Congregation AABJ&D Shul Dinner Sunday Evening, May 7, 2017 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel
Pam & R’ Matt Greenwood, Guests of Honor
There are few parts of the AABJ&D community that Pam and Matt Greenwood haven’t impacted since moving to West Orange in 2004, after learning about the community from Charlie and Rebecca Feldman. A native of New Jersey, Pam is a secretary on the Mikvah’s board and is an active member of the youth committee. She has run two searches for youth directors and was involved in establishing the program model for Minyan Katan. Pam has also led the youth department as its chair and served on AABJ&D’s board for six busy years. An occupational therapist who works at Ramah camps during the summer, Pam founded the West Orange Women’s Kabbalat Shabbat gathering and the Women’s Simchat Torah celebration. She serves on the national board of JOFA. Matt, a technologist at a Manhattan investment firm, has been an AABJ&D board member for two years and gabbai for the past five years. In that role, he organizes leining at the upstairs minyanim each week, often leining the parsha himself. Matt obtained smicha in 2005 and, since then, he regularly gives shiurim at shul and elsewhere in the community. In the past, Matt has been involved in raising funds for the eruv and helped lead the local Cub Scouts troop. He serves as a national board member of Gesher. Together with Liat, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, Dov, a 17-year old senior at Frisch, Sefi, a 14-year old Freshman at Frisch, and Sarit, an 11-year old sixth grader at Kushner, the Greenwoods say they most appreciate the warmth and nurturance of the community and the wide variety of spiritual, learning and social programming offered at the Shul.
Robin & Daniel Amster, Rabbi Alvin & Marylin Marcus Keter Shem Tov Award
Robin and Danny Amster are the perfect recipients of The Rabbi Alvin and Marylin Marcus Keter Shem Tov Award – they have nothing bad to say about anyone and nobody has a bad word to say about them, either. The Amsters are honest, hard-working, truly nice people and they consider the shul to be their second home. Robin has chaired the Youth Committee, the Rabbinic Assistant search committee, helped formulate HR policies for the shul, and went from being a board member to vice president, and ultimately to chairing the board - the first female to hold that role in the shul. Danny has been active in the shul, serving on two dinner committees and co-chairing the Sustaining Membership drive. Together, Robin and Danny have emulated and continued what Rabbi and Marylin Marcus started in West Orange so many years ago – love of the shul, love of the community and love of life.
Rachel & Stephen Isler, Young Leadership Award
Stephen and Rachel Isler began their work for the shul shortly after moving to West Orange in 2003, a year after getting married. Rachel, a native of Rockaway, N.J. who currently teaches in the same middle school she once attended, became active in AABJ&D’s Minyan Katan and joined the youth committee, recently helping lead the hiring process for a new youth director. She also is a blood-drive volunteer. Stephen, who grew up in Floral Park, Queens and is a credit card marketing executive at Citigroup, is part of the committee that makes sure the lights, air conditioning and other essentials are in working order each week. He is also a gabai at the downstairs minyan, helps in many other behind-the-scenes roles and is a board member. Together with their children, Ruthie, 12, Elisheva, 9 and Shua, 6, the Islers say they love the AABJ&D community’s warmth. “People still come up to me asking if we just moved here and if they can be of help,” Rachel says.
Lee & Stan Saal, Legacy Award
Lee and Stan Saal have been valued members of the AABJ&D community for the past 44 years. They often work together as a team, in business and in community life. For years, Lee helped prepare kiddush for Shabbat, while Stan helped with the shopping. Lee was Sisterhood secretary, worked at Bingo fundraisers, was a Board member, co-chair of the Russian immigrant resettlement committee and ran Story Hour for 37 years. Stan organized the blood bank, volunteered with the local Boy Scouts pack and is involved with the Jewish War Veterans. The Legacy Award could not have gone into better hands.
Kessler Minyanaires, Service Award
For many years now the community has had the privilege to fulfill the mitzvah of bikur cholim on a weekly basis by providing a minyan at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Through this effort, many families have walked through the doors of Kessler with alot of unknowns. Unbeknownst to them, there is a group of members from our West Orange community who walk several miles every week, who visit on a daily basis – putting on Tefilin with them or a stopping in to say “hello”. Servicing a minyan for the patients and their families gives a sense of regularity to their lives. Each patient has their own personal story and for us to join them and connect with them is a testament to klal yisrael. Seeing first hand the remarkable recoveries patients go through while at Kessler is truly life changing for the families and for the individuals who walk every week to witness the weekly progression. Whether rain, snow, or sleet the ‘Kessler Minyanaires’ walk to Kessler to make the minyan. When the patients are ready to go home and in many cases have made significant progress, the families leave Kessler with new families – the community of West Orange.