JELF Extends Education Through Service

JELF Extends Education Through Service

The 147th annual JELF meeting featured current remarks about the value of education and recognized those who donate their time and expertise to help others get ahead.

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.

JELF CEO Jenna Shulman stands by Rob Rickles, outgoing board chair. 
JELF CEO Jenna Shulman stands by Rob Rickles, outgoing board chair. 

In the 147th AnnualJELF meeting, members saluted the volunteers and officers who have advanced access to education in record numbers.

On Dec. 6, the Jewish Educational Loan Fund confirmed their new slate of 2024 officers and extended a hearty “mazel tov” to their long-standing volunteers. The focus was on the good works of JELF in tune with its annual meeting at Temple Sinai.

Andy Gross (left), who received the Koonin Family Service Award, and Jeff Alperin, recipient of the Garber Family Award, chat with Ilana Lind, a newer board member and former JELF recipient.

Outgoing Board Chair Rob Rickles, a previous JELF recipient, kicked off with record-breaking statistics for the year end 2023, reporting that a total $2,025,261 was loaned to 438 students. He also spoke of the newly re-imagined JELF website and post-Oct. 7 constructive tools.

Stan Lowenstein (left), past President, Judy Wolman, past board chair, pose with Glen Nadel, past board member.

Rabbi Dr. Brad Levenberg, of Temple Sinai, focused on a bright future now that students are back on campus, and the fact that Jews continue to assemble in today’s dark times. He said, “I am saddened by the suffering in the Middle East and recall Russian dissident Natan Sharansky seeing one tiny flame during his imprisonment which gave him hope.”

JELF CEO Jenna Shulman introduced Judy Wolman, PhD, “who was a JELF recipient and never really left,” serving as recent past board chair and ushering in the new slate of officers.

Incoming board chair Emily Sauerteig appreciated the support of her family, husband, Rene, mother, Barbara Klawans, who flew in from Chicago, children, Hannah, and R.J.

Incoming Board Chair Emily Sauerteig started by acknowledging the large shoes left for her to fill beginning with a coffee date with Jane Aronoff, past board chair, and spoke of the recent numerous board review sessions and support at both “the micro and macro” levels.

She continued, “This year has been one of intense heartbreak which makes our mission more important than ever as policy shaping agents in the face on antisemitism where Jews need to be there to support other Jews.”

JELF is not only there financially, but also with other resources. She complimented Shulman, who initially started with $800,000 worth of loans, now heading into her tenth year at the helm. She said, “We have to keep up with the soaring costs of higher education, and this year saw a million-dollar gap. There are other changes like the consideration of part-time students. We are stronger because JELF lends money and creates connections.”

Featured speaker, Richard Peretz, former CFO of UPS and JELF Executive Board member, recalled the indelible impact the Jewish community had on him as a young man growing up in San Antonio, Texas. He said, “There I was in a commuter school with no JELF, while the Jewish community was there to help.

JELF’s 2023 statistics are record setting: $2,025,261 loaned to 438 students.

Education is the great equalizer and allows students to make dreams into reality and lifelong successes. I would not have traded my path.”

Current JELF recipient Eli Benveniste spoke about his attendance now as a UGA college junior where AEPi fraternity enriches his life, and concluded, “Thank you for believing in the underdog.”

Marianne Garber, PhD, past board chair, presented the Garber Family Honor Roll Award to Jeff Alperin noting his 28 years of persistence, attention to detail, and ability to see the big picture.

Current JELF recipient Eli Benveniste spoke of the help he has and is receiving through times of family hardship.

The Steve and Edyie Koonin Service Award was given by Jane Aronoff to Greg Gaylis and Andy Gross. The former for his work as an attorney, focusing on JELF employee benefits, and the latter for his fundraising, streamlining the infrastructure, and serving on three committees concurrently.

A lively video was shown of the three winners explaining that education is paramount and the tenant upon which everything is built with their intent to go forth and find more students. Shulman concluded by recognizing Rickles for his loyal service.

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