Home Community Claudia Biegler selected as 2024 recipient of Hadassah Richmond’s Elinor Bloom Marshall...

Claudia Biegler selected as 2024 recipient of Hadassah Richmond’s Elinor Bloom Marshall Humanitarian Award

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Hadassah Richmond is proud to announce Claudia Rubin Biegler as the 2024 recipient of the Elinor Bloom Marshall Humanitarian Award.

She will be honored Oct. 27.

 

The purpose of the award is to honor someone who has shown generosity of time and spirit, exemplary professional and volunteer work, and devotion to family and friends- all traits that Elinor exemplified.

Claudia epitomizes the traits of the late Elinor and she was chosen for her dedication and hard work for Hadassah as well as her commitment to community service.

Claudia grew up in Petersburg, which had a tiny Jewish community. Her Jewish involvement began in high school in BBYO as a member of Hershon BBG at Temple Brith Achim.

At age 14, she would take the Trailways bus from Petersburg to Richmond each Friday and spend the weekend with different friends.

This became her social life. “I wanted to find my Jewish identity,” she remembers. Claudia took on leadership roles and became president of her BBG chapter and then served on the Virginia Council Board.  Her daughters, Joanna and Lauren were active in BBYO as well.

Hadassah Involvement

Claudia became involved in Hadassah in her  40’s and has remained active since. She recalls attending her first meeting and did not know one person. As she became more engaged, she encouraged her friends to get involved as well.  She served as co- president of Sabra Hadassah and has served on the board in various positions.

When her girls were growing up, Claudia served on the PTA Boards at their schools. Other community involvement included serving on the boards of Sisterhood, Weinstein JCC, Jewish Family Services, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC), Jewish Woman’s Club, Virginia Rep and Barksdale Theaters and several years on the BBYO Adult Board.

In addition, she served as president of the Richmond Culinary Guild.

Claudia has been an incredibly active volunteer at the JCC for over 25 years, by serving on many committees including those for the Book Fair, Art gallery, Gala and JCC Forum.

She became involved with the Richmond Jewish Coalition for Literacy under the leadership of Sam Asher, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond at that time.

A large part of her life has been devoted to mentoring children, which she has done for over 20 years.  Under Asher’s leadership, the program expanded to having up to 50 mentors in Richmond Public Schools.

Mentoring

Throughout this time, Claudia mentored students in various schools including Swansboro Elementary and later at schools in Henrico County.  She continues to contribute her time to mentor through this program.

Claudia served as a trainer for Virginia Mentoring Partnership and received a Mentor of the Year award, and Champion of Mentoring award through the Partnership. She also has received president’s awards for volunteerism through the JCFR and the JCC.

In her professional life, Claudia was an elementary school teacher. She also worked as an art consultant at a gallery, Suitable for Framing, currating art exhibits and selling art to designers and commercial properties.

Claudia is currently active on the Bon Secours Foundation board, especially with Noah’s Children and the Reinhart Guest House.

When COVID hit, Claudia and her good friend, Janet Meyers saw the need to honor and recognize essential workers during the pandemic. This led to the creation of Meaningful Meals to feed mainly first responders during this challenging time.

They started by bringing lunch to eight people in a nursing home and ultimately provided lunch to over 7,000 individuals during the pandemic.  The non-profit not only fed hard-working citizens during this time but demonstrated appreciation and recognition for their efforts.

“These were difficult times for everyone. We wanted to bring joy and food to these special individuals, and sometimes worked 7 days a week to coordinate the lunches and deliveries.  Jewish food is love!”

Claudia knew Elinor Bloom, who was 15 years older than her, as a child in Petersburg, where both lived. Their families were very close. Claudia even baby sat Elinor’s 3 sons.

Elinor’s oldest son Art said, “My mother is beaming,” when he heard Claudia had been selected.

As an adult, she and Elinor reconnected and continued a close relationship while working on many projects together. When Elinor passed away, Claudia wanted to honor her friend who had devoted her life to community service, and suggested the creation of the Elinor Bloom Marshall Humanitarian Award.

Claudia was the co-chair of the event when the first award was given posthumously to Elinor in 2012.

“I am overwhelmed to be honored with this award,” Claudia gushes, “as Elinor was such a role model for me with her involvement in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Her name lives on in perpetuity with this award! In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would receive this accolade that was created for my friend 12 years ago.”

Claudia has been married to her husband Steve for almost 49 years and is a grandmother of four. Her daughter Joanna, husband Gregg and sons, Aidan and Reid, reside in Potomac, Md.  Her daughter Lauren, husband John and children, Sarah and Brooks reside in Richmond.

The Humanitarian Award event will be held Sunday, October 27, and is being chaired by Hadassah Richmond leaders and dear friends of Claudia’s, Ann Eisenberg and Cheri Wolff.

Further details and sponsorship opportunities will be forthcoming.