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2018-12-14 digital edition
TODAY in the Jewish World:

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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. 


December 14, 2018  RSS feed

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Tampa Federation honors 19 with Bobbe Karpay Women of Distinction award

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Tampa Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy paid tribute to 19 women dedicated to the continued strength and well-being of the Tampa community at this year’s Bobbe Karpay Women of Distinction awards event held at Congregation Schaarai Zedek.

“This evening is a celebration of women who perpetuate the ideals and values of our Jewish heritage through their leadership and have taken the initiative to help create a better tomorrow,” said Karen Schilit, co-chair of the program. “It is because of their hard work, commitment and generous contributions that our community organizations and congregations continue to operate efficiently, productively and engage large numbers of people.”

Francine Dobkin, event co-chair, quoted Sheryl Sandberg – the chief operating officer of Facebook, activist and philanthropist – as saying “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Dobkin shared accolades of the program’s honorees.

“The Women of Distinction this evening selflessly give of themselves for the betterment of the agencies in which they represent.” Dobkin said. “We are grateful for their efforts and thrilled to host tonight’s event, bringing women together to honor those that have paved the way for future generations and to celebrate their achievements.”

Guest speaker, author Sherre Hirsch, spoke about the way we live our lives, using the metaphor of hallways and rooms.

In life, we’re in a lot of rooms – places that are comfortable and that we understand – places where we know our sole purpose and where we know how to behave, act and think. But we spend about a third of our time in a hallway, places of transition to get from one room to another, yet we have no skills or tools to ascend to the next room, and a false belief that we can go back. This is the theme of her most recent book, Thresholds: How to Thrive Through Life’s Transitions to Live Fearlessly and Regret-Free.

* * *

The 19 women who were honored as the 2018 Women of Distinction were:

Muriel Altus
Congregation Rodeph Sholom

Altus has been a member of Rodeph Sholom for 42 years and has been a loyal and conscientious volunteer for decades in the synagogue office. She has an unwavering passion for social action and has volunteered with the Mitzvah Corps, the publication staff and with the clergy for a number of programs and activities. She has also been a member of the Wednesday morning minyanaires for 25 years.

Joyce T. Desmond
Tampa Jewish Family Services

Desmond has given 100 percent of herself to every task she is assigned to as a TJFS volunteer for the last eight years. She has served in many capacities, including as a food bank volunteer and distribution captain. Though Joyce is not Jewish, she identifies with the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and the mission of many Jewish agencies that serve the Jewish and broader community.

Sarina Ergas
Congregation Beth Am

Since joining Beth Am, Ergas has been chair of the Ritual Committee, played a pivitol role in organizing High Holiday services, initiated special Shabbatons, helped organize the congregation’s participation in the Reverse Tashlich program and is always willing to fill in for the rabbi or cantor as needed. She has also served on the Inclusion Committee and has been a member of Sisterhood.

Annie Failla
Bais David Chabad

Failla has been an active member of Bais David Chabad for more than three years and has shared her talents in event planning and project management as their catering coordinator and oneg chair. She is always willing to volunteer and help in any way possible. She is known to lend a listening ear, offer a supportive shoulder to lean on and for her very welcoming countenance.

Susan Guess
Hillel Academy of Tampa

Guess has been the “glue” of the school for almost 24 years. In 1995 she joined the Hillel School of Tampa and has long been considered “the” person to go to. Guess handles all school operations, including the facility, after-school programs and all purchasing. Most importantly, with a quarter of a century of service to Hillel Academy, her institutional knowledge is without measure.

Yael Hatfield
Congregation Mekor Shalom

Hatfield is always ready to help with anything from providing transportation to coordinating an event. She stepped in to serve as the 2018 president of Congregation Mekor Shalom’s board of directors and has previously served as vice president. She is deeply committed to her synagogue and views her service as a way of thanking her spiritual community for their support and love.

Patty Kalish
Weinberg Village Assisted Living

After first joining the board of managers in 2014, Kalish immediately agreed to co-chair the Stephen Weinberg 8 Over 80 Awards and participate in the event’s honoree selection committee for the next two years. She has also co-chaired the 2016 and 2017 Oldest Jewish Americans Brunch, an event celebrating those in the Jewish community who are age 90 and older.

Barbara Kohl Nova
Beth Israel of Sun City Center

Nova is the consummate volunteer for Beth Israel of Sun City Center; no task is too big or small for her to say, “I can do that.” She co-chairs the congregation’s successful rummage sale and sits on the board of directors. As Social Action chair, she represents the congregation in various social action activities in the community. Nova is also a director at large for the Sisterhood board.

