Marvin and Evelyn Abramowitz
The fund was established to memorialize a special couple who had contributed to their own Jewish community and Jews around the world. The monies that the fund generates will help support the valuable efforts of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, as well as the important work of the Hadassah Medical Organization.
Background written by Gail Abramowitz Oliver
When my mom passed away, my sister Joan and I were faced with a decision. How could we memorialize our parents in a way that would have true meaning? The synagogue they belonged to for many years in Flushing had closed its doors, so that was not an option. To buy a memorial plaque in a temple that they had not been members of seemed pointless. Our parents were both very charitable people who had supported their own Jewish community, as well as Jews around the world. Our mother, in her last years, had worked hard as a volunteer for the Jewish Federation in Orange County, recognizing their good work – whether it was to rescue Jews in need or to provide local children with the opportunity to go to a Jewish camp. She was even recognized as JFOGOC’s “Volunteer of the Year.” Mom was very proud of this honor and her certificate was proudly displayed on the wall of her apartment! With that in mind, it made perfect sense to establish an endowment fund in memory of our parents. Through the good work of Federation this fund will assist the elderly, fight anti-Semitism and enrich the lives of Jews everywhere. I encourage everyone to consider making a similar decision when the time comes. It is the memorial gift that keeps on giving.
Dr. Martin Altchek
Dr. and Mrs. Altchek settled in Middletown in the 1950s from New York City. His extended family had a long commitment to Zionism and Jewish causes. They continued this support through their giving to our Federation. This endowment extends this commitment in perpetuity.
Jessica and Jack Blinkoff
Mr. and Mrs. Blinkoff made their first of several trips to Israel in the early 1950s. They maintained a close connection to Israel since that time and realized the importance of having our young people visit Israel to appreciate our heritage. The recognized a Jewish education needs the Israel component to solidify their commitment. The scholarship is a reflection of this belief.
Celia and Bernard Brickman
"Bernie" Brickman moved to Newburgh after WWII to open an Army-Navy store. He became involved in the local Jewish community and was a longtime supporter of the NJCC, UJA, Hadassah, and his temple. He was a tireless fundraiser for all these organizations and wanted his support to continue beyond his lifetime.
Pearl Cohn was an active member of the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism. She was born in Lod, Israel and immigrated to America. She and her husband, Harry settled in Monroe, established a dental laboratory and reared their family. When Pearl passed away her family and friends created a fund, which was dedicated to encouraging America’s youth to visit Israel to participate in educational seminars, conventions and other learning experiences.
Background written by her daughter:
My mom was born to Batya and Josef Glazer in Lod, Israel, on March 23, 1949. Her family lived in Israel for nearly 15 years. Just after my mother's 13th birthday in 1962, the Glazer family boarded a ship and set out on a two-week journey to America. The family settled on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx, NY.
Israel was always close to mom's heart and she kept Israeli culture alive in our home. We were fortunate enough to taste some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and to listen to popular Israeli rock. My mom attended Taft High School in the Bronx and graduated in 1967. Following graduation, she studied phlebotomy at the New York State Career Academy. I am often told that my mom was one of the most talented phlebotomists at Westchester Square Hospital where she worked for 8 years. In more recent years, I remember her waking up early in the morning to participate in many of AMBA's Wellness Programs in local high schools.
My mother's life changed in October 1972, when she met my father at a popular Manhattan hangout. Many of her friends remember that night and recall her words as she looked over at my dad, "You see that man over there; I'm going to marry him." The love story continued when, two weeks later, my mom and dad were engaged. On July 7th of the following year, Pearl and Harry were married. After the birth of my brother, Michael, our family moved upstate to Monroe. I was born 18 months after Michael in 1977. After moving to Monroe, my parents worked together as their dental laboratory grew. They worked for over 20 years building the prosperous business that still exists in Monroe today.
