Breman Auxiliary Touted as Best in US

Breman Auxiliary Touted as Best in US

Spring showers did not dampen The Auxiliary of the William Breman Jewish Home’s Spring Lunch recognizing the important mission of the officers and volunteers who care for the senior community.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Sally Kaplan (front left) poses with Jeffrey Gopen (right) with her family behind.
Sally Kaplan (front left) poses with Jeffrey Gopen (right) with her family behind.

The Auxiliary of the William Breman Jewish Home held its annual Spring Luncheon and Board Installation at Temple Sinai on Monday, May 13, with 143 dedicated members.

Surrounded by her family, Sally Kaplan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Ahavath Achim Synagogue Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal for her decades of good deeds and fundraising.

Cheryl Schwartz, Vice Chair of Special Events, told the AJT, “The luncheon is an opportunity for the Auxiliary to come together to install the incoming board, honor lifetime achievement recipient Sally Kaplan, hear from Jewish HomeLife CEO, Jeff Gopen, and HR Generalist, LaShunda Anderson. The Auxiliary provides funds and events for the residents. Atlanta’s Auxiliary is the largest and strongest of all the Jewish aging services in the country.”

(Center) Ellen Goldstein, past Vice President, and incoming President Sheryl Eisenberg, chat with Renay Levinson, one of the original Auxiliary presidents.

Schwartz and Elizabeth Glass, Vice Event Chairs, welcomed the crowd. Schwartz focused on the Hebrew word “Yahad,” with the group “as one together united for a cause dear to our hearts.”

Eponymous Stephen Berman gave the traditional Hamotzi after explaining that his Davis Academy student granddaughter deferred, “Bubah, you gotta do it on your own.”

While mingling before the event, Berman told the AJT, “This is an important time for us. This Friday, we are showing the residents the refurbished Tower; and Sunday is its official dedication made possible by Barbara and Ron Balser in honor of his parents.”

Nominating Committee Chair Shirley Bernes and Robyn Tanenbaum recognized board members for their service and the committee for their efficient and thoughtful process in selecting board members. Sheryl Eisenberg and Mindy Sard joined the stage as 2024-2025 Auxiliary co-chairs. Eisenberg spoke about her striving for new ventures — one being a partnership with One Table which brings people together for Shabbat meals where Atlanta is the pilot.

Former Auxiliary President Jodie Jackson readies the raffle items before bidding.

Gopen expressed that the luncheon represented “new beginnings” for the Auxiliary, especially for their staff in the final push of their physical year. He complimented the Auxiliary for their sacred work, saying, “You serve as an extension of our team, creating events and making residents feel cared for. And props to Steve Berman for never missing a luncheon and wife, Candy, who will take over as Chair of the JHL Board.”

He shared that renovations to the 45-year-old Tower building have completed phase one — 200 apartments and its infrastructure, and phase two will begin later in the summer and will upgrade the common spaces.

Nancy Lebovitz, Amy Alterman, and past President Nancy Baron believe in contributing to the wellbeing of the senior community.

“The Tower is among the nicest HUD facilities in the U.S. JHL is a major player. Also, Berman Commons is offering a kosher-style menu option to expand its base,” Gopen said.

Rabbi Rosenthal rose to recognize Kaplan’s modesty in “doing good behind the scenes, not seeking attention.” He referred to a summary provided by her daughter, Rebecca, detailing various “Sally-isms.”

“If you are not five minutes early, you are 10 minutes late” … “If you have your phone stuck to your head when your husband comes home, he can’t kiss you.”

Also, Kaplan’s grandson explained that if they traveled with a group, most people get other’s names, but “Sally leaves with everyone’s occupation, favorite color, birthday, and an invitation to visit.”

In terms of Atlanta’s annual Hunger Walk, Kaplan has been the single largest fundraiser over the past 25 years. Rosenthal praised Kaplan’s efforts in providing breakfast for the AA minion birthday club (starting at 7 a.m.), in addition to her good work for JNF and The Epstein School as she so highly values education, “both the spiritual and physical wellbeing of children.”

Special event co-chairs Elizabeth Blass and Cheryl Schwartz spoke about how the organization is “united as one” in its efforts.

Anderson, HR Generalist at JHL, shared her wonderful experience working for the organization and about her upcoming enrollment in nursing school.

Phil Van Gelder served as auctioneer for the raffle by noting the “fancy cars” that drove up to be able to bid vigorously on donated prizes like a diamond necklace, catered dinner for eight by a private chef (sold for $2,100), and floral artwork by past Auxiliary President Jody Goldstein.

Zest Catering served a plated salmon/salad lunch with cream of asparagus soup.

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