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JCC Annual Meeting & Gala to be held June 2

Sepia tone photo of the exterior of a delicatessen along with text promoting the JCC's 2019 Annual Meeting and Gala.

Get ready for the kosher deli vibe to return this year for the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center’s biggest and most important annual fundraiser. The JCC of Syracuse’s 156th annual meeting and gala, presented by naming sponsor The Wladis Family, will be held on Sunday, June 2 from 11 am to 2 pm at Owera Vineyards in Cazenovia. The event will feature an awards ceremony recognizing a wide range of outstanding service in support of the JCC and the community.

This year’s gala theme—back by popular demand from last year—will be a “New York Kosher Deli Experience” catered once again by Essen New York Deli of Brooklyn. It will start with a cocktail hour, which will give way to an authentic deli-style brunch. Following a brief business meeting, five awards will be presented.

“We are excited to honor such a terrific slate of award recipients again this year,” said JCC Executive Director Marci Erlebacher. “Their generous and selfless giving have helped make both the JCC and the local community richer and better off while touching so many along the way.

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. Thanks to last year’s gala supporters, the JCC granted over $40,000 in scholarship requests, served over 6,000 meals to seniors and offered fitness classes at a discount to those in need.

Once again this year’s honorees will be recognized for their dedication and support with a personalized plaque or statue as a token of their honor.

2019 Kovod Award recipient Phillip Rubenstein.The Kovod Award, which signifies honor and importance, will be presented to Phillip Rubenstein, JCC board member and vice president. Rubenstein grew up in Fayetteville, New York. After obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout and graduating from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, he attended the University of Rochester where he studied psychology and interned as a recording engineer at the Eastman School of Music. After graduation Rubenstein worked full time as a recording engineer for the Eastman School and part time for the International Association of Theater and Stage Employees (IATSE). In 1991, he returned to Syracuse to open the home office repair division of United Radio, Inc. He became United Radio’s vice president in 1998 and president in 2005. A class of 1997 graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse, Rubenstein served on its board of directors from 1998–2012 in various positions including a three-year term as president. In 2002 he was named one of Syracuse’s 40 under 40 honorees. Rubenstein has served on the boards of Jewish Family Service and Menorah Park. He currently serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York and the Longhouse Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

2019 Kovod Gadol Award recipient Rabbi Evan Shore.The Kovod Gadol Award, the JCC's highest honor which in Hebrew translates to great honor, will be presented to Rabbi Evan Shore. He is a true community rabbi and has served as spiritual leader of Sha'arei Torah Orthodox Congregation of Syracuse for the past 30 years. He is also the religious advisor to the JCC and its board's executive committee and serves as guest rabbi for the JCC's Jerome & Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program, Bobbie Epstein Lewis Senior Adult Dining Program and is a guest columnist for the JCC's program guide publications. Rabbi Shore has been teaching at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and the Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies since 1989. He is currently Rav Hamachshir of Syracuse Vaad Ha'Ir, Menorah Park chaplain, Syracuse Rabbinic Council president, Rabbinic Council of America executive committee member, board member with the Jewish Federation of Central New York and Rosh Kollel of the Syracuse Torah Mitzion Kollel. He has also founded the STOCS Chevra Kaddisha, founded eruv in the Syracuse area and is a former board member of Menorah Park and Jewish Family Service. Rabbi Shore is a graduate of Yeshiva College, Azrielli School Graduate School in Jewish Elementary Education, Semicha Rabbinic Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary and has been a longtime student of the world-renowned Rabbi Moshe Dovid Tendler.

Neil and Robin Goldberg and Dr. Barbara Davis—individuals who have made their mark through service to the entire Jewish community—will be inducted into the JCC Hall of Fame this year.

2019 Hall of Fame Award recipients Robin and Neil Goldberg.For Neil and Robin Goldberg, family has always come first. Neil, head coach of Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, and Robin, a retired dentist, have also dedicated their professional and personal lives to the community in their hometown of Syracuse. Neil, a graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, joined the family business in 1972. He, along with his brother Steve and cousin Mike, has led the company from three local furniture stores to the largest furniture retailer in the northeast and one of the top five largest retailers in the United States. Robin graduated from the University of Wisconsin and New York University Dental School and completed her dental residency at Upstate Medical Center before retiring from dentistry to become a full-time parent and volunteer.

