Cincinnati. The Jewish Family Service Annual Meeting was filled with news…a new Board of Directors, a new address, a new logo and branding, a resolution for a new merger, and a dedication to its new office space.
The Annual Meeting was held August 29, 2010 at Rockdale Temple on The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Campus, the same campus where Jewish Family Service relocated only two weeks earlier. Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Mayerson JCC are also located on the campus.
Jewish Family Service’s move to 8487 Ridge Road in Amberley Village was the featured topic in all opening statements.
Steve Shiffman, president-elect of Mayerson JCC welcomed Jewish Family Service to “the center of our community.” Shep Englander, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati CEO, pointed out that the Jewish Family Service move to the campus was a “turning point for our community. We couldn’t be the community we need to be without what you do.”
And Bruce Baker, outgoing president of Jewish Family Service Board of Directors, stressed “no matter where we looked to move, what was of utmost importance to us was confidentiality.” He also looked back on the year’s strategic planning, saying, “JFS knows who we are and who we are not. We are deliberate, focused, and recognize our fiduciary responsibility to deliver programs and services to the community.”
Following a nominating report by Marcie Bachrach, the new Board of Directors was installed. On the current slate of officers are Michael Schwartz, president; Danny Lipson and Andi Lerner Levenson, vice presidents; Mark Miller, treasurer; Mark Kanter, secretary, and Bruce Baker, immediate past president. New board members to serve a 3-year term are Bruce Ente, Suzy Marcus Goldberg, Elaine Kaplan, Amy Pescovitz, Bonnie Rabin, and Max Yamson. Marcie Bachrach and John Youkilis were re-elected to serve a new 3-year term. Aaron Fritzhand, Lauren Scharf, and Gary Smith were re-elected to a second 3-year term. They join existing Board members Gail Friedman, Jeff Harris, Sam Knobler, Rick Lefton, Greg Miller, Leslie Miller, Pam Sacherman, and Susan Shorr. Sam Lobar rotated off the Board.
“Continuity and Change is our focus,” said newly elected president Michael Schwartz. “Continuity is staying the course. Our programs must continue to meet our mission, purpose and identity. Yet we must also adapt to changes in our community’s needs, the financial environment, and our location. Jewish Family Service must stay viable so we can make a difference. We provide services in ways that other organizations cannot.”
“We are continuing. We are changing. We are relevant. We make a difference,” Mr. Schwartz concluded.
As his first order of business, Mr. Schwartz introduced a vote on a resolution, which passed, to approve the merger of Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association of Cincinnati into Jewish Family Service. “The youth mentoring services offered by BB/BS are in perfect alignment with the mission and vision of JFS,” said Jewish Family Service Executive Director Beth Schwartz.
In her executive director report, Ms. Schwartz also talked about the recent move and how it never interfered with client services. She acknowledged the JFS Staff for their remarkable dedication to their work of caring for clients.
“Staff was still unpacking boxes, organizing new smaller office spaces, trying to find keys and printers. But through it all, the people we serve know that they’ll still have a roof over their heads; that there will be food on the table; that they’re not alone facing an unplanned pregnancy; that the baby they’ve always dreamed about will soon be their reality; that they can find assistance if in an abusive situation; and that being old and alone doesn’t mean disabled and lonely,” said Ms. Schwartz.
The presentation of awards was one highlight of the meeting.
Outgoing Board member Sam Lobar, who is moving to a new city and adopted his children through Jewish Family Service, was given the mezuzah taken from the adoption program’s door in the previous office space. He recalled that he saw his “daughter’s face for the first time in the old building.”
Outgoing President Bruce Baker was presented with a yad for “pointing Jewish Family Service in the right direction.”
Longevity Recognition Awards were given to Lilly Narusevich for reaching 15 years of service with Jewish Family Service; Sherry Kaplan and Beth Schwartz for reaching ten years; and Marge Reed and Danielle Sabarese for reaching five years.
A $24,000 Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati Grant was awarded to Jewish Family Service by Janice Bogner, Senior Program Officer. This grant will support a year-long effort to design therapeutic services for people with severe mental illness.
The final award of the afternoon was presented to Gary Smith, who was recognized with the Miriam Dettelbach Award. This award is given in honor of the first executive director of Jewish Family Service as recognition of exceptional volunteer service to the agency.
The Annual Meeting continued with a short walk to the second floor of the Mayerson JCC building where Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran, Spiritual Leader of Rockdale Temple and current President of the Cincinnati Board of Rabbis, oversaw a mezuzah affixing ceremony. Past presidents Jay Price, Barbara Rabkin, John Youkilis, and Bruce Baker each took a turn to attach the mezuzah to the private door leading to the Jewish Family Service offices and confidential client meeting rooms. The afternoon ended with desserts and a tour of the new office space.
A copy of the annual report is available on the Jewish Family Service website, www.jfscinti.org.