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2018-11-02 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.


November 2, 2018  RSS feed

Text: T T T

New group of Federation Fellows announced

Five young adults have been selected to participate in the 2018-19 Federation Fellows program, embarking on a year-long volunteer leadership journey that culminates in a nine-day mission to Israel as part of the National Young Leadership program.

Now in its third year, the program was designed by the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties as a unique way to engage and cultivate future leaders.

The new Fed Fellows, as they are often referred, were selected from 10 applicants by a committee of Federation professional and lay leadership. The new fellows are Rebecca Berger, Sarah Feld, Kara Goldberg, Jackie Wertel and James Lugo.

The cornerstone of the program is the Fed Fellows’ commitment to volunteer service. The participants, which began their service year in September, must volunteer 10 hours per month in the Jewish community, largely within the context of Federation activities. Each of the Fellows brings a different set of experience and interests, and will fulfill their service on both individual and group projects.

The service work will lead up to a fully-funded trip to Israel as part of the National Young Leadership Mission of the Jewish Federations of North America next July for the five selected fellows.

This year, two additional applicants, Kory Blair and Jared Weiner, were invited to participate as alternates. The two will receive significant stipends toward their participation in the mission and should a Fellow be unable to travel on the mission, the alternates will be afforded the opportunity.

Meet the 2018-19 Federation Fellows

Rebecca Berger has been involved in Jewish life since she was a child. She was actively involved in Hillel and several Jewish community service organizations throughout college and graduate school, and currently is very involved on the council of the Federation’s

Young Adult Division. Her Israel experiences have included both participating in Birthright and a study abroad program during her junior year of college. Berger is a pediatric nurse practitioner in St Petersburg.

“I am excited to be a Federation Fellow where I will again be able to become involved in Jewish community service and social action activities, and I’m even more excited to travel to Israel with other like-minded young adults, who are looking to continue to strengthen their ties to their local Jewish communities,” Berger said.

Sarah Feld was named the 2018 Dawkins Young Woman of Distinction recipient for her active involvement in the Congregation B’nai Israel community. Feld loves to read, sing and dance - even when people are watching. A runner, she has run many half marathons over the years.

“The excitement of being able to help in my Jewish community and hopefully really make a difference in the lives of others drives me to get involved. Judaism has helped me find my spiritual community, and getting involved in volunteerism has guided me to see what is really important in my life,” Feld said

Kara Goldberg is a St. Petersburg native. She graduated from Flagler College with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and now specializes in digital marketing for the theatre, with a focus on publicity photography and videography. Currently a staff member at American Stage Theatre, she can often be seen on stage as well as behind the scenes in various roles. She served as the facilitator for the panel discussion preceding the production of Bad Jews, and has always seen theatre as a way to connect with her Jewish identity. Since her bat mitzvah at Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater, for which her mitzvah project was to volunteer in the temple’s kindergarten class, she has applied her talents as a teaching artist. Goldberg plans to bring a collaborative theatre project to life as part of her Fed Fellows service.

“I can’t wait to see what my year as a Fed Fellow will bring. I can already tell that I’ll be making connections and building new relationships that will last a lifetime, as well as discovering new, meaningful ways that I can connect with my Jewish community.”

James Lugo is a genetic genealogy enthusiast determined to find as many of his ancestors as possible and hopefully uncover their stories as a way to honor their legacy. A Navy veteran, Lugo is an animal lover, advocate for human rights, social justice and the environment. Professionally he is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in private practice for more than 14 years.

A disaster response volunteer with the Pinellas County Medical Reserve Corps as well as Lealman’s Community Emergency Response Team, Lugo plans to coordinate an emergency response training program for Jewish organizations in Pinellas and Pasco Counties as well as raise the visibility of the Federation supported Lone Soldier program for Israel Defense Forces’ individuals serving without family in Israel.

“As a Federation Fellow, I have been granted a unique opportunity to continue my journey of uncovering my Jewish roots and to therefore discover and develop my Jewish identity in the process. I am very excited to be part of this community,” Lugo said.

Jackie Wertel is a member at Congregation B’nai Israel, serves as the congregation’s Sisterhood Treasurer, and volunteers at many of the synagogue’s events. She also volunteers at USF St Petersburg graduations and the Times Festival of Reading. She’s already begun her service with volunteering at the recent musical event at Jo-El’s, and is excited to return to Israel after her first visit on USY Pilgrimage.

“I feel that my ability to plan and run any size event, my computer skills, and my knowledge as a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) could benefit the Federation in many ways,” Wertel said. “I hope that by being a Federation Fellow I can expand my Jewish circle of influence (both on me and on others) in Pinellas County by learning more about what other areas of the community do.”

The alternates

Kory Blair was born in Columbus, OH and relocated to St. Petersburg six years ago. Blair is a recreational therapist at a pediatric skilled nursing facility and has coached Special Olympics for more than 15 years, currently working twice weekly with the group’s swim team. “I have always loved learning about my Jewish community and all the various facets of observance and culture. I’m excited to be able to view the community through the eyes of the Federation,” she said.

Jared Weiner was born and raised in West Hartford, CT, where he attended Hebrew and volunteered at his local JCC and temple. He joined B’nai Brith Youth Organization in high school, and went on to participate in a Birthright trip. After Birthright, he said “I fell in love with Israel: the culture, people and country is a beautiful place.” He hopes to put his passion for food to work as a Federation Fellow to give back to people in need of help with: learning how to cook, need pre-cooked meals, or who might need assistance from a food bank.

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