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JCC of Syracuse announces 2016 Annual Meeting and award recipients

A celebration of community service and selfless giving will highlight the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse’s 153rd Annual Meeting and Gala on Sunday, June 5 from 11 am to 2 pm. The JCC of Syracuse will present five awards recognizing outstanding service given to the JCC and to the local community. Included with these this year will be the inaugural presentation of the Leslie Award which honors the spirit of the late Leslie London Neulander. The event will be held at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia and feature an elegant American country brunch.

Photo closeup of a sunflower in a field with the text “Join us for an American Country Brunch“ superimposed over the image.The gala is the JCC’s biggest and most important annual fundraiser. It’s a celebration unlike any other in the Central New York Jewish community in which friends and families come together to benefit the JCC of Syracuse and to pay tribute to those who have acted so generously. A cocktail hour will kick off the event and lead into a delightful brunch. A brief business meeting will follow, which will then give way to the community service awards ceremony. As in previous years, the gala’s proceeds will provide significant funding for scholarships to individuals in the JCC’s early childhood, after school, summer camp and senior programs.

This year’s honorees represent a wide spectrum of dedication and support. The new Leslie Award, which recognizes outstanding commitment and service to the JCC and the local community—all of the things that the award’s namesake, Leslie London Neulander, embodied—will be presented for the very first time to JCC board member and treasurer Sara Temes. An attorney with Bond, Schoeneck & King and a 2015 Syracuse 40 Under 40 honoree, Temes is a rising star among young Jewish women locally who hold leadership positions.

The Kovod Award, which signifies honor and importance, will be presented to JCC board member Joanne Maloff. She has been very involved with the JCC for years, providing exemplary service to the organization including serving as co-chair of the gala committee.

The JCC’s highest honor, the Kovod Gadol Award, which in Hebrew translates to great honor, will be presented to the husband and wife team of Steven and Robin Sisskind. In addition to being longtime JCC members and supporters, the Sisskinds have been very involved with the local Jewish community. Steven is the JCC’s board president and an executive board member of both Temple Adath Yeshurun and Menorah Park. Robin is the corresponding secretary of the Women of Temple Adath and she has been an award winning Weight Watchers leader for over 32 years. Steven and Robin also have co-chaired Menorah Park’s Shining Stars event for the past 12 years.

Two individuals who have generously given so much to the community and to the JCC will receive the Hall of Fame Award. Phil Stein, who passed away last spring, was a partner with D'Arcangelo & Co. certified public accountants. He also was the JCC’s accountant for many years and always willing to serve the center. Stein, a congregant of Temple Concord, was active in the community with Temple Concord, Menorah Park and Junior Achievement. This year’s other Hall of Fame Award recipient, Helen Marcum, is a former JCC board member. She helped to further chip away at the JCC board of directors’ glass ceiling over three decades ago by becoming the center’s second female board president. In doing so, she also helped pave the way for future female leaders on the JCC board. Marcum continues to keep close ties with the JCC as a member and regular attendee of the senior kosher meal program.

“We are delighted to recognize another wonderful group of honorees this year,” said Marci Erlebacher, JCC of Syracuse executive director. “The outstanding service and support that these individuals have given to the JCC and local Jewish community is quite remarkable and humbling.”

For more information about the JCC of Syracuse’s 2016 gala, including event tickets and sponsorship opportunities, call 315-445-2360 or email


JCC introduces the Leslie Award

The JCC of Syracuse invites the community to come and help it launch a brand new award at its Annual Meeting and Gala this year on Sunday, June 5 from 11 am to 2 pm at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia. This award, named the Leslie as it honors the spirit of the late Leslie London Neulander, a tireless JCC and community volunteer, will be presented for the very first time to JCC board member and treasurer Sara Temes, an attorney with Bond, Schoeneck & King.

The Leslie Award recognizes outstanding commitment and service to the JCC and to the local community. These are the qualities which London Neulander personified throughout her many selfless volunteer pursuits. Because this is a very special award with strict criteria for choosing the honoree, the Leslie may not be presented every year.

“Leslie was extremely committed to the community and would oftentimes go above and beyond in extraordinary ways,” said Marci Erlebacher, JCC of Syracuse executive director. “She was not only committed to the Jewish community, but she crossed boundaries and reached out to many other areas of the community. From helping to build houses in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina to serving lunch to our ECDP teachers, Leslie would roll up her sleeves and pitch in where needed. By recognizing others in Leslie’s name with this award, Leslie’s legacy will continue through each honoree’s good works and the marks that they leave on our community.”

It’s fitting that we will present the first Leslie Award to Sara Temes, says Erlebacher. “Sara has demonstrated that same ‘take charge’ drive which Leslie embodied to cross boundaries and help others both here at the JCC and around the community,” added Erlebacher. “I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving to honor and carry on all that Leslie stood for in awarding this distinction for the first time.”

For more information about the JCC of Syracuse’s 2016 gala, call 315-445-2360 or email