My mom's true love was our family: she was a devoted wife and caring mother. Together, my parents built a warm, loving, and close family. I cannot imagine a more caring and nurturing environment to grow up in. My mother and father offered Michael and me support, encouragement, and love. My mom was engaged in our lives at school and other activities. I remember her involvement in the all-night graduation parties in high school and the times she brought the entire tennis team hot chocolate and homemade cookies to the courts on cold, October afternoons.
I remember the hospitality she extended to thirteen teenage guests during a Winter Conclave hosted by our temple. And I vividly remember smiling at her from the sea of graduation caps at Emory last May. I remember how much she loved to be a mom.
Friendship was important to my mom too, and she surrounded herself with many wonderful people. I remember the weekly Mahjongg game with "the girls." Wednesday evening was movie night, and Saturday filled with a day trip and dinner. My mom loved to travel and explore. She loved to cook, bake, sew, and garden. She even dabbled in ceramics and painting. My mother was a creative woman and she loved to decorate and make our home beautiful. Judaism was an important part of my mom's identity and she brought Jewish values to our home. My mom kept a kosher kitchen and lit Shabbat candles every Friday night. On Hanukkah our family would light the candles and sing Ma'oz Tzur. I can still smell the potato latkes and matzah brei on Pesach.
As Monroe Temple members since 1980, my mother played an important role in our local Jewish community. Her presence at Senior Youth Group functions, fund raisers, Sisterhood meetings, and Friday night services will be missed. My mother taught me how to braid my hair. She taught me how to be nice to other children in school who didn't have many friends. Mom taught me how to prepare a good lunch for school and how to balance my checkbook. She taught me how to be a good daughter and a respectful granddaughter. My mom taught me to cherish my Jewish heritage. And she taught me how to love. One day, I will teach my children about my wonderful, remarkable mother and I will pass on the life lessons I learned from her.
The income from the Pearl Cohn Endowment is used to help students study in Israel.
Background written by Michael Gittelsohn
Several months ago an endowment fund was established in the name of the Gittelsohn Family. The creation of the fund was principally inspired by the memory of my Father, Bernard B Gittelsohn or Ben, as he was known to his friends and his commitment to the survival of Jewish institutions and the State of Israel. My father was a kind and courtly man who was highly regarded by all who knew him. From outward appearances his life seemed profoundly conventional. He was devoted to his wife Ette and his three children, Stanley, Helen and myself, the baby. A milliner by trade, he spent much time on the road selling his line of ladies hats which he transported, in big, black, cylindrical boxes from one city of the country to the next and from department store or exclusive millinery shop to another, In the eyes of most everyone, my father was just another traveling salesman struggling to eke out a modest living to support his growing family. It appears, however that there may have been another side to my father, a side unknown to me but revealed to me in recent years by my sister.
The year was 1946 or 47, just prior to the recognition of Israel as a sovereign state. It was a period when the land mass known as Palestine was governed by British authorities, who in an attempt to curry favor with the oil rich Arab states were blocking all efforts by Europe's displaced Jewish population of gaining entry. It was a time when a terrorist organization known as the Irgun was reigning havoc on the British occupiers by visiting acts of violence upon their installations and its administrative facilities. It was also a period when preparations were being made for the eventual war that was to occur when the British forces would leave the area.
At the time, my sister was a teenager and I a mere child living with our parents in an attached row house in Forest Hills, Queens. The house also had a tiny finished basement where volumes of books were ensconced on wall to wall floor to ceiling shelves as a testament to the three book societies in which my father belonged. One of which was the Jewish Literary Guild. Occasionally, the big black hat boxes would materialize in anticipation of one of the innumerable sales trips my father would make in the course of the year.