Cindy Korenvaes
Congregation Kol Ami

Korenvaes is a long-time member of Kol Ami and has held many leadership roles. She has served as their Sisterhood’s parliamentarian, recording secretary, programming co-vice president, past president of and currently is serving once again as president. Over the last few years she has coordinated Sisterhood weekly Shabbat onegs and kiddishes and is a dedicated office volunteer.

June Kraff
Tampa Bay Job-Links

Kraff has been a Tampa Bay Job-Links volunteer and ambassador since 2013, and goes “above and beyond” to help others. She steps up and demonstrates in her own unique way how powerful voluntary acts of kindness can be — from sending surprise donations, to taking the initiative to share her personal career transition story, thoughts, and emotions on social media to helping raise money to help others.

Tammy Li
Florida Holocaust Museum

Li sits on the museum’s board of directors and earlier this year co-chaired the museum’s largest fundraising initiative, the annual “To Life” Gala benefitting the museum’s educational programming. Li has also led a year-long initiative to develop a strategic marketing plan for the Florida Holocaust Museum, utilizing her professional skills and expertise in marketing strategy and planning.

Michele Norris
Tampa Ameet Chapter of Hadassah

Norris exudes energy, creativity, the power to influence positively and is committed to promoting the advancement and well-being of Hadassah and the Jewish community. Her mantra of tikkun olam represents the body and soul of Hadassah. She has demonstrated excellence year-after-year in meeting and often exceeding her own personal fundraising goals and can be counted on to fulfill whatever function she is asked to accomplish.

Sandy Santucci
Congregation Beth Shalom

Santucci’s meaningful dedication to Beth Shalom has been enhanced by her presence and beautiful voice since the founding of the synagogue 29 years ago when she became the cantorial soloist. She has also supported the synagogue by assisting with publicity and membership as well as serving as a music teacher, Sunday school teacher and treasurer.

Pattie Schreiber
Congregation Schaarai Zedek

Schreiber is someone that Schaarai Zedek can turn to be it for an event that needs a chair, phone calls that need be made, a volunteer to sit at a sign-in table, or a voice of wisdom in a meeting. From pre-school to young families, religious school to Sisterhood and now the executive committee of their board of trustees, Schreiber has had a hand in every segment of the congregation.

Debbie Taub
State of Israel Bonds

Taub has been a dynamic influential voice and an exemplary community leader inspiring support for Israel bonds investments, events and delegations to Israel. She helps the organization in many capacities – she has served as Women’s Division co-chair and offers guidance to the professional staff concerning programming ideas and engagement activities. Recently Taub participated in the International Delegation to Israel for the Jewish state’s 70th Anniversary.

Joyce Whitman Tawil
Tampa JCCs and Federation

Tawil is a creative, motivated and passionate volunteer. She offers her assistance to help often before being asked and always offers innovative and cost effective solutions. She serves as secretary of the Tampa JCCs and Federation board of directors and has dedicated countless hours in the most visible and prominent of positions, including her role as a past Annual President’s Dinner committee member and Lion of Judah chair.

Bonnie Wise
TOP Jewish Foundation

Wise brings expertise and insight as a board member, volunteer and leader of TOP. As the current Chief Financial Administrator of Hillsborough County, and with her executive experiences with the city of Tampa, Wise provides years of financial expertise and understanding needed to oversee TOP’s $50 million portfolio. She goes beyond what is required to ensure that every donor’s investments are well protected and experience solid returns.

Jessica Zelitt
Hillels of the Florida Suncoast

As the president of “Bulls for Israel” at the University of South Florida (USF), Zelitt has been the leader of the pro-Israel movement on campus. One of her top priorities has been to raise the level of Israel education among students through programming, personal contact with a broad range of student organizations, and creating allies and alliances across campus. She encourages her peers to stand up in the face of anti- Israel activities.

Dr. Paula Zielonka
Jewish National Fund

Zielonka has been a long-time volunteer in Jewish and non-Jewish activities and has a true dedication to creating social change. Not only has she been a volunteer and longtime supporter of JNF, she also has been actively involved in a number of other local Jewish organizations including Congregation Schaarai Zedek and its Sisterhood, Tampa Bay Job-Links, Weinberg Village, Tampa Jewish Family Service, and the Tampa JCCs and Federation.

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