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2018-09-07 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 © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


September 7, 2018  RSS feed
Front Page

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Federation names Ezra Singer president; welcomes new board

Ezra Singer Ezra Singer While Ezra Singer has only lived in St. Petersburg for three years, he just made a big commitment to the Jewish community by becoming the new president of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

The Federation also welcomed the slate of officers and directors for the 2018-19 year during its first meeting of the fiscal year.

Singer, a native of New York, moved here with his wife, Skipper. They selected the locale for its vibrant arts community and comfortable climate. Prior to his move to Florida, Singer lived in Columbus, OH, where he worked as an executive with L Brands and served on the boards of the Columbus Jewish Federation and the Hillel of the Ohio State University. A lawyer by training, he previously held executive human resource positions with Verizon and Lenovo. Singer has an adult daughter, Allison.

Immediately upon arriving in Florida, Singer reached out to the Jewish Federation to become more involved and joined the board in 2016. He also serves on the board of freeFall Theatre and is a Big Brother.

“For me, taking on the role of president of our Federation is tribal. I grew up in an Orthodox home, and I’ve come to understand personally that it’s important to be a part of a people. I am incredibly proud of what the Jewish people have and continue to contribute to society at large. This is my people, and I’ve been so impressed with what our Federation has been able to do right here in my own community that I want to be a part of the next chapter,” Singer said.

Emilie Socash, executive director of the Federation, said, “The past few years, we have been so fortunate to have such skilled and connected community members as president. Karen Reich, Margot Benstock, and Steve Klein all were instrumental in assisting our Federation in the most-needed ways, and I am excited to have the chance to work with Ezra on taking our organization and our community to the next level.”

During the past three years, the Federation’s annual operating budget has grown from approximately $900,000 to more than $1.5 million through efforts led by these presidents together with Socash. The Federation has operationally stabilized as well as expanded its role in the community, bringing resources together in such a fashion that allowed for the launch of the Jewish Community Camp in 2017, hosting a community schlicha (ambassador) from Israel during the 2017-18 year, placing a new emphasis on arts and culture programming, and increasing allocations to all local and international beneficiaries.

“In my two years as president, I am setting my sights on continuing to build a high-capacity leadership team, rolling out an action plan related to the recent demographic study findings, and doing more of the things that touch our community, which help drive the resources needed to continue our growth,” Singer said.

Joining him on the executive committee are Aliza Norstein as secretary, Hal Hershkowitz as treasurer, and Steve Klein as immediate past president.

New members to the Federation board are Jessica Englehard, Susie Schwartz, Aaron Slavin, and Rabbi Michael Torop (as a representative of the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis). Continuing board members fulfilling their three-year terms are David Bernstein, Eric Lynn, Louis Orloff, Karen Reich, Toni Rinde, Brian Rolfe, Les Rubin, and Steve Schwersky.

The nomination process requires a seven-member committee nominate new and continuing board members as well as recommend executive committee members. This year’s committee was headed by past president Margot Benstock and included five board members in addition to Rabbi Danielle Upbin, representing the Leadership Council. At the Aug. 23 meeting of the board the slate was proposed and unanimously approved.

The Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties creates opportunities for all Jewish community members –regardless of affiliation or observance – to connect in meaningful ways. For more information about getting connected or involved, visit

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