Today is November 21, 2014 - 28 Heshvan 5775 · Shabbat Candlelighting Times

Ernest L. Rothschild Awards

Recognizing outstanding synagogue leadership, these awards perpetuate the memory of Ernest L. Rothschild. Active throughout the Conservative Movement, Mr. Rothschild served as a leader in the Shelter Rock Jewish Center, METNY and USCJ.

The special efforts of the recipients of these awards affect and change people’s lives, as well as further Conservative Judaism in their congregations. These individuals go above and beyond expectations, and are involved in at least one special synagogue program or activity.

Dorrie Berkowitz of The Forest Hills Jewish Center is the poster girl for involvement.  When she sees a need, she rushes to fill it and like the Pied Piper, people happily join her because she enhances every project she champions with the strength of her personality and warmth.  In her over twenty years of membership, there is hardly a position Dorrie hasn’t filled.  Whether staffing a welcome table at our Shabbat Kiddush, organizing countless Friday night dinners, conceiving and implementing our annual Coffee House talent show and Virtual Campfire, if Dorrie is involved it will be done well!   Dorrie is also a featured singer in the FHJC choral group, Nagilah, and is currently spearheading our new G’mach Initiative to offer support to our community.
Joseph Distelburger literally grew up at Temple Sinai of Middletown, NY.  He attended Hebrew School, Hebrew High School and, almost from the day he graduated college has served on our Board of Trustees.  Currently, he is in the midst of his second term as President.  Joe is a role model for commitment to his synagogue and to Clal Yisrael.  In addition, he is a religious and ritual leader who regularly attends weekday morning service, organizes and leads shivah minyanim, serves as assistant gabbai and frequently chants the haftorah.  There is hardly a committee or activity with which Joe had not been involved!
Max Gillman, the immediate past president of Temple Israel of South Merrick has few peers in terms of total selfless commitment  to all aspects of synagogue life.  During his term, his bima seat was rarely vacant on Shabbat. Max is a hands-on leader and can always be counted on to participate in a minyan, build booths for the Purim carnival, erect a sukkah or apply his professional skills as our treasurer.  His love for our congregation also prompts Max to avail himself of opportunities within USCJ for training in order to serve us better.
Barbara Horowitz, of the Beth El Synagogue Center is known as an innovative leader whose involvement has influenced others in meaningful ways.  She began her participation as a member of our Nursery School committee and, in that role, initiated our Parent newsletter.  She moved on to the Religious School board, served as co-President of the PTA and to chairing our Youth Committee and Adult Ed Institute (Limud).  She is deeply committed to furthering Conservative Judaism’s core values of Shabbat, kashrut, acts of chesed and devotion to Israel.
Lisa Israel has 3 sons and Temple Israel of Riverhead  became her 4th child.  She is an army of one, assuming critical administrative and educational roles as needed.  She gives of her time and talents from the heart and endlessly.  There is nothing Lisa has not done for our congregation!  She has even filled in when our beloved Rabbi passed away.  She plans and supports our religious services and, as chair of our cemetery committee is always on call.  Lisa has made certain that our house of worship is also a place to call home.
Steve Katz, the Temple Sholom of Greewich, CT immediate past president, is animated by a passion for Conservative Judaism and for bringing us to the next level in programming, ritual, community, finances and communication.  He is responsible for overhauling the budget process and enhancing fundraising to stabilize our financial position.  Steve created a cutting edge website and continues to guide their upgrades.  He also put into place two alternative worship services to appeal to a broader groups:  YCFS (Young Children’s Family Service) and Rak Shabbat serve young families and students, resulting in a dramatic increase of these groups at services.  Steve has influenced and inspired both staff and leadership to reach for more and to not accept less.
Otto Loewy of Temple Beth El of Bellmore is known as “Mr. Temple” because of his active participation in ALL phases of synagogue life.  Even beyond that, he encourages others to increase their involvement.  He is a long-time member of the Board of Trustees, currently serves as Ritual Vice President, chairs our Kol Nidre appeal, arranges coverage at minyanim, oversees the Yom HaShoah program. We have also benefitted from Otto’s theatre production skills as he has created many of our Purim shpiels.
David Michaels, a member of Temple Beth Shalom of Mahopac is a thoughtful and soft-spoken gentleman who has been the driving force in bringing Temple Beth Sholom of Mahopac into the 21st century.  He has modernized sharing information and keep our members up to date on the website and with email, flyers and The Temple Times.  David also oversees the content on the TV (which he purchased and installed) in the temple lobby.  “No” is a word not found in his vocabulary.  He is willing to invest as much time as it takes to solve any problem the Temple encounters.
Dr. Hugh Pollack is the epitome of a caring congregational and communal leader.  At Town and Village Synagogue, he has served as a past president and Chair of the Board for 18 years, during which he inspired others to involvement and to assume leadership roles. Over the past 25 years, he has taught more than 60 congregants to read Torah and is a former Wexner fellow.  Hugh founded the METNY committee on Commitment and Observance, has served on the METNY Board as First Vice President as well as on the National USCJ and the Masorti Boards.  Currently, he chairs our capital campaign and is the incoming president of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires.
George Sommerfeld of JCC Harrison has been involved in every aspect of synagogue life.  In terms of ritual, he is a constant presence at all minyanim whether weekday mornings, Shabbat or holidays, and often delivers divrai torah during the summer months.  In terms of administration, he created the Professional Partnerships Committee to assure collaboration between senior staff and lay leadership. In terms of education and culture, he is devoted to JCCH’s Lifelong Learning Institute, Club Wednesday which brings community experts and lunch to seniors, and Harrison’s Laymen’s Interfaith Council.  George exemplifies synagogue leadership that is warm, welcoming, vibrant, intelligent and caring.

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