Neil and Robin are active in a diverse array of communal activities, and together, they served as co-chairs of the United Way of CNY and Jewish Federation of Central New York campaigns. Most recently, Neil has served as chairman of HSBC Bank's regional board, director of Metropolitan Development Association and director of SU's Whitman School, as well as on the boards of the Salvation Army of Central New York, United Way of CNY campaign and Junior Achievement of Central New York. He is currently serving on the national boards of the National Home Furnishings Association, Home Furnishings Council, American Furniture Hall of Fame, National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League and Say Yes to Education. He has been awarded the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York's American Heritage Award, Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership, City of Hope Spirit of Life Award, the American Heritage Award of ADL, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Syracuse Business Journal's "Business of the Year."

Robin has served as president of both the Syracuse Hebrew Day School and Make-A-Wish Foundation, chair of Jewish Federation of CNY Lion of Judah division, annual chair of National Council of Jewish Women's "Mitzvah Project" and as a board member of the JCC of Syracuse, Temple Adath Yeshurun and the Syracuse Jewish Federation (now the Jewish Federation of CNY). She has been awarded the JCRC-NY's American Heritage Award, NCJW Hannah G. Solomon Award, Esther and Joseph Roth Award for Outstanding Jewish Community Leadership, Presidential Leadership Award from Syracuse Jewish Federation, and the Syracuse Hebrew Day School Woman of Valor Award.

Neil and Robin have four children: Seth (Leah), Shira (Jared), Adam (Amira) and Miriam (Jeremy), and seven grandchildren.

2019 Hall of Fame Award recipient Dr. Barbara Sheklin Davis.Dr. Barbara Sheklin Davis is a graduate of Barnard College; she has an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and is professor emerita of modern languages at Onondaga Community College. She served as principal of the Syracuse Hebrew Day School for 27 years and headed the Rabbi Jacob H. Epstein School of Jewish Studies and the Combined School of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas and Temple Beth El. A passionate advocate of Jewish education, Davis serves as editor at large of the Jewish educational journal HaYidion. She has written two books of local history: Syracuse African Americans and The Jewish Community of Syracuse (with Susan Rabin). More recently, she has explored aspects of the Jewish world in three books: 100 Jewish Things to Do Before You Die, A Parallel Universe: Haredi Women Leading Haredi Schools for Girls, and Two Jews Three Opinions: Klal Yisrael, Pluralism and the Jewish Community Day School Network. Davis is currently at work on three other books, including I Hate Retirement (which she does). She and her husband, Dr. Leslie Davis, are the parents of three children and grandparents of nine.

2019 Leslie Award recipient Jessica Malzman.This year’s Leslie Award, the fourth to be given since being introduced in 2016, will be presented to Jessica Malzman, JCC board member and a member of the board’s gala committee. “The Leslie” recognizes outstanding commitment and service to the JCC and the local community—the qualities which the award’s namesake, Leslie London Neulander, personified through her many volunteer pursuits.

Malzman is the chief operating officer at Whitney Partners, a New York based executive search firm specializing in the financial services industry. In 2011, Malzman and husband, Ari, a Syracuse native and Jamesville-DeWitt alum, relocated to the Syracuse community from New York City so that Ari could join his family's local business, Cannon Pools. Jessica quickly adapted to Central New York life; running in many local road races, becoming a member of the nearby museums, volunteering as a tutor with Literacy CNY, starting a local book club and joining Temple Adath Yeshurun. Jessica has been a board member of the JCC for the past two years. She has served on the gala committee for three years and has sat on the parent committee for the JCC's Jerome & Phyllis Charney Early Childhood Development Program for the past two years, most recently becoming the committee co-chair. She was also a member of the Jewish Federation of CNY's young leadership committee from 2017-2019. Jessica earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Cornell University. She and husband Ari reside in Manlius with their daughters, Quinn and Remi, who both currently attend and love the JCC's Early Childhood Development Program.

Invitations for the JCC’s annual meeting and gala were recently mailed out. There are still a variety of affordable corporate and individual sponsorships available, as well as program booklet advertiser spots. To purchase tickets, or for information on event sponsorships, advertising or to place a congratulatory message in the program booklet for any of this year’s honorees, contact Erin Hart at 315-445-2360, ext. 112, or

The JCC of Syracuse, located on Thompson Rd. in DeWitt, was established in 1861 and is the second oldest JCC in North America. It offers a range of quality programs and services for all ages, including infant/toddler care, preschool, before and after school care and vacation camps for school-age children, summer day camps, teen programs, a sports and fitness center, outdoor heated pool and swimming lessons during the summer, adult programming, and services for seniors including a senior kosher meal program.