One day, on an Impulse of curiosity my sister decided to open one of the boxes to examine the pretty hats my father was taking on his trip. She was surprised to find, among the hats, what appeared to be parts of revolvers and other similar type weaponry. Almost at the instance the contents of the box revealed itself, my father’s voice exploded from the staircase that descended to the basement. My sister who was the apple of my father’s eye was never, to my knowledge disciplined or a cross word said to her by my father. In his eyes she could do no wrong. As my sister relates the story, on this singular occasion she was admonished in no uncertain terms never to reveal to anyone what she saw and never to uncover these boxes again. After this incident, she does not recall seeing those boxes in our house again. This event seemed to have passed into the deep recesses of my sister’s memory when, long after, one of many books or publications surfaced which pricked her memory while retelling the story of the birth of the State of Israel This particular book whose name and author cannot now be recalled has since disappeared. This notwithstanding, its existence and contents is verified not only by my sister but also my brother in law who read the book and apparently loaned it to someone who never returned it. The book tells of the intrigues and plotting that occurred in cells throughout the United States to funnel arms
into Palestine. The book also contained a passage entitled "The Ten Men" or words to this effect which told the story of a group of men who would congregate at the home of a certain "Mr. G" ostensibly to create a minyan for prayer. Instead, deposits would be made of parts of weapons which would be clandestinely shipped into Palestine where they would be reassembled. My sister recalls the periodic meetings of men at our house but for what purpose or what end she either does not know or can't recollect.
Whether such events occurred or that such publication exists I cannot personally substantiate. What I do know is that my father was always involved in causes that supported the State of Israel and Jewish ideals. My sister has also informed me of her personal knowledge of a trip my father and mother made to Israel shortly after its statehood had been established where he was honored by the Kinesset, Israel's governing agency.
While I was too young to recall the details or the circumstances, I do have a visual recollection of a picture showing my father being recognized by the UJA for his fundraising activities with several dignitaries, including among them the multi-talented icon of the entertainment industry at the time, Eddie Cantor. I am also aware of the involvement of my father in fundraising for the establishment of the Forest Hills Jewish Center which was at the time one of the foremost state of the art synagogues in the United States.
As a child I was either unaware or unconcerned with my father’s dedication and commitment to Judaism. For me, I was more impressed with the reverence his employees showed him by affectionately referring to him as Mr. G and how at the local restaurant on East 39th Street where the milliners would congregate how they would tip their hats to him or shake his hand when he entered. I never fully understood the allure he had that made people respect him so much. After all he was just another salesman schlepping his wares from one venue to another. Maybe he was special for reasons I didn't know or appreciate. For me he was special because he was my Dad.
As a footnote to the story, last May my daughter Cindy married a young man who was born and raised on a Kibbutz in Israel. My Dad would have been proud to know that his efforts have borne fruit He would be equally proud to know that this endowment which would have been so meaningful to him would be established in the name of his family.
Green Family Endowment Fund
When we moved to Orange County we did what most young Jewish families do, joined a synagogue, and tapped into the local Jewish community for friendship, information, and support. However, we were not very informed about Jewish Federation and all they do for our Jewish community, here in Orange County, in Israel and the world over.
Fast forward a few years, we were the parents of 3 young children, the oldest of whom was ready to enter kindergarten. One of our priorities was sending our children to Hebrew Day School. We searched for a school with a good secular curriculum, strong Zionist values, that would instill a love of Judaism and teach our children to speak contemporary Hebrew fluently, so that they could converse and study the core texts in the original. There was no Day School in Orange County, but we found exactly what we had been looking for in Rockland County. As two working parents, our schedules made transporting our children logistically impossible without a bus. Tuition for HDS being steep as it is, Orange County parents interested in HDS could not afford to hire a private bus. Federation stepped in with a significant grant; the school and HDS parents paid the remainder of the costs. In addition, Federation established a Day School scholarship, whose committee I joined. Federation’s generosity has enabled nearly 50 children to attend Day School! When some of these families decided to continue Day School education into the High School years, Federation assisted us with a grant for the bus to the Westchester Solomon Schechter High School in Hartsdale. Our children attended Jewish summer camps and traveled to Israel as Day School students and later as Birthright participants. All these immersive experiences are supported in part by Jewish Federations and have had a profound impact on our children and our family. As time went on, as we became more involved, we learned of the extraordinary impact of the 146 Jewish Federations across North America, in Israel and in more than 70 countries around the world.
