Ellen Rosenblum installed as new president of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater

by | Jul 12, 2019 | Uncategorized

Jeff Cooper, JFS immediate past president; Kelly Burroughs, JFS CEO; Ellen Rosenblum, JFS president, 2019-2021; Scott Rosenblum; and Lawrence Steingold, JFS past president.

With a theme of “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,” Jewish Family Service of Tidewater (JFS) held its 64th Biennial Meeting on June 17. At the meeting, JFS installed Ellen Rosenblum as the president for 2019–2021, thanked Jeff Cooper for serving as president 2016–2019, installed new board and executive committee members, and presented several recognition awards.

The meeting began with an invocation by Cantor Jennifer Reuben of Ohef Sholom Temple. Reuben said, “One of the most extraordinary passages in our Torah is the one in which God teaches Aaron and the priests the words for offering blessing to the people. It is the only liturgical formula that is preserved in the canon of Torah: May God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God lift up God’s face to you and grant you peace.” She continued, “We spend much of our lives looking for these things. Blessing and protection—they are the essentials. Food, shelter, clothing, medicine. These are a central part of this organization’s mission. Without them, we lack the ability to strive for life’s deeper meaning, and so JFS strives to ensure that those needs are met within our community and beyond.”

Cantor Jennifer Reuben of Ohef Sholom Temple delivered the invocation.

Cantor Jennifer Reuben of Ohef Sholom Temple delivered the invocation.

Zach Sissel and Danial Watts of the Emerging Philanthropists Council presented JFS with a check for $500. These funds will be used to purchase 50 $10 gift cards for perishable food items for people accessing the JFS food pantries. Drawing from Maimonides’ Ladder of tzedakah and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they said it was important for them that people have access to perishable items such as fresh milk. The Emerging Philanthropist Council is a program designed to help young people learn about the needs of the community and the decisions involved in the grant making process. Sponsored by the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, the Emerging Philanthropists had a total of $1,000 to designate to programs in support of Jewish organizations.

Jeff Cooper, 2016-2019 board president, updated the audience on the state of affairs at JFS. In his overview, Cooper shared indicators of organizational health in relation to the vitality of the organization: how well the agency achieves its mission, how well an organization engages its team, and how well it balances its mission to margin. “JFS operates in a challenging environment,” he said. “In such an environment, our organization has to look at itself carefully, and to our credit I think JFS has been doing a good job to respond to this year’s challenges.” As Cooper wrapped up his remarks, he thanked his family and the board for their support and service during his tenure the past three years. He concluded his remarks with a special message to Ellen Rosenblum, the new board president, “I wish you tremendous success as you assume the presidency here at JFS…I know you will do an amazing job in working with everyone on behalf of JFS.”

Scott Kaplan, president/CEO of Tidewater Jewish Foundation with Lisa Delevie, JFS board member and Mark Delevie.

Scott Kaplan, president/CEO of Tidewater Jewish Foundation with Lisa Delevie, JFS board member and Mark Delevie.

Kelly Burroughs, JFS chief executive officer, continued highlighting several of JFS’ programs, and encouraging people to learn more by visiting its new website. “The complexities of what we do every day cannot be fully explained in such a brief time,” she said. “But I encourage you to get involved! JFS loves its volunteers who provide nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer service every year.” As Burroughs highlighted each of the programs, she remarked that each of the leadership teams’ combined service with the agency represents over 100 years of knowledge, and thanked them for their dedication to serving the Tidewater Jewish community.

Debbie Mayer, JFS clinical director, recognized four youths for their generosity and tzedakah on the occasion of their bar and bat mitzvahs. Braden Dobrinsky collected non-perishable foods and toiletries through food drives during October and November 2017 as part of his Bar Mitzvah service project. He then re-visited JFS in January 2018 with two more boxes from another food drive that he had conducted, and he and his brother helped re-stock JFS’ food pantry shelves. Elizabeth Goldstein collected food and household supplies for her service project in 2017. She then created 11 beautifully decorated baskets for JFS filled with these items to be used as center-pieces for her Bat Mitzvah. Matthew Helman first volunteered at the JFS Food Pantry during summer 2017 and during the following school year during breaks. He helped re-stock food shelves, carried food for clients to their cars, and helped them shop. He then collected food as part of his 2018 Bar Mitzvah service project with food drives in his neighborhood, religious school, and at the JCC. Wyatt Jones collected non-perishable foods during July and August 2017 as part of his Bar Mitzvah service project and brought JFS these items in September 2017. JFS appreciates the involvement of young people for their service contributions to helping make the world a better place.

Danial Watts and Zach Sissel of the Emerging Philanthropists Council present a check for $500 to Kelly Burroughs, JFS CEO.

Danial Watts and Zach Sissel of the Emerging Philanthropists Council present a check for $500 to Kelly Burroughs, JFS CEO.

Cooper recognized the United Way of South Hampton Roads with JFS’ Community Partner Award for their outstanding support of JFS. The United Way and JFS share many core values—both agencies striving to create opportunities for a better life for the most vulnerable people in the community. Through this partnership, JFS is able to help feed more hungry people, enhance the health care of older adults, reduce social isolation, and improve the mental health and wellness of hundreds of people throughout the region. The United Way seeks to bring people and resources together to “solve problems too big for any of us to solve alone.” For the past several years, JFS has been a proud United Way Certified Agency.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have given of themselves to help support the agency’s mission. This year, JFS selected Patti Wainger, who has served on the JFS board of directors for 11 years, most recently serving on the executive committee as secretary. Wainger has been instrumental in coordinating and planning several of JFS’ Spring Into Healthy Living events, bringing in speakers such as Joan Lunden, Jane Gardner, and most recently, Dr. Janet S. Wright of the office of the U.S. Surgeon General. She has also helped to foster multi-year relationships with Linda Kaufmann, EVMS, and WHRO, and now LifeNet Health through JFS’ most recent event, Organ Donation: the Gift of Life. “In the short time I have known Patti,” said Burroughs, “she has had a tremendous influence on me personally with her care and concern, humor, and sheer determination to make things happen. Her passion is contagious, and her energy is boundless.”

Lawrence Steingold recognized outgoing board members Erica Kaplan, David Konikoff, and Patti Wainger. JFS also welcomed two new board members, Jody Greason and Rebecca Tall. Steingold also installed the Executive Committee members: Ellen Rosenblum, president; Kim Gross, vice president; Anne Kramer, vice president; Stephanie Peck, secretary; Lawrence Steingold, treasurer; Jeff Cooper, immediate past president; Dr. Marcia Samuels, past president; and Ashley Zittrain, member-at-large.

To conclude the meeting, Rosenblum presented her remarks as the new president. “JFS is transforming lives with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” she said. “In considering today’s volatile and uncertain world, the need for the vital services that JFS provides has never been greater. Our job, as a board, is to help the organization have a sustainable future and make sure that we have adequate resources to support the mission of JFS.”

Rosenblum’s involvement within the Jewish community began when she joined the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater board of directors. She later joined the UJFT Women’s Cabinet and served as a president of ORT. Her involvement with JFS began in 2011. After graduating from Norfolk Collegiate, Rosenblum attended Emerson College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders. She then attended the University of North Carolina and received a Master of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology. After practicing in a variety of pediatric settings, Rosenblum became actively involved coaching forensics at her children’s school.

“I’m fortunate to have the love and support of my husband, Scott, for 27 years, and my children Andrew, Julia, and Jack. I also credit my parents, Aaron and Carol Peck, for stressing the importance of community involvement and a compassionate life,” said Rosenbloom.

Amy Cobb