Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 2023 Volunteers of the Year
RecognitionTikkun olam

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle 2023 Volunteers of the Year

Their stories are inspirational

The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is proud to present the Volunteers of the Year for 2023. Their stories are incredibly inspirational. We hope you enjoy reading about the wonderful work these volunteers perform in our community.

Ally Berger

Adat Shalom
Allison (Ally) Berger, a third-year member of the Adat Shalom board, is the chair of the facility committee. She developed a strategic plan for the building, which was a herculean task accomplished with tenacity and expertise. Her frequent refrain of “How can I help?”, is followed by action. Her devotion to Adat Shalom is evident with regular minyan attendance and ongoing assistance in the Chanukah and Purim carnivals. Ally is also a frequent and enthusiastic runner in our annual Chanukah torch run. We are very honored to recognize Ally Berger as our outstanding Volunteer of the Year.

Rick Karp

Beth El Congregation of the South Hills
Rick Karp joined Beth El virtually from Altoona before moving to Pittsburgh with his wife, Sue. He has become a member extraordinaire, participating daily at morning and evening minyanim and weekly at bingo. Rick is a regular at adult education programming and on Shabbat and holidays where he reads Torah, blows shofar and helps lead services. Rick was elected to the board of trustees and is a new member of the ritual committee. Beth El is strengthened by the gift of Rick’s time and talent that he willingly shares.

Stephen Neustein

Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation
Stephen Neustein is currently the assistant treasurer and a lifetime trustee of Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation. He is a regular participant in our minyanim, and is a manager for our security grant programs. He also represented the congregation, pro bono, when over 100 of our cemetery monuments were vandalized in 2011. Stephen is the president of Zionist Organization of America – Pittsburgh District, is a past treasurer and vice president of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs International, and serves on other boards. Stephen received his Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from Pitt and has been a sole practitioner of law in Pittsburgh for 46 years.

Karen Beaudway

Beth Samuel Jewish Center
Karen Beaudway, Beth Samuel’s past president, has worked hard to sustain engagement as our congregation has emerged from COVID restrictions. Karen serves on the board and is a Hebrew teacher and tutor, helping to prepare students for their b’nai mitzvah year-round. As events committee chair, she works tirelessly to raise funds and friends through the Chanukah party and auction, the Purim carnival and a community rummage sale. Each event is a mammoth undertaking, and Karen runs them all cheerfully. Her lovely voice can be heard during Shabbat services and High Holy Days, when she helps to lead services and chant Torah. Beth Samuel is delighted to recognize Karen!

Joseph Jolson

Congregation Beth Shalom
Joseph Jolson moved to Pittsburgh in 1992, with his wife, Sabina, and their children Michael and Ilana. Since then, Joe has regularly attended Congregation Beth Shalom’s Saturday morning services and annual meetings. He has been a member of the board of trustees since 2013 and holds the position of VP of operations. In this role, he is responsible for upgrades to the facility and reducing the building’s carbon footprint. He spearheaded the cornice replacement project that eliminated the safety hazard that surrounded the sanctuary building. He serves on the finance committee, house committee, budget subcommittee and investment subcommittee. He was the driving force behind Beth Shalom’s Journey of the Spirit trip to Israel.

Cheryl Fogarty

The Branch (JRS)
Cheryl Fogarty is a longtime member of the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse advisory committee and The Branch board. A devoted volunteer who takes a personal interest in Clubhouse colleagues, Cheryl has done one-on-one tutoring, managed the colleague event committee for our annual fundraiser, took a leading role in establishing an education committee in the Clubhouse, and much more. Cheryl is wise, compassionate and always respectful to the people we serve. She has a deep understanding of our program goals and is a staunch advocate for individuals with disabilities. We deeply appreciate the time, energy and enthusiasm she brings to The Branch!

Greg Friedland

Chabad of Monroeville
Our Volunteer of the Year, Greg Friedland, selflessly dedicates his time and services to our community on a regular basis. His tireless efforts and passion for making a positive impact inspires us all. His joyful personality and his effort to include others make our community stronger and more vibrant. On behalf of Chabad of Monroeville, we thank him for being a beacon of generosity and kindness. We are truly grateful for his invaluable contributions.