Jewish tradition teaches that one of our main responsibilities is to make the world a better place for future generations. Establishing an endowment is our way to demonstrate our confidence in the continuity of Jewish life for generations to come. This Jewish community gave to us in our time of need and has enriched our lives in so many ways. We hope that our endowment will, in some small way, similarly enrich the lives of Jewish families all across Orange County, no matter what their needs.
Esther and Falk Levine
Mr. and Mrs. Levine moved to Middletown in 1936. They involved themselves in Jewish community activities from the outset. Mr. Levine was a past chairman of the old UJA campaign in the 1940s. They made several trips to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. Their fund was created to continue their support for our local senior citizens programs run by Jewish Family Service.
Florence and Jacques Levine
Florence was the second president of the Federation in 1978 and one of its founders together with many others from Middletown and Newburgh. This commitment led her to purchase a life insurance policy, which upon her death became her Memorial Endowment fund. Florence's strong commitment to Israel and Jewish continuity is the reason the beneficiary is the Federation Jewish summer camp scholarship program.
Susan and George M. Levy Endowment Fund
My interest in Jewish Federation goes back to before I was born. My father, Dr. Joseph R. Levy, was a very giving person. As I grew up, I learned from him the values of a Jewish life. He was my role model. He served his synagogue as its President and was a donor in what was then called UJA, the United Jewish Appeal.
After my marriage to Susan and our move to Syracuse, New York, I served on the Board of Temple Concord. I was also active musically there, singing and playing the guitar for events. After moving to Newburgh, we became active at Temple Beth Jacob and I continued my interest in serving on the Board. I became President of the Temple and continued my dedication to the synagogue. I was asked to become President a second time when the synagogue ran into financial problems. I served that term and continue to this day to sing and play guitar at services and special events. Susan followed and became President of TBJ as well.
We also gave our time to Federation. I by doing the teaching of those who were to make donor calls on Super Sunday and Susan by volunteering on Super Sunday. We did that each year for many years. Although I never served on the Federation Board due to work responsibilities, we believe in the work that the Federation does locally, in America and abroad and we want to support it. Our endowment accomplishes that for now and all time.
Boris and Alla Lipkin
When Federations across the country began to participate in welcoming and hosting Soviet Jewish immigrants to their communities, our little Orange County Federation rose to the occasion as well and welcomed a new family from the Soviet Union, Ukraine. Alla and Boris Lipkin arrived in Newburgh on June 22, 1978 with their son Dmitry. They were the first family of Soviet Jews to be welcomed by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County and ultimately paved the way for other Russian Jewish families to come to this area.
Initially, like any new immigrant family, life was not easy for the Lipkin family, as they had to adapt to a new culture, new living arrangements, new people and learn a new language. Alla was an accomplished concert pianist and began teaching privately, ultimately, becoming a music professor at SUNY, Ulster County Community College. She also spent a lot of her time volunteering for various organizations, teaching underprivileged kids and adults the art of playing the piano. Boris was an electrical engineer in Russia and obtained his first job in America working in a factory assembling transformers. Shortly thereafter, he found a position with IBM and spent 15 yrs working in East Fishkill, NY. In 1992, Boris accepted an offer to become a vice president of a semiconductor company in Silicon Valley, California and the family moved. Since then, he has held various senior executive level positions with various high-tech companies, including most recently with Therma-Wave, where he was the president and CEO. Currently, he is a venture partner with a venture capital firm. In 2005, Boris was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor - presented each year to a foreign-born US citizen for extraordinary service to the United States and the international business community. Their son Dmitry, graduated from Hartwick College, and was the first member of the family to move to California in 1991 to attend law school. He remains in California with his wife Kiersten, and also works in the high-tech industry as a marketing executive. The Lipkin family is extremely grateful to all of the wonderful and generous people that helped them assimilate and become a part of the Jewish community of Orange County. There are way too many names to mention, but those people know exactly who they are. It wasn't easy, but it was well worth it, and the Lipkin family will always consider Newburgh as their "home."
