roger Lerner, Monroe Temple Beth-El

Approval of Minutes, 2019 Annual Meeting

President’s Report

   Harvey Kallus

Financial Report

   Jeff Harmer, Treasurer

Slideshow of Events 2019-2020  

Nominating Committee Report & Election

   Steve Rubinsky, Past President

Installation of Trustees

Tribute to Outstanding Volunteers of the Year


   Harvey Kallus

Many thanks to Elizabeth Frederick, Zoom expert extraordinaire!