Adah Pincus Schall

Chabad of the South Hills
Adah Pincus Schall is someone who cares deeply about the growth of Judaism in the South Hills. She especially enjoys working with the senior community. She is gracious and welcoming to the seniors at our monthly luncheons. Her warm words and helpful gestures make the seniors so comfortable. Adah brings special additions to women’s and children’s programs to help make them special. We are happy to give Adah the honor of being our Volunteer of the Year.

Jed Cohen

Chabad of Squirrel Hill
Our Volunteer of the Year is Jed Cohen. Chabad of Squirrel Hill is in the midst of major building renovations to create a new, modern space for all of its activities. Jed has taken a lead role in advising and directing the project as it continues to develop and progress, from the planning stages through choosing a contractor and beginning the construction process. Without Jed’s help and dedication, we would not be able to make this happen.

Max Sussman

Chabad Young Professionals
Max Sussman, a dedicated member of Chabad Young Professionals, stands out as the heart of our community. His unwavering commitment is evident through his role as the gabbai at the CYP Shul and his consistent volunteerism, always helping in any way he can. Max’s impact extends beyond our walls as he selflessly served as an ambassador of light during Chanukah, ensuring that every Jew in Pittsburgh had access to menorahs and candles. His passion for community makes him a role model to all and a deserving honoree for Volunteer of the Year, embodying the spirit of kindness and generosity.

Judith Ehrenwerth

Classrooms Without Borders
Classrooms Without Borders is proud to recognize Judith Ehrenwerth as our Volunteer of the Year for 2023. Judy’s warm smile and positive outlook brighten up the office whenever she’s there, and she even manages to light up many a Zoom meeting with her presence. A longtime ambassador and supporter of CWB, she has served as a valued member of our fundraising committee and our advisory board, graciously offering her expertise and experience. Judy doesn’t shy away from more mundane tasks either. She is ready at a moment’s notice to stuff envelopes and is not afraid to shlep a stack of packages to the post office to make sure our seminar participants receive materials in a timely manner. We are so grateful to Judy for her dedication to our mission and honored to have her as part of the CWB mishpochah.

Haleigh Bartos
Rachel Albert

Community Day School
Community Day School is proud to recognize Haleigh Bartos and Rachel Albert as our Volunteers of the Year. Haleigh and Rachel are our Lion’s Pride (vintage uniform clothing shop) coordinators this year and have spent countless hours organizing and cleaning the store to ensure our parents and community shoppers have an easy and fun shopping experience. They are both active volunteers on the Parent Association leadership team, where they contribute to the success of our schoolwide and grade level experiences. Rachel is also a proud alum of CDS! Her love for this school runs deep, and she’s pouring that passion back in to make sure the next generation has the same incredible experience she had. Haleigh has been a big supporter of CDS’ security initiatives, and her dedication to the school community is greatly appreciated.

Emily Perlow

Friendship Circle

The Friendship Circle would like to recognize Emily Perlow for her dedication to FC over the years. Emily started volunteering at FC while she was in college and has remained highly engaged since. Emily has always stepped up for different opportunities, including serving on the Friends All Around committee. In this role, she spearheaded the auction for the Friends All Around fundraising event, which keeps growing year after year. Emily now lends her skills and expertise to FC’s Junior Friends program, of which her son is a member.

Randi Weinstein

Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh
Since 2019, Randi Weinstein has served on the board of directors at Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh. She has shared her passion for HFL with valuable stakeholders and works on HFL’s mission to support financial stability and advance opportunities for people in our community by providing interest-free loans. In 2023, Randi led the nominating committee to bring on eight new directors and she always uses her thoughtfulness, kindness and experiences to consider every loan application. A vice president of residential lending at Dollar Bank and a member (and teacher) of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, Randi is married to Ellis, proud mom of two, and a kvelling first-time grandma in 2023! She also proudly serves in memory of her father, Arthur Spiegel, who was on the board years ago.

Avital Goldwasser

Hillel Academy
Avital Goldwasser has been an integral part of the Hillel Academy community for the past five years. In addition to her role on our board of directors, Avital has volunteered in numerous capacities for our school community. Avital arranges school uniform sales to raise funds to purchase gifts to our teachers and is an integral organizer of our parent ambassador program, which coordinates social events among our parent body. In addition, she coaches our fifth- and sixth-grade
girls’ basketball team. We are very grateful for her commitment to our school.

