Top Community Professionals Selected for 2013 Awards

The Jewish Communal Service Association of North America will honor two veteran leaders and six outstanding younger professionals

Awards to be presented at a Jerusalem ceremony next month

Larry Moses and Barry Shrage will be honored with the Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award that annually recognizes significant and sustained contributions to Jewish community organization practice. The award is named for Ben Mandelkorn, founding President and first Executive Director of the Association of Jewish Community Organization Personnel (AJCOP) and the first Executive Director of the Columbus Jewish Federation, which established this award to honor his more than 43 years of leadership and dedication.

The JCSA Young Professional Award, presented to Aliza Craimer Elias and Jakir Manela, recognizes the exemplary service to their agencies and communities by talented individuals, nominated by their colleagues, who are dedicated to professional careers in the Jewish community. The Award recognizes outstanding work and honors the invaluable contributions of young professional leaders in the Jewish communal sector.

Matt Goldberg, KB Goodkin, Joanne E. Lippert and Rebecca Michelle Voorwinde will receive the Bernard Rodkin Professional Development Israel Fellowships, which provide an opportunity for increasing knowledge and understanding of Israeli society and its social welfare system. The recipients, who currently work in a JCSA Member Federation or National Jewish Community Organization agency in the United States or Canada, participate in a 10-day Professional Development Experience in Israel which will enhance their community organization skills and career development.

“The eight dedicated professionals we cite this year are all, in one way or another, educators, communicators, ambassadors, advocates and philanthropists,” said Howard Charish, National Director of Development, American Friends of Bar-Ilan University and co-chair of the Awards Committee. “And they represent the thousands of their peers who tirelessly serve the Jewish communities of North America and around the world.”

“The U.S. and Canadian cities, states and provinces represented by all of the this year’s JCSA honorees,” noted Jay Spector, President and CEO of JEVS, the Jewish Educational and Vocational Services of Philadelphia, also co-chair, “speaks volumes about the scope of the organization and, more especially, of the wide-ranging work, influence, compassion and accomplishments of the Jewish community in North America.”

The Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 10th at Merkaz Shimshon-Beit Shmuel [HUC-JIR] in Jerusalem.

The Mandelkorn Distinguished Service Award

Larry Moses has served The Wexner Foundation for 26 years, as Founding Director of its Graduate Fellowship Program and 13 years as President. Now the Foundation’s Senior Philanthropic Advisor, he guides the Wexner family’s philanthropy, sits on numerous international, national, and regional boards, and writes and speaks about the challenges of leadership in modern Jewish life. In prior posts, he was as International Director of Hillel in Washington, D.C., from 1984-87, and Executive Director of the Bureau of Jewish Education in San Francisco (1980-1984). He began his career as the Hillel Director at San Francisco State University while also serving as an instructor in Jewish history (1975-1980). A scholar of the Holocaust, he has taught extensively on its historical, theological, and human dimensions. Moses earned a B.A. in philosophy from Indiana University, an M.A. in modern Jewish history from the Baltimore Hebrew University, an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Baltimore Hebrew University. He also studied and taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Barry Shrage has served as President of CJP, Greater Boston’s Jewish Federation, since 1987, focusing on education, strengthening community partnerships with Israel, and caring for the most vulnerable. He has been instrumental in the creation of cutting-edge programs to engage the next generation in meaningful Jewish life and create a welcoming, inclusive Jewish community. Projects include Me’ah, an intensive Jewish adult education curriculum, and Parenting Through a Jewish Lens, a program for parents of young children. Shrage has spearheaded children’s overnight camps, day schools, and synagogue schools. A passionate advocate for Israel, he has helped establish the Boston-Haifa Connection, resulting in mutually beneficial social programs. He was among the first Federation leaders to embrace Taglit Birthright Israel, and has worked to send 11,000 Boston-area college students on free trips to Israel. CJP’s Birthright Israel Campus Initiative has become a national model, empowering students to become lifelong advocates for Israel. During the recent recession, Shrage helped to develop CJP’s Economic Response, providing additional funding for the most vulnerable, including isolated seniors, immigrants, the unemployed and people with disabilities. After graduating from City College of New York, Barry earned a master’s degree in social work from Boston University.

The JCSA Young Professional Award

As the child of parents deeply involved in the Calgary Jewish community, Aliza Craimer Elias began her own activism in the fourth grade, raising more than $100 in a toy sale to aid Ethiopian Jewry. Her commitment has never wavered. After completing her education (B.A., Psychology, University of Calgary, 2001; Master of Philosophy Modern Jewish Studies at St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford, 2004), she combined her passion for Jewish history with her communications skills to produce documentaries in Toronto. When her future husband went to law school in San Francisco, she became the first full-time employee of the Institute for Curriculum Services of the Jewish Community Relations Council there, in 2006. Now, as its Director, Aliza works with communities and the major textbook publishers to correct misinterpretations of Judaism and Israel, and improve accuracy and balance (her team has brought about 6,500 edits to social studies textbooks used by five million K-12 students each year). “I am daily inspired by the high caliber of people serving our community, and fortunate to have terrific mentors. I hope to inspire other young people to consider careers in the Jewish community.”

Seven years ago, Jakir Manela and his girlfriend moved into a one-room cabin at the Pearlstone Center to plant the seeds of a vibrant young Jewish community. And to plant seeds – as Founding Director of Kayam Farm, the first Jewish community farm in North America. Today, they are married with two children, and he is Executive Director of the Pearlstone Center, with a staff of 35 and a $2.5 million budget. Pearlstone is a retreat center and farm Reisterstown, Md., offering programs to enable and inspire vibrant Jewish life, with 15,000 visiting every year to participate in educational and environmental programming. Manela, a native of Washington, D.C., graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin (2004), with a concentration on Jewish and International Studies (focused on global environment). He combined his passion for the environment and the Jewish community in all of his previous posts. “We have deep challenges in the Jewish community, especially its lessening relevance to the young. I see this as an opportunity to lead with vision and values in pioneering Jewish agricultural education, international community, and a new vibrant way to engage people in Jewish life.”

The Bernard Rodkin Professional Development Israel Fellowship

Matt Goldberg is Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Community of Louisville. He serves as spokesman for the organized Jewish community in Louisville, and represents JCL in interfaith activities, Israel advocacy and in ensuring the protection of minority religious rights. “After practicing law for several unfulfilling years, I realized that my heart was in working within the Jewish community, for social action and helping the less fortunate.”

KB Goodkin is Director, Young Leadership and Programming, Jewish Federation of Northeastern, N.Y. (Albany), where she developed a new model to attract young adults, creating programming to meet their needs, involving them in service, and reaching out to find unaffiliated young Jews throughout the area. “I am committed to connecting people in ways that enrich their experience, and to provide tools for shaping their communities in ways that unify us in the present and prepare us for the future.”

Joanne E. Lippert is Co-Director, Adult Senior Services, for the Jewish Family and Children’ Service of Greater Philadelphia. She oversees community partnerships, donor relations, internships, budgets, personnel, and long-term strategic planning. “We work with the most vulnerable and frail in the Jewish community, raise awareness of poverty and hunger, and develop community partnerships to provide essential services and resources for our clients and the agency.”

Rebecca Michelle Voorwinde is Co-Director, Strategy & Community Engagement, for The Bronfman Fellowships in New York City. Five years ago, she raised eyebrows when she left a highly sought-after position at a Fortune 500 company to work as a Jewish professional, and today mentors 1,000 people, ages 17-45, from North America and Israel. “My aim is to help individuals harness their uniqueness and link them to a supportive community that can amplify their contributions.”