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Congregation Israel of Springfield Shows ‘Achdut’ at 49th Annual Dinner

(Courtesy of CIS) On Tuesday, April 9, Congregation Israel of Springfield (CIS) hosted its 49th Annual Gala Dinner at Crystal Plaza in Livingston. Members and friends joined together for evening of achdut/unity, recognizing this year’s honorees and celebrating the special, close-knit community. The event featured a delectable dinner, a photo booth to capture memorable moments, and an interactive and engaging program. One of the highlights was a powerful video created to showcase CIS’ support of Israel in the wake of Oct. 7.

The dinner paid tribute to Guests of Honor Miriam and Josh Stern, who were presented with the Rabbi Israel E. Turner Memorial Award in recognition of their contributions to the shul. Since joining CIS, Miriam and Josh have become devoted shul volunteers. From cleaning up after seuda shlishit to building custom booths for the Purim carnival, no task is too trivial for them to tackle. Their impact on the shul has spanned across many initiatives, including being a member of the CIS Board of Trustees as well as serving on the dinner, NOATS and youth committees.

The recipients of this year’s Young Leadership Award were Ariella and Eric Bloom. Following their arrival in Springfield eight years ago, both committed themselves to playing an active role within the community. Ariella currently sits on the CIS Board of Trustees as the recording secretary and previously chaired CIS’ membership committee. Eric has focused on supporting the shul’s minyanim and shiurim, participating in the daily Daf Yomi shiur, and establishing multiple chavrutot with other members.

Miryam Smilow was awarded the Aishet Chayil Award, recognizing the myriad of volunteer roles she has held at CIS since moving to Springfield in 2007 with her family. Currently serving as chair of the Gemilat Chesed Committee, Smilow works to assist the community through all life cycle events. She is also a co-founder of CIS’s Yom Chesed and previously served on the boards of both the Sisterhood and mikvah.

In acknowledgment of his daily presence at CIS minyanim and as an active participant in Rabbi Marcus’ mussar shiur, Gabe Nadel was honored with the Edward Konigsberg Memorial Award.

Finally, Noa Bitansky was the recipient of the Joseph Tammam Memorial Youth Community Service Scholarship Award. Born and raised in Springfield, Bitansky has spent many hours at CIS, having attended the shul’s nursery school and now working as a beloved youth group leader. A senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, she devotes her time to volunteering with organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Afya Foundation and more.


For more information, visit congregationisrael.org.

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