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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 © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

May 20, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Women honored for volunteerism, inspiration


Katie Blaxberg received the first Dawkins Young Woman of Distinction award. She also served as co-chair of the event. Katie Blaxberg received the first Dawkins Young Woman of Distinction award. She also served as co-chair of the event. The 28 honored with the Women of Distinction awards May 15 represented a wide swath of the Pinellas-Pasco Jewish community.

There was a pilot, a surgeon, a licensed HAM operator, a graphic designer, nurses, teachers, inventors. One business owner gives dance lessons, another operates a candy store. Between them they have 55 children, 47 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

What all the women have in common is that they are volunteers and were selected by a Jewish organization “for their dedication, hard work, generosity of spirit and their deep love and caring for our Jewish community and its organizations,” said Katie Blaxberg, co-chair of the Women of Distinction event presented by the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties.

Billed as an afternoon tea, the event drew a crowd of about 400 to Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater to applaud the honorees and hear noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer (see related story, front page).


Rob Goldstein, CEO of Menorah Manor, assists the agency’s honoree Gladys Schutz to the podium to receive her Women of Distinction Award. In her 90s, she was the oldest of the honorees. Rob Goldstein, CEO of Menorah Manor, assists the agency’s honoree Gladys Schutz to the podium to receive her Women of Distinction Award. In her 90s, she was the oldest of the honorees. Noting that the honorees’ impact on the community “is immeasurable,” Blaxberg told the recipients: “You are accepting this award for yourself and your mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers, the women who taught you these values by example.”

In addition to the 28 Women of Distinction who were honored, the Federation presented a plaque to Jewish Press owners Karen and Jim Dawkins. “On behalf of out entire community, the Jewish Federation would like to thank you for 30 years of excellence in journalism and unifying commitment to the Jewish community,”said Toni Rinde, longtime pillar of the local Jewish community.

Women of Distinction honorees with guest speaker Dr. Ruth Westheimer, (L-R): Back row, Eileen Richman, Congregation B’nai Israel Women’s League; Ilene Turker, Lylah Pinellas Hadassah Chapter; Linda Goldfarb, Israel Bonds; Pam Himmel, Congregation B’nai Israel; Lori Kremer, Chabad of Pinellas County; Loren Goldman, Temple Ahavat Shalom; Edie Becker, Jewish Women International; Deena Silver, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services; Gladys Schutz, Menorah Manor; Elaine Markowitz, Congregation Beth Shalom; Lizz Singh, Chabad of St. Petersburg; Valerie Levy, Chabad of West Pasco; Jennifer Rosoff, Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties; Judy Ungar, Congregation B’nai Emmunah Sisterhood; Ivy Fish, Temple Ahavat Shalom Sisterhood. Middle row, Patti Hytner, Hadassah North Pinellas; Fran Brickman, Temple B’nai Israel Sisterhood; Zena Lansky, Florida Holocaust Museum; Harriet Stein accepting award for Elaine Miller, Hadassah St. Petersburg; Arlene Fiel, Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood; Dr. Ruth, Yvette Sussman, Chabad of Clearwater; Lois Cohen, Tampa-Orlando-Pinellas Jewish Foundation; Randi Nash-Ortiz, Temple Beth-El; Pam LeCompte, Benjamin Tower. Front row, Polly Kraus, Temple B’nai Israel; Michelle Gordon, Hillel Academy; Loren Fay Saunders, Tampa Bay Jews. Not pictured Carole Frank, Congregation B’nai Emmunah.

Women of Distinction honorees with guest speaker Dr. Ruth Westheimer, (L-R): Back row, Eileen Richman, Congregation B’nai Israel Women’s League; Ilene Turker, Lylah Pinellas Hadassah Chapter; Linda Goldfarb, Israel Bonds; Pam Himmel, Congregation B’nai Israel; Lori Kremer, Chabad of Pinellas County; Loren Goldman, Temple Ahavat Shalom; Edie Becker, Jewish Women International; Deena Silver, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services; Gladys Schutz, Menorah Manor; Elaine Markowitz, Congregation Beth Shalom; Lizz Singh, Chabad of St. Petersburg; Valerie Levy, Chabad of West Pasco; Jennifer Rosoff, Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties; Judy Ungar, Congregation B’nai Emmunah Sisterhood; Ivy Fish, Temple Ahavat Shalom Sisterhood. Middle row, Patti Hytner, Hadassah North Pinellas; Fran Brickman, Temple B’nai Israel Sisterhood; Zena Lansky, Florida Holocaust Museum; Harriet Stein accepting award for Elaine Miller, Hadassah St. Petersburg; Arlene Fiel, Congregation Beth Shalom Sisterhood; Dr. Ruth, Yvette Sussman, Chabad of Clearwater; Lois Cohen, Tampa-Orlando-Pinellas Jewish Foundation; Randi Nash-Ortiz, Temple Beth-El; Pam LeCompte, Benjamin Tower. Front row, Polly Kraus, Temple B’nai Israel; Michelle Gordon, Hillel Academy; Loren Fay Saunders, Tampa Bay Jews. Not pictured Carole Frank, Congregation B’nai Emmunah.

Rinde, currently Women’s Philanthropy chair, also presented the inaugural Dawkins Young Woman of Distinction Award, designated for a woman in her 30s who has leadership qualities.


Emilie Socash, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, makes introductory remarks to a packed house of 400. She enumerated the successes the Federation has had this year including raising $1 million+ for the Annual Campaign and adding several new programs including the family MakeTime Lego events and innovation grants to foster creative ideas. Emilie Socash, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, makes introductory remarks to a packed house of 400. She enumerated the successes the Federation has had this year including raising $1 million+ for the Annual Campaign and adding several new programs including the family MakeTime Lego events and innovation grants to foster creative ideas. The four finalists among the nominees were voted for on Facebook. The winner turned out to be Blaxberg.

Rinde described Blaxberg as “someone who leads by example. … When the JCC was closing and made the decision to shut down the preschool on site at Temple B’nai Israel, it was this young woman who led the charge and worked with a team of professionals to get lawyers, accountants, the temple and others to donate their services to keep the doors open so there was a Jewish preschool in mid-county – a preschool that stands open today.”

Rinde also noted Blaxberg’s involvement in fundraising and temple events and her willingness to volunteer where needed.


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