Throughout the time the Lipkin family lived in Newburgh, NY (15 yrs.), they played a key role in the Jewish community by volunteering their time and sharing their expertise in helping other families settle into their new country. In 2003, the Lipkins celebrated 25 years of coming to USA, which was organized by Karen Levin and other families that played an important part in their lives. In the spirit of giving back, the Lipkin Family set up an Endowment Fund with our Federation. Living in California, they continue to give back to their community by participating in various charities and volunteer their time with different organizations - it's about giving back to the community and helping others achieve the "American Dream."
This year, Boris and Alla Lipkin chaired the San Francisco Bay Area’s 9th Annual Emigre Community Gala, one of the largest philanthropic events organized by the Russian-speaking Jewish community nationally. This elegant evening supports services to emigres from the former Soviet Union provided by Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma counties. Under the Lipkins’ leadership, this year’s Emigre Community Gala was the most successful ever, raising $450,000 to support families devastated by the economic crisis, provide scholarships for youth, care for frail seniors, and help children who have sustained trauma—in the Bay Area, as well as in Israel.
The Jewish Federation of greater Orange County is so very proud of the Lipkin family and the commitment they have made to share their good fortune with various ethnic and religious communities not only in America, but throughout the world.
As the trustee of the Ida Lipschutz Trust under the will of Dr. Paul C. Lipschutz, it was a pleasure for me to fulfill one of Paul's wishes by remitting a check of $450,000 to the Jewish Federation of Orange County as a partial distribution of the funds entrusted to me.
Although Paul was not a deeply religious man, he was very proud of his "Jewishness". When he was about 55 years old he decided that he wanted to become a part of the High Holiday services so he engaged the cantor in Middletown to teach him how to chant from the Torah. I can still recall the pride and joy he experienced as he stood before the congregation and chanted the maftir about Jonah and the whale on the afternoon of Yom Kippur.
Paul went to school in Middletown and after graduating from Middletown High School he went to the University of Michigan Medical School. He came from a family of humble means and, while going to school, he earned money by peddling fruits and vegetables from a pushcart. He received a scholarship from the University of Michigan to help with his tuition and, true to form; a large legacy from the trust went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan to set up scholarships for needy students.
After the war Dr. Lipschutz set up a general practice in Middletown. His patients loved him and he thrived. He always told his friends that, instead of coming in the front door, they should come in the back door and he would see them sooner. However, he had so many friends that the back office was jammed and the front office was empty.
In 1974, at the age of 60, Dr. Lipschutz went back to college after deciding he wanted to specialize in Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and, in 1975, he passed the Boards and practiced these specialties until his retirement.
I do believe that his warmth for the Jewish Federation did come from his numerous discussions with Florence Levine about the Federation, its goals and its need for funds to fulfill those goals.
In a recent discussion with Harold Levine, mention was made about memorializing Dr. Lipschutz perhaps by a lecture series or film series about Israel and Judaism in his name, and I think that would be a fitting memorial and Paul would have liked that.
Dr. Kurt Metzger, Rabbi
Rabbi, Dr.Kurt Metzger assumed the pulpit of the Monroe Temple of Liberal Judaism in 1973 and ascended to the role of Rabbi Emeritus in 1985. His years as spiritual leader were marked by increased community vitality and growth. His widow, Mrs. Lori Metzger, an active participant in Temple life established a charitable Gift Annuity which provides her income for life and creates a permanent Federation legacy in Rabbi Metzger's memory.
Paul Neal Ornstein was a gentle and devout soul who devoted considerable energy and love to his family, synagogue and community. He was dedicated to his Conservative Jewish faith and Congregation Eitz Chaim which he helped found. Paul served as both the synagogue’s president and Men’s Club president. He was also active in all Jewish causes and served on the board of the Orange County Jewish Federation.