Adrienne Indianer

Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center
Adrienne Indianer’s dedication to Hillel JUC’s vision of a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel is the reason she is Hillel JUC’s Volunteer of the Year. Adrienne has been involved with Hillel JUC for close to a decade, and her role as chair of the governance and nominations committees and her participation on the finance committee has been invaluable. Adrienne is extremely active in the Pittsburgh Jewish community and is also a registered representative for Israel Bonds. Hillel JUC is thankful for Adrienne’s love of Campus Superstar, her sage advice as a board member and her enthusiasm for, and dedication to, Hillel JUC’s students and staff.

Lee Goldman Kikel

Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh
Lee Goldman Kikel shares her father Melvin’s story of surviving Auschwitz and starting anew in Pittsburgh as part of the Holocaust Center’s Generations Speakers Bureau. Lee regularly speaks to audiences ranging from middle school students through senior citizens. By telling her father’s story, she is not only keeping his memory alive, but also educating so many about the Holocaust, while encouraging discussion and understanding among diverse groups. In 2023, Lee spoke to over 1,000 individuals — at schools, churches, senior communities, universities and public libraries, both virtually and in person, presenting in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver and Butler counties, plus Morgantown, West Virginia.

Ellen Primis

Jewish Assistance Fund
Ellen Primis defines commitment to our organization and mission. Having served as JAF’s executive director, board member and grantor for three decades, she has tirelessly given of her time and expertise. Ellen has truly touched every aspect of day-to-day operations and, more importantly, she has provided warmth and compassion to the people we serve in the local Jewish community. It is the rare asset that brings so much to an organization — and Ellen Primis is that community asset.

Arlene and Jeff Berg

Jewish Association on Aging
Arlene and Jeff Berg are an invaluable dynamic duo at JAA’s Sivitz Hospice & Palliative Care and AHAVA Memory Care Center of Excellence. Dedicated JAA volunteers for over a decade, the Bergs approach everything they do with the utmost compassion and kindness. Whether they’re leading activities for residents, assisting with religious services, holding hands and singing with patients, or even teaching Yiddish classes, the Bergs are happy to help wherever it’s needed most. The Bergs’ love for the JAA and the Jewish community as a whole is evident, and we are honored to recognize them for their generosity.

Meyer “Skip” Grinberg

Jewish Cemetery & Burial Association
Meyer “Skip” Grinberg, a valued volunteer leader to the many organizations he has been associated with, served as the vice president of the Jewish Cemetery & Burial Association of Greater Pittsburgh for the last two years. He will be the president of the JCBA board in 2024. Skip has long been a cornerstone of the JCBA, and we are grateful to him for his sustained, tireless and exemplary leadership. We are proud to have Skip as our 2023 Volunteer of The Year. Mazel tov, Skip!

Rachel Firestone

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
The JCC is proud to honor Rachel Firestone as Volunteer of the Year. Rachel grew up at the JCC, attended J&R Day Camp and Emma Kaufmann Camp, and worked as a counselor at J&R. She has come full circle, with her children having gone through our Early Childhood Center and now JCC camps. Rachel and her husband, Jason, co-chaired Big Night 2020, Havana Nights, one of our best supported events. A dedicated community leader, Rachel supported staff by delivering food daily after the 2018 attack and continues to volunteer. She understands the importance of sustaining the JCC community; her family is a member of our Legacy Society. “Rachel exemplifies the JCC’s mission and goals,” said Jason Kunzman, JCC President and CEO. “We deeply appreciate her dedication to our community.”

Linda Joshowitz

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
Linda Joshowitz is the Federation’s Volunteer of the Year. Linda serves as a member of the overseas funding committee, is a member of Women’s Philanthropy and is also a campaign solicitor. She has served on the 2023 officers’ nominating committee and was the 2018 and 2019 annual Community Campaign chair at the time of the 10/27 attack. In addition, she is an officer on the board of directors, serves as the Women’s Philanthropy chair, and is a member of aging and human needs commission. Pittsburgh is incredibly lucky to have a volunteer like Linda. She has been a great asset to the Federation, the Jewish community and beyond.

David Ehrenwerth

Jewish Healthcare Foundation
David H. Ehrenwerth’s history with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation extends back to its earliest days, as he helped to handle the sale of Montefiore Hospital to UPMC and to transfer funds that established the Foundation in 1990. In the years since, David has consistently supported JHF’s work, including serving as board chair from 2018 to 2021. During 2023, David served as chair of JHF’s governance committee and has ensured JHF stays focused on its mission to advance health care innovation, advocacy, collaboration and education in the interest of better population health. The Foundation is incredibly grateful for David’s contributions in 2023.

