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2012-02-10 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 10, 2012  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Tikkun Olam Award: David Scher

By ROBERT GREEN Jewish Press

Award winner David Scher as Federation President Sue Schoenbaum looks on 
PHOTO by RAY BASSETT / Maddock Photographers Award winner David Scher as Federation President Sue Schoenbaum looks on PHOTO by RAY BASSETT / Maddock Photographers David Scher was named winner of the Tampa Jewish Federation’s 2012 Tikkun Olam Award at the ninth annual President’s Dinner Jan. 29.

Scher was one of seven nominees from local Jewish organizations. He was selected as the winner by a panel of judges from the organizations.

Federation Chief Executive Officer Gary Gould lauded Scher as meeting all five criteria for the award: performing deeds of loving kindness; providing strong leadership; outstanding volunteer performance; excellence in fundraising and financial support for the community.

“He makes a lot of good things happen on a regular basis,” Gould said in announcing the award. “He’s passionate, he’s brilliant, he’s generous, he’s kind.”

Scher is a past president of the Weinberg Village assisted living community and was president of the Federation in 1996-97.

The dinner was attended by 630 guests including local dignitaries. The dinner was attended by 630 guests including local dignitaries. “I’m so excited. I’m really humbled and proud,” Scher told the 630 dinner guests when he accepted the award.

Past winners of the Tikkun Olam Award were Steve Specter in 2011, Blossom Leibowitz in 2010, Jeff Wuliger in 2009, Doug and Maureen Cohn in 2008, Jack Roth in 2007 and George Karpay in 2006.

Scher is co-chair with Sam Linsky of the Federation’s project to convert the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory into a Jewish Community Center in south Tampa. The project was also announced at the dinner.

The Federation will spend the next year determining what services the center should provide and whether enough funds can be raised to pay for the project.

Last August, Scher and his family presented, on loan, to the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin a Megillah written on lamb skin by his great-great grandfather Avraham Scher in 1845 in Russia. The Megillah, which tells the story of Purim, had been handed down from father to oldest son in his family for five generations.

Scher was born in Ireland in 1948 and lived in England and Canada before coming to Tampa in 1989. He is co-owner of the Stuart S. Golding commercial real estate company in Clearwater.

Besides the surprise announcements of the Tikkun Olam Award winner and proposed South Campus center, Tampa JCC & Federation President Sue Schoenbaum spoke about the current state of the JCC & Federation, urging donors to be generous in supporting its many programs.

“Our Federation is truly flourishing. For the first time in many years, we are totally debt free,” she said.

Schoenbaum said the Maureen & Douglas Cohn Community Campus in north Tampa gets an average of 1,000 visitors a day to the pre-school, after-school programs, fitness facilities and Weinberg Village. She said the Federation also provides support for a number of Jewish organizations locally and in Israel and other countries.

“Give while you live. Give until it feels really good,” Schoenbaum said.

Keynote speaker retired Adm. Eric Olson, who helped plan the miss ion that killed Osama bin Laden last May, said similar operations b y sma l l specially trained units were likely because of chaotic world conditions. Olson retired last August after four years as commander of the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

“It is the tip of the spear,” Olson said about the command which coordinates missions by units such as the Navy Seals and Army Rangers around the world.

He downplayed his role in the bin Laden operation, saying he left the operational details to others. Olson said the raid at bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan was a combined effort by U.S. intelligence agencies and Special Forces. The raid was so well planned and rehearsed that when one of the helicopters crashed, the Seals were immediately able to switch to a contingency plan to complete the mission, he said.

Olson said most of the details about the mission would have to remain secret, including the names of those who carried it out.

“I had the honor of pinning medals on their chests. I don’t know who shot bin Laden. I don’t want to know,” said Olson, who was a Seal himself.

Guests at the dinner at the A La Carte Pavillion included Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) and University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft.

The dinner co-chairs were Harry Cohen and Lynne Merriam. Federation fundraising campaign cochairs are Cindy Spahn and Bev Tannenbaum.

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