Paul was a partner in the law firm of Levinson, Reineke & Ornstein of Central Valley, N.Y. and was a graduate of Binghamton University and Fordham Law School. He previously worked as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. He became partner at his Central Valley firm after working three years with Lynch & Lynch in Greenwood Lake as well as with attorney George Craig in Cornwall. Paul always showed great compassion when working with his clients as well as in court. His partner, David Levinson, described Paul as a “real gentleman” and fellow attorney, Ben Ostrer, described him as a “sweet, sweet man.” Lastly, Paul was described by Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, former Rabbi of Congregation Eitz Chaim, as a “deeply righteous man who “lived faithfully but never boasted about his faith.”
Paul’s family is creating this endowment in Paul’s name but also in honor of the two grandsons he never had the joy to know: Paul Andrew Weil and Joss Nathaniel Weil. They would have loved to know the grandfather who loved golf, theater, American History, travel…and the Simpsons.
Charlotte and Joel Schulhof
Mr. and Mrs. Schulhof arrived in Middletown during the 1950s after a long, dangerous, and circuitous journey after escaping Nazi controlled Czechoslovakia. Their immediate involvement in their adopted home led to a 50-year commitment to the local Jewish community and Israel. As one of the Federation's founders this endowment represents his lifelong support of our mission and programs.
Morris and Estelle Spivack
Estelle and Morris Spivack lived in the Monroe area for many years. They originally owned and operated one of the many bungalow colonies prevalent in Monroe during the 40'and 50’s, and when this unique vacation concept began to fade as a viable business, Morris became a successful real estate broker in Monroe. They retired to Florida and tragically died at the same sad moment. Their wills bequeathed the Federation a large sum of money as an endowment, which will help fund the philanthropic mission of Federation in perpetuity.
Glorya Covel Smith
Written by Glorya Covel Smith, Of Blessed Memory
How did I come to Judaism? Well, the Reform movement will tell you I was born to it, which is probably true. But, 77 years ago that was not the case. My story is rather prosaic, not filled with days and months of deep soul searching or with any intentions of converting over the years.
I come from an interfaith family; my father was an English Jew and my mother an Irish Catholic. I grew up having to take off from school on the Jewish holidays, first two and last two days of Passover, two days of Rosh HaShana, and Yom Kippur; we also had a Seder at Passover, though not into the night. And we had a Christmas tree and Easter eggs, but that was the extent of observing any Christian holidays. My parents seemed to think I was being brought up in both faiths, but that was not really so, which I realized when I grew into adulthood. I was a very intense atheist for many years, but then I know Jews who are atheists. The interesting part is that when I moved to Spring Valley and started working in Orange County, my peers all assumed that I was Jewish. So, I let it be.
In 1983 I read an article in the Photo News about “Volunteers for Israel.” I calculated some expenses and figured that if I volunteered, and took bus tours, I would not only see as much of Israel as I could, but I could live on pasta and various types of chili for the ensuing year. It would enable me to fulfill a lifelong yearning to go to Israel. My reasons for volunteering were not exactly altruistic, but Israel benefitted and so did I.
While there, I discovered that I was the one working the hardest. In anger one day I said, "You all annoy me no end. You do practically no work, but I work my fingers to the bone and you do not even consider me a Jew." Well, later that day a woman told me that the Reform Movement would recognize me through my father.
When I came home, the very first thing I did was call the HUAC and find out what was needed for me to be recognized through my father. I had already fulfilled two of the requirements, and study and affiliation with a Temple were all that remained. I then called one of our Temple members who taught Hebrew, (I forget how I knew that,) but she only taught prayer Hebrew. So I called around and found that there was Ulpan in New York City and for the next three years went every Sunday into Manhattan for study. Having no one with whom to speak Hebrew, my reading and writing skills were enhanced but not my speaking skills. I have also studied for three years at Melton, in Rockland, at Rockland Community College, and at a slew of Adult Education courses given at the Temple.
I returned the following year (1984) with my daughter on the Volunteers for Israel program, and in 1986 I went with another volunteer program to teach English to Ethopian Jews. In 1989 I was planning my daughter's wedding and decided it was an appropriate time for me to join the Temple, which I did. I am still a member 20 years later, and am very active.