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2010-04-16 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


April 16, 2010  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

‘Tree of Life’ dinner will honor community leaders, philanthropists

Maril and Kay Jacobs, Dr. Stephen and Laura Kreitzer, and Joe and Barbara Sterensis will be honored at the annual Tampa Bay Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award dinner Thursday, May 6 at 6 p.m. at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa.

“These individuals exemplify community leadership and philanthropic commitment when it is most needed both here at home and in Israel,” said Mark Miller, co-president of JNF‘s Tampa Bay board.

In addition, the dinner will also honor Sidney A. Goodman, founder of The Palms of Largo/The Goodman Group with JNF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Plus, Gary Gould, CEO of the Tampa JCC Federation, will receive JNF’s Lawrence D. Wasser Award.

The Wasser award recognizes service to the community by a communal service professional from an area non-profit. The award is in memory of the beloved, longtime JNF and then Florida Holocaust Museum executive director, a legendary fundraiser, who died in 2003.

Maril & Kay Jacobs

Maril Jacobs was born and raised in Tampa, a 1954 graduate of Plant High School. He attended Vanderbilt University, played varsity tennis and ran track. After graduation

he was commissioned as an U.S. Navy ensign and was stationed in the Far East, Western Pacific and Nevada.

Maril and Kay Jacobs married in 1959 and they settled down in Tampa. They have three children: Dede, Valerie, and Ken and four grandchildren: Taryn, Charles, Ryan, and Austin.

Jacobs has been involved in the insurance industry most of his life. He joined his father’s insurance agency in 1960, which he sold in 1984. For the next 24 years he worked with Wells Fargo, retiring as Senior Vice President in the Accordia Insurance division.

Maril and Kay Jacobs have long understood their responsibility to give back to their community and have been involved in the civic and Jewish communities for years. Service is a way of life for them. Maril is a member of the Sertoma Club of Tampa and the Hospice Foundation as well.

His devotion to Jewish causes started in youth groups and he served as a SEFTY President in high school. He was on the National Young Leadership Cabinet of the UJA. He has served as a Schaarai Zedek board member and as its president.

Jacobs was JCC/ Federation President two different times and is now a life member of its board.

Dr. Stephen & Laura Kreitzer

Dr. Stephen and Laura Kreitzer met at Queens College, New York, married and settled permanently in Tampa in 1978 after his fellowship at Harvard. Prior to opening his practice in Tampa, he attended Queens College of the City University of New York, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and served as a major in the U.S. Medical Corp stationed at MacDill AFB. Stephen and Laura are the proud parents of three sons: Joshua, Jason, and Ethan.

Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Sleep Medicine, Kreitzer currently serves on the Board of Censors for the Hillsborough County Medical Association. He is also on the Community Board of Directors at Memorial Hospital of Tampa and has served for two years as chair of the Health Professions Division of the United Way Campaign for Tampa.

Their sincere devotion to the Jewish community and philanthropy is evidenced by their deep involvement with many local organizations.

They have received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Congregation Rodeph Sholom and Laura received the Baalat Mitzvah Award from the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

The Kreitzers are also both actively involved in the Tampa Jewish Federation. Laura Kreitzer is immediate past president of the Tampa JCC & Federation, a Lion of Judah and a current board member. For the past 12 years, Stephen Kreitzer has chaired the Health Professions section of the Federation’s Annual Campaign.

They also support the Jewish National Fund as well as the Hillel School in Tampa where she is a past board member. Laura served many years on the board of the USF Hillel Foundation now the Hillels of Suncoast, officiating as president for 4 years during which time the funds were raised and the USF Hillel Student Center was built.

Barbara & Joe Sterensis

In 1981 Barbara and Joe Sterensis met at a planning meeting for a singles group at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, where fifty years before Barbara’s grandmother had been a founding member. Their marriage in May 1982 was the beginning of a partnership with an ongoing passion for family, community and tzedakah.

Both credit that passion to their strong parental models. His parents, Abraham and Yetti Sterensis, were Holocaust survivors and struggled to provide a strong Jewish background for their children. Her parents, Joel and Sheila Grossman, taught by example the life lessons of business, family, friendships and giving back to the community.

Barbara and Joe Sterensis have two daughters, Abby and Lauren.

Barbara Sterensis is a co-chair of Art Festival Beth El, for which she and her other co-chairs have been honored by Israel Bonds and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. She is currently vice-chair of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services and will be the incoming Chair of the Board.

She has also served as Campaign Chair, Women’s Campaign President, and chair of Budget and Allocations for the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties. She is an endowed Lion of Judah and a member of the King David Society. She was awarded the Federation’s Dr. Edward N. Ludin Young Leadership Award and the Woman of Distinction Award.

She has served on the board and committees for Menorah Manor and Benjamin Tower.

Barbara served for seven years as a trustee for Shorecrest Preparatory School where she worked on two capital campaigns, as a board member on the Producer’s Board of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, and a board member of the Art Center of St. Petersburg.

Joe Sterensis is the President of ALC-Advanced Learning Centers, a private academic tutoring and test preparation company.

His community involvement includes serving on the board of Temple Beth El as Vice President of Personnel and Fundraising, a founding member and board member of the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, a member of the Ethics Committee of Menorah Manor and a member of the SES Advisory Committee for the State of Florida.

Barbara and Joe Sterensis have jointly received honors from the State of Israel Bonds and have been named Celebrities of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.

Sidney A. Goodman: Lifetime achievement

From a single real estate holding in 1952, Jewish National Fund’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Sidney A. Goodman founded the privately held company now known as The Goodman Group, in which he is still actively involved today at 90 years of age. The Goodman Group is a development and management company specializing in residential properties, senior living communities offering a spectrum of care and healthcare centers. Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, the company has communities in 11 states and Europe, serving nearly 12,000 residents including the Tampa Bay area.

He has supported a number of Jewish and secular causes, many in Minneapolis where the Goodman Group is headquartered.

In naming Goodman for the award, JNF described him in part this way:

“Humble, inquisitive, humorous, practical: Sidney’s charisma instantly draws people to him. His uncanny business sense makes him the consummate deal maker and natural leader... Through his business dealings, Sidney has been a mentor to hundreds of people over the years, offering guidance based on knowledge, because he genuinely cares about people. He loves to give people the opportunity to challenge themselves and expand their horizons, and his quiet passion for excellence provides a foundation upon which they can build... While Sidney is undoubtedly a very successful businessman, it is this sincere concern for every individual that makes him an exceptional human being”.

In 2004, Goodman received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is awarded to individuals who exemplify themselves as humanitarians.

Goodman has supported a myriad of organizations and causes over the years, both Jewish and secular.

* * *

The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel on behalf of its owners - Jewish people everywhere.

During the past century, JNF has planted nearly 250 million trees, built more than 180 reservoirs and dams, developed 250,000 acres of land, created nearly 500 parks, provided infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment.

Today, JNF is putting its experience to work with the Blueprint Negev initiative, supporting development of the Negev Desert — Israel’s last frontier.

For information about the Tree of Life event, call the regional office at (727) 536-5263, (813) 960-5263 or email

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