Tim Fife

Kesher Pittsburgh
Since Kesher Pittsburgh’s founding, Tim Fife has been involved in virtually every aspect of building our community. During Kabbalat Shabbat, Tim can be found simultaneously drumming and running sound/tech, and that’s only after he’s led the schlep-and-set-up effort! At other times, Tim serves as a sounding board, leads strategy conversations for our leadership team and works to improve the experience of those who join us via Zoom. And, after all that is done, he delivers a stellar drash every year on the High Holidays. Our community is deeply blessed and thankful for all of Tim’s leadership and contributions.

Moshe Nash

Lubavitch Center
Since coming to Pittsburgh several years ago from Nashville, Tennessee, Moshe Nash and his wife, Sara Rivka, have been very welcome additions to our shul and community. They bring an infectious “Southern hospitality” along with helping hands. Moshe has had a “do whatever it takes” attitude, performing duties around our shul well above and beyond what is asked. He is a shining example of ahavas yisroel (loving one’s fellow) and hakores hatov (giving gratitude). We know that Moshe can always be counted upon when help is needed. He is the epitome of what a volunteer should be and is a real mensch.

Katriel Camp

Our Giving Kitchen
Katriel Camp, a shining teen volunteer, dedicated her senior year to fighting food insecurity at Our Giving Kitchen. With enthusiasm, she inspired others to volunteer, organized a bake sale that raised over $700, and led a group of friends and teachers in cooking 100 meals for those in need. Her kindness and compassion inspires others to follow in her footsteps, making a tangible impact in the community. Katriel’s selflessness serves as a powerful example, demonstrating the potential for young individuals to make a meaningful difference.

Charlie Saul

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle
Charlie Saul is, without a doubt, the Chronicle’s most frequent and careful reader. No one else — board member, lay leader, Jewish professional or general member of the community — reads everything that the Chronicle publishes so carefully and thoughtfully. Charlie always offers feedback — both praise and criticism, but his criticism is always thoughtful, constructive and fair. Charlie is a long-standing member of the Chronicle’s board. He never flags in his enthusiasm and eagerness to help however he can, both within the Chronicle and as an ambassador to the Jewish community. He also always volunteers to help with legal matters, especially in his area of expertise, labor law.

Ethel Taube Harmon

Poale Zedeck
Ethel Taube Harmon is a huge asset to Congregation Poale Zedeck in the most unassuming way. Each week Ethel single-handedly organizes seudah shelishis (the third meal), doing all the shopping, setup and cleanup. Ethel is also an active participant in our safety committee, and can be seen every Shabbos morning, front-and-center of the balcony, carrying a safety radio and Bluepoint pendant. When she isn’t in her seat, she will be found volunteering for the Sisterhood with the kiddush or taking a turn helping the security guard as a door greeter. Additionally, Ethel took it upon herself to be the door greeter every Shabbos afternoon to let congregants into the building for the rabbi’s class and the afternoon prayers so that people do not have to walk around the building. Ethel is such an important part of our community.

Marilyn Asimow

Rodef Shalom Congregation
Each week Marilyn Asimow brings warmth and kindness to our congregation, and we are proud to honor her as our Volunteer of the Year. Marilyn plays a vital role in the Women of Rodef Shalom’s Soup with a Heart program, which prepares and delivers soup and challah to our congregants. She also brightens the day of many in our community by providing bouquets each week, created from our Shabbat pulpit flowers. Marilyn is always willing to lend a hand, from offering rides to those in need to answering the phones. We are incredibly grateful for her cheerful presence and dedication to fostering our community of caring.

Charlene Tissenbaum

Charlene Tissenbaum is an extraordinarily committed and dedicated volunteer. Over the last year, she has jumped in with both feet to help to bring StandWithUs educational programming to the Pittsburgh Jewish community. We always know that when Charlene is involved, the event is going to be a success. This year alone, she has led multiple StandWithUs events, including organizing a large program at Temple Emanuel and a community briefing in her home. She is truly one in a million with a heart of gold and a dedication to the Jewish community and Israel that is unsurpassed. StandWithUs is so grateful to Charlene for her passion and dedication to our mission of fighting antisemitism and educating about Israel.

Bunny Schorr

Temple Emanuel of South Hills
Bunny Schorr is a volunteer with Temple Emanuel who is dedicated to addressing childhood hunger in the South Hills and throughout Pittsburgh. Bunny regularly transports our congregation’s food donations to the South Hills Interfaith Movement’s (SHIM) food pantry. During the past year, Bunny initiated a second congregational food collection to support a food pantry within Carnegie Elementary School called FreeStore 15106, where Bunny volunteers weekly. Thanks to Bunny’s efforts in volunteering, recruiting more volunteers, and spreading the word about FreeStore 15106 throughout the congregation, Temple Emanuel now provides nonperishable food items, toiletries, clothes and meal kits to FreeStore 15106. Temple Emanuel’s successful partnerships with the food pantries at SHIM and FreeStore 15106 would not be possible without Bunny’s dedication and care, which is why she is Temple Emanuel’s Volunteer of the Year.

Cindy Harrison

Temple Ohav Shalom
Cindy Harrison has been a devoted member of Temple Ohav Shalom since 2003.  She has enthusiastically contributed to the mission of the Temple at many levels, volunteering as a helper in the Temple’s preschool, helping care for the Temple grounds and gardens, greeting our members and assisting our worship leaders for services. Cindy has served on the board as VP of fundraising and, since June 2022, served as the Temple treasurer. She is a member of the executive board. Cindy and her husband, Lee, live in Hampton Township in Allison Park and have four grown children, three grandchildren and two dogs.

Marcia and Philip Baumfeld

Temple Sinai
Marcia and Philip Baumfeld embody the essence of relationship engagement that impresses everyone walking through Temple Sinai’s doors. For years they have coordinated hundreds of greeters for all of Temple Sinai services, funerals and programs. Ever responsive, they even succeed when given only a few hours’ notice, and will even step in themselves to answer a last-minute call. Their dedication expands beyond welcoming at our doors; you will find them in the kitchen cooking Shabbat dinners and assisting the staff with mass mailings. No matter the task, they are smiling and welcoming as they provide a comforting and warm environment. Marcia and Philip always represent Temple Sinai.

Ben Simon

Tree of Life Inc.
Tree of Life recognizes Ben Simon (z”l) as our first Volunteer of the Year. The effort to reimagine Tree of Life incorporated began in 2022; this was only possible thanks to the advocacy and efforts of interim leaders like Ben Simon. Ben brought a warmth and kindness to all interactions, which was felt doubly by an organization navigating so much grief. He brought an attentive and inquisitive ear to all interactions, and his gentle but persistent attention to important details made him a strong voice. It is our honor to continue to move forward the work that he believed in; as we do so, his presence is deeply missed.

Zevy Blokh

Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh

Zevy Blokh is a parent and a passionate volunteer who gives his own time to make sure that Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh succeeds. Zevy is extremely active in our school community. As a professional graphic designer running Arcjet Design, he has assisted in a number of our projects, notably heading our school’s rebrand to mark our 80th anniversary. He’s also served on committees for our annual dinner and this year’s upcoming crowdfunding campaign. He created unique branding for our capital campaign, as well as a beautiful commemorative magazine about Yeshiva’s history. No matter what is needed, Zevy is generous with his time, his creativity, and his good cheer. We are proud and grateful to have him in our school community!

Diana Spodek

Young Peoples Synagogue/Bohnai Yisrael

Diana Spodek has volunteered her time and expertise supporting all financial aspects of Young Peoples Synagogue/Bohnai Yisrael for over three years. She monitors our income and expenditures, insurance issues, contractor invoices and payments, and the charitable donations we receive. Indeed, Diana contributes to the well-being of our shul and congregants in whatever ways circumstances require. Young Peoples Synagogue is delighted to recognize her as our Volunteer of
the Year for 5784.

Len Asimow

Zionist Organization of America
Len Asimow has been a longtime supporter of ZOA
and joined the Pittsburgh board several years ago. Since that time, he has been an invaluable contributor and enthusiastic participant in many endeavors. Len, a retired professor of mathematics and actuarial science, has been a committed supporter of Israel for decades. He has engaged in pro-Israel advocacy in a variety of academic settings, for which ZOA
educational materials proved to be a valuable resource.  His participation and service to ZOA Pittsburgh is deeply appreciated. PJC

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