May 2 fell on a grand, sunny day in celebration of 180 women (and a few men) who came to Temple Sinai to celebrate the Auxiliary of The William Breman Jewish Home Annual Spring Luncheon.
The purpose of the luncheon was to introduce the group’s new officers and recognize past excellence. Special Events cochair Cheryl Schwartz spoke on behalf of committee members Elyssa Kramer, Michelle Michelman, Emily Tanenbaum and Elizabeth Glass when she said, “After two years of not meeting in person, today our Auxiliary is thrilled to spring forward, actually blossoming in anticipation of a new season and in recognizing Jody Goldstein as a Woman of Valor.”
Goldstein, the outgoing cochair, spoke of the challenges of the past two pandemic years. “Our mandate was to keep the residents and staff safe,” she said. Cochair Kirsten Jacobson spoke of the “fabulousness” of the new fresh faces and officers, noting that Goldstein’s own flower photography was used in the collateral material.
Later, Jacobson received a handcrafted Frabel glass gavel in honor of her own leadership. Shirley Bernes and Robyn Tanenbaum were announced as the new incoming co-chairs.
Jeffrey Gopen, the new CEO and president of Jewish HomeLife, told the AJT, “This is my first annual lunch, and I am thrilled to become part of this history, as well as to create new moments along the way.” Later, Gopen addressed the crowd, explaining how his experience in Boston taught him the “ins and outs of the business” and acknowledged that he had big shoes to fill in light of Harley Tabak’s retirement.
Immediate Past Chair and Chair of Nominating Committee Lori Lewis introduced the new board, starting with the 2022-23 slate, then the general board, with terms ending in 2025.
Always gracious, philanthropist Stephen Berman, was declared the longest serving male Auxiliary member and said the Hamotzi blessing with his granddaughter Blakely Fair, a student at Davis Academy. Director of Recreational Therapy Consuela “Cici” McMullen, an eleven-year veteran staff member at The William Breman Jewish Home, accepted the Neshama Award to a standing ovation after sharing the origins of her passion to serve this senior community.
Finally, Bonnie Kwatnez toasted Goldstein as a Woman of Valor. “[During COVID], Jody did not stand in the shadows and hide. She raised an additional $100,000 during her first year as cochair and had the foresight to reinvest that and started our own Endowment Fund,” she said.
Accepting the honor, an emotional Goldstein spoke of her grandmother and mother, who were both residents of the WBJH. “Jewish HomeLife allows this community to make relationships. My mother died of COVID in the ‘home’ during quarantine. I could not be by her side as she took her last breath; but I knew her caregivers, and was comforted by the fact that she did not die alone. On a lighter note, she was happy there and especially liked the chandeliers,” she said.
Lifetime Auxiliary member Margo Edlin told the AJT, “The organization does wonderful things for the elderly, plus it’s nice here today to be among people we like so much.”
A Kosher Touch catering served orange gazpacho before bringing out a bountiful lunch plate with quinoa, hummus, grilled eggplant, cauliflower and grilled chicken breast, followed by mini strawberry trifle.
Four hundred door raffle tickets were sold in hopes of winning the ebony “On the Go” Louis Vuitton handbag prize. The lucky winner was Melissa Kaplan, who exclaimed, “I didn’t expect to win. I only bought the ticket to support the organization!”
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Temple Sinai
- Auxiliary of The William Breman Jewish Home
- Cheryl Schwartz
- Elyssa Kramer
- Michelle Michelman
- Emily Tanenbaum
- Elizabeth Glass
- Jody Goldstein
- Kirsten Jacobson
- Shirley Bernes
- Robyn Tanenbaum
- Jeffrey Gopen
- Jewish HomeLife
- Davis Academy
- A Kosher Touch