Voice of Service for Chabad, MARTA

Voice of Service for Chabad, MARTA

By Cady Schulman / cschulman@atljewishtimes.com

Liz Helgesen for Atlanta Jewish Times

Photo by Jon Marks Photography
Liz Helgesen accepts the Chabad of Cobb Service Award from Chanie Silverman as Rabbi Ephraim Silverman looks on Feb. 7.

For Liz Helgesen, volunteering several days a week at Chabad of Cobb is just one way she can give back to the synagogue she says has helped her grow as a Jewish woman.

“I just feel completely blessed to be given the opportunity to grow and shine brighter and brighter,” Helgesen said.

To honor Helgesen for her hours of service, synagogue officials selected her as this year’s recipient of the Chabad of Cobb Service Award.

“I consider it a wonderful opportunity to spread the word and spread the message,” Helgesen said. “It’s less about the award itself and more furthering my journey of helping others grow and making the world a better place. I feel privileged to hang out with some incredible people. I see it all filled with a purpose to change the world, one tiny stamp at a time. My hope is that it will serve to inspire others to volunteer. Just go out and do good.”

Helgesen performs a myriad of tasks at the synagogue, from stuffing envelopes and licking stamps to making meals, cleaning and shining the shofars.

Teddy Sable, the synagogue’s director of operations, said the countless hours Helgesen has put in the past 10 years have been a tremendous help to the synagogue’s small staff.

“It helps a million,” Sable said. “I don’t know how to describe it in other words, but we’re small and work hard and love this place, and we’re all very passionate about what we do, and Liz is just part of the team. She comes in with her spirit and her energy. She’s just a great person.”

Liz Helgesen for Atlanta Jewish Times
Photo by Jon Marks Photography
Liz Helgesen accepts the Chabad of Cobb Service Award on Feb. 7.

In addition to cooking and cleaning, Helgesen helps with such office tasks as making spreadsheets and bank deposits, registering children for summer camp, setting up for Shabbat, and making posters for display in the lobby.

“She has a beautiful soul,” Sable said. “Liz would do just anything. She’s very unique. There aren’t a lot of people like that. That’s why we wanted to recognize her in a very special way.”

Sherry Kornheiser, who has been the synagogue’s administrator the past 15 years, calls Helgesen an angel.

“Liz is an amazing volunteer,” Kornheiser said. “Everything she does, she does with tremendous love. She has an almost spiritual aspect about everything. She hopes that every letter will bring goodness in some way. No matter what you ask her to do, she’s happy to do it. She’ll make something in the kitchen. She’ll run errands. … She’s just an angel. I can’t say enough good things about her. She has an inner goodness that is just incredible.”

Helgesen also works full time as a voice talent. As the owner of Passion Fruit Voiceovers, Helgesen spends her days voicing commercials and corporate narrations, as well as making recordings for automated phone systems, navigation systems and tutorials.

She also is the voice of the MARTA system: Passengers hear her announcing each stop.

Despite her full-time career, Helgesen said it’s not hard to find the time to help at Chabad of Cobb.

“I consider it all my life,” Helgesen said. “I work it in to my career. It’s part of what I do. It’s as important to me and meaningful to me that I consider it all a part of my corporate responsibility. It’s very important to me for my own growth and development. It has helped me get outside of myself and illuminated the most precious and beautiful part of me that took me years to recognize.”

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