(Courtesy of JCRC) The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) celebrated seven leaders for their public service and philanthropic generosity at its 2022 Virtual Winter Benefit. Through the generosity of JCRC-NY’s supporters, the event surpassed the fundraising goal and exceeded the Winter Benefit record.
The 2022 Virtual Winter Benefit honored:
Hon. Richard Ravitch, founding president, JCRC-NY, and former New York State lieutenant governor, with the Founders Award.
Dr. Janice Weinman Shorenstein, past president, JCRC-NY, and immediate past CEO, Hadassah; Marissa Shorenstein, board member, JCRC-NY, and past president, northern region, AT&T; and, Stuart Shorenstein, chair, New York City and State practice, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies with the Continuing Legacy Award.
Robyn Polansky Morrison, officer, JCRC-NY, founder and lead principal, MORR Strategy, and co-founder, Jewish Women INVEST, with the Inaugural Blumberg Family Young Leadership Award.
Mona Gora Sterling, founder, Golden Lioness Corp., and David Sterling, CEO, SterlingRisk with the Inaugural Long Island Leadership Award.
Greetings and special remarks were delivered by Ambassador Asaf Zamir, consul general of Israel in New York and David L. Moore, chair of the board of UJA-Federation of NY.
“Richard, Janice, Stuart, Marissa, Robyn, Mona and David are all true leaders dedicated to family, faith, community, the State of Israel and the concept of ‘giving back.’ With guidance and support from them and our lay leadership and programs such as the Community Security Initiative, a joint project with UJA-Federation, and our Shared Society fellowships and coalitions, JCRC is continuing our efforts to combat antisemitism and hate and build strategic relationships with diverse leaders throughout our city and Long Island,” said Cheryl Fishbein, JCRC of New York president.
“What a special evening this was,” said Gideon Taylor, JCRC-NY executive vice president and CEO. “We are so pleased that so many people could join us as we celebrated JCRC’s mission of uniting communities. … On behalf of everyone at JCRC, I thank you all for your friendship and support, and hope to see you at our Spring Gala in June.”
In accepting the Founders Award, Richard Ravitch said, “I was the first president, the founder in 1975, and I’m very proud of it, particularly given what it’s become—far more significant than it was in the beginning. There had been Jewish community councils created in other cities in the country. We said, ‘Let’s have one organization.’ So we decided to try to get the Jewish community in New York to speak with a single voice. And that was the goal on the theory that had far more effectiveness than having all these other organizations speaking individually. It was a wonderful experience in my life.”
Janice, Marissa and Stuart Shorenstein said:
Janice: “The Continuing Legacy Award means so much to me and to my family. Working with JCRC was really the culmination of being able to contribute to the city. JCRC is really a unique and very important element of the fabric and of the future of the City of New York. Wherever there has been the opportunity to bring different groups together in order to solve problems, in order to address differences in order to build a future together, JCRC has been instrumental. I also think that JCRC has done an amazing job in educating the political community and the civic community about the role of Israel.”
Marissa: “JCRC does such wonderful work in so many different areas, but the area that I think is most important to me is really the work that they do with communities across New York City, communities that are not Jewish. JCRC works to build bridges with those communities. It works to create leadership opportunities for people to come together to talk about their differences and how they can move forward together.”
Stuart: “It represents a family effort over many decades. This is the mark that we can leave. The Jewish people have survived for 5,000 years by passing the torch from one generation to another. And that is the mark that we hope we can continue into the future. And if we are successful in that, we can rest easy wherever that may be.”
About his endowment of the Inaugural Blumberg Family Young Leadership Award, Tom Blumberg stated: “This award means carrying on traditions. It’s a great thrill to be able to pass it on to the future generations and say, ‘We’ve made a positive difference in this world of ours here, and it’s now your role to do the same.’”
In her acceptance remarks for the Blumberg Award, Robyn Polansky Morrison said: “To me, creating the communities through relationships is what inspires me to do the work. One of the things that JCRC does is recognize that relationships are not just about today, they’re about yesterday and tomorrow.
“Becoming really, truly part of the Blumberg family makes me emotional as I have become a mom recently, and teaching Myles and Wren about the importance of giving, about the importance of community, about the importance of tikkun olam. This is a responsibility for me to take this award and do something with it. I’m going to go and mentor the next generation.”
The Inaugural Long Island Leadership Award honorees, Mona Gora Sterling and David Sterling, talked about their rich family life. David said, “Mona is a second generation Holocaust survivor. I am a Jew who grew up in the United States learning about the history of these things, but never touching it. Becoming part of the family that had these wartime experiences that were horrific gave tremendous meaning and drive behind what I do.”
Mona remembered: “[My father] was a Holocaust survivor, originally from Warsaw, Poland, and he was my best friend and my mentor. And he really taught me everything about life, love, family and gave me a real sense of Jewish tradition, which we carried on in our home today and to our children.”
“We have to be really vigilant, and we have to be aware, and we have to build those relationships with all communities. That’s why we feel the JCRC is important. And that’s part of what drives our values and our involvement in the Jewish community,” David noted.
JCRC-NY’s 2022 Virtual Winter Benefit was made possible through the leadership of Co-Chairs Tom Blumberg, Sandy and Stewart Cahn