Sophia Maier, Highland Mills:
Sophia completed her freshman year at Fordham University. Throughout high school she volunteered at Monroe Temple’s Religious School and was highly involved with her temple youth group, serving as President in 2018. In college, she works at Temple Emanu-El's Religious School and is an active member of Fordham's Jewish Student Organization, which she will serve as Vice President of next fall. Outside of Jewish life, Sophia spends her time reading about history and politics and tutoring low-income students in the Bronx.
Sarah Shamah, Rock Hill:
Sarah is a senior at Monticello High School, where she is Valedictorian of her class. She is involved in many extracurriculars, but her favorites are community service groups and projects. Sarah ia a Varsity Alpine Ski Racer and Golfer and Scholar Athlete. Next year she plans on studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas. Every Sunday Sarah volunteered with the pre-school Hebrew school class at Temple Sinai in Middletown. She has written a children's book about tolerance and acceptance, in response to anti-semitism in her school. The book is on its way to being published and implemented in Orange County schools.
Kiowa Pratt-Gordon, Warwick:
Kiowa was raised in the Temple Beth El community and began her teaching career at Temple Beth Shalom where she taught Hebrew school and tutored bar mitzvah students. She took her lessons of Tikkun Olam and went on to teach in the Women’s Studies Department at the University at Albany. Later, she served in the United States Peace Corps where she worked with the Department of Education to improve the teaching methodology of teachers in rural Mongolia. She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to work with university professionals and displaced populations in Colombia, South America. She recently graduated from Harvard University with a masters degree in Education Policy and Management. Kiowa now works for an international education technology group that provides for the needs of English learners abroad.
Aviva Snyder, Highland Mills:
Aviva is Hillel International’s Campus Support Director, helping a portfolio of 14 campuses in the Northeast and New England drive excellence on campus. Aviva began her career at Hillel in 2002, serving her alma mater, University of Albany, first as the Hillel’s Jewish Student Life Coordinator, and eventually becoming Executive Director. During her tenure there, she grew the Hillel from a small program to engagement of approximately 2,000 students and a new board of directors. She developed award-winning campus and community partnerships and a strong relationship with Hillel International and other national organizations. In 2009, she joined the Talent department of Hillel’s Schusterman International Center. In her role as Director for Talent Acquisition, she has guided countless current Hillel directors, local boards and universities through the process of selection and placement of senior leaders. She has been instrumental in revamping the recruitment strategy and process including new tools, resources, training and best practices for hiring managers. She has served as faculty for New Professionals Institute as a field professional and served as team leader for New Directors Institute to train professionals for the field. In her current role, she builds strategies with campus Hillel staff, lay leadership, funders, students, university partners and community stakeholders to help the Hillel excel. In addition to her degree in Jewish Studies and archeology, Aviva spent a year in Israel as part of Young Judea Year Course. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, where you will catch her running marathons, half marathons and chasing after her daughter, Noa.
Paula Blumenau, Middletown:
Paula has spent most of her life in Orange County. As a two term President of Temple Sinai she has focused on community engagement and strengthening security in the building. In nine years as a program director and Coordinator with Jewish Family Service, she has trained hundreds of Friendy Visitor Program volunteers, provided engaging programs for Holocaust Survivors, and led the JFS KidsConnect Camp. Paula is serving her third term as a Board of Education member for the Enlarged City School District of Middletown. She and her husband, Eric, live in the Town of Walkill and will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this June. Their sons, Tyler and Seth, have chosen to live in the warmer weather of Charlotte, North Carolina. Paula's strong sense of family and community culminates with her continued dedication to keeping her Jewish heritage alive and thriving in all that she does.
Gail Oliver, Newburgh:
Gail served as President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, chair of the Social Action Committee of Temple Beth Jacob in Newburgh for over 20 years, President of the Noar of Newburgh chapter of Hadassah, and Grassroots Fundraising Chair for the Lower New York State Region of Hadassah. Professionally, she served as director of Volunteers at Westchester ARC and the coordinator of the Westchester Jewish Community Services’ Havorah program, which served Jewish adults and children with developmental and intellectual challenges. Gail clearly embraces the spirit of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Through her tireless recruitment of volunteers and donors to the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, she has helped hundreds of caring people to engage the best parts of themselves. In doing so, she has benefited them, as well as everyone they have helped.
Carol Levine, Goshen:
Carol began her involvement with Federation as a member of Young Leadership of Orange County. Currently she serves on the Endowment Committee, which was founded by her late husband, Harold, z'l. She is a Federation Lion of Judah, part of the most dynamic philanthropic Jewish women in the world, comprised of strong women of all ages. They are an international sisterhood of thousands of global activists who care deeply about the Jewish future. For many years, Carol was a member of Temple Sinai's Board of Education and President of the Middletown Day Nursery. Her past affiliations include membership in the Juniior League and a board member of her NYC co-op.
Lorraine Wernow, Marlboro:
When “The Jewish Ladies” came to do Hair and Beauty Makeovers” at ARC where she was working as a Social Worker, Lorraine participated as a volunteer. She continued to be part of the group after retiring. For many years she was a volunteer for Orange and Sullivan Hospice, Inc. Program. For several years Lorraine served as the treasurer for the Hearing Loss Association of America, Midhudson Chapter. She assisted with their Annual Walk 4 Hearing and set up remote captioning for their meetings. Lorraine is an avid volunteer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County and the Gift of Life Drive Marrow Drives in her area.