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Community learns about the ‘Best of the Federation’

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The ‘best of Federation’ was celebrated during its Annual Meeting at the Weinstein JCC on June 7.

In opening remarks to the more than 150 community members, co-chairs Steve and Sylvia Farbstein and Matt and Betty Grossman recognized the critical role the Federation and volunteers play in building and sustaining our community.

Annual Meeting co-chairs (from left) Betty and Matt Grossman and Sylvia and Steve Farbstein. All photos by Adrienne Winkelmann Epstein.

Steve Farbstein welcomed attendees.   “How special it is to be here celebrating the Federation’s 88th year of supporting and sustaining our community, of ensuring the miracles of tzedakah are brought to life, and the power of our small, but mighty community coming together to repair and improve our world.”

He continued, “We have the privilege of celebrating the remarkable and impactful work you make possible, and the amazing volunteer leaders and professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of our community. We also get to celebrate a few special individuals who have gone above and beyond this year.”

Steve noted, “You will hear our version of a shareholders report and learn firsthand how your investment in Federation literally changes lives.”

At the start of meeting, attendees were asked to visit a website with their smartphones, menti.com, to create a Word Cloud by entering one word or two or three on what the Federation means to them. When the Word Cloud was built by the end of the meeting, the results showed that Community, Support, Israel, Tzedakah, Connection, Caring, Compassion, Leadership, Family, Torah were among the top choices (see the front cover).

The meeting featured State of the Federation remarks from President Amy Nisenson and CEO Daniel Staffenberg and a special Board member panel discussing details of the initiatives they chair – Josh Goldberg, Allocations; Amy Melnick-Scharf, JCRC; and Sam Revenson, Israel and Overseas.

Federation President Amy Nisenson and CEO Daniel Staffenberg, who received a special President’s Award.

During these Board panel reports, four community members spoke from the audience about how the Federation had positively impacted their lives.

Board panelists (from left) Sam Revenson, Amy Melnick-Scharf and Josh Goldberg.

Darren Moorehead described his participation on the Federation’s second Honeymoon Israel cohort in the summer of 2022 along with his wife and 15 other young couples. “This trip was our first to Israel, and it was such an amazing experience.  The people, the food, the history —so incredibly meaningful.”

Sarah Lutzky shared how her daughter was able to attend Camp Louise, an all-girls overnight camp, through a first-time One Happy Camper grant through  the Federation.   “We appreciate so much this exists for kids all over the country but especially here in Richmond.”

 

Linda Griff  reflected on her attending Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day this year for the first time after meeting with CEO Daniel Staffenberg. “I am grateful for this experience of advocating for the Richmond Jewish Community, and for all the work the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond does on a daily basis …”

 

Troy Fuller offered, “Let me give my heartfelt thanks to the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond for enhancing my life so much this year with the opportunity to participate in Leadership2gether, a program of our Partnership Together Hadera-Eiron Southeast Partnership.”

In her remarks, Amy Nisenson noted, “In 2023, we have a lot to celebrate. Our community moved past the pandemic with strength and collaboration, we connected in new ways and with new friends; we reached beyond our Jewish community for strength and understanding.”

She continued, “Our fundraising, led by Richard Thalhimer reached new heights welcoming over 250 new donors and achieving our highest Annual Campaign in more than a decade, while being there for our family in Ukraine. At the same time, we stood tall in the face of antisemitism, securing our community and driving forward initiatives that will support the fight for years to come. For me this year has been about learning and growing …”

The president added, ” I learned that Federation is far more than our community’s “fundraiser” and funder … Federation is a strategic thinker … Federation is a convener … Federation is a connector and Federation is our safety net … ”

She next presented President’s Awards to Sam Revenson and Hedy Lapkin.

In the award to Sam Revenson, she noted he has “worked tirelessly to support efforts in Ukraine; mostly in our sister city Zaporozhe for many years … He has been a voice for global Jewry, a passionate advocate for personal connection … and been integral to the process of welcoming families from Ukraine to settle here in Richmond.”

Oksana Stakhnevych and Sam Revenson

The honor to Hedy Lapkin saluted her work on the Annual Campaign, Women’s Philanthopy and other volunteer efforts and special projects in the community. “Hedy has been a relentless and tireless volunteer in recruiting people (young and old) to be involved in Federation.”

She also presented a special President’s Award to CEO Daniel Staffenberg for his overall leadership of the Federation during the past year.

Reflector Editor Skip Kozakewicz was recognized by Daniel Staffenberg for his 20-years of service with the Federation as Editor of the Reflector.

Nannette Shor received the Neil November Distinguished Community Service Award from Miriam Davidow, a past recipient, for her decades of community leadership. “… Nannette stood out, exemplifying Neil’s example and the criteria of the award, that of a lifetime of outstanding service, leadership, and engagement in the entire community.”

Immediate Past President Ellen Renee Adams gave the Nominating Committee’s report and installed the officers and board members for the next year.
The officers are: President – Amy Nisenson, Vice President/President-Elect – Josh Goldberg, Secretary/Treasurer – Howard Goldfine, Allocations Chair– David Galpern, FRD Chair – Brian Greene, JCRC Chair – Rob Slotnick, Rabbinic Council Representative – Rabbi Sherry Grinsteiner, and Immediate Past President – Ellen Renee Adams.
New board members elected were: Susan Kornstein, Tatyana Manelis and Amanda Young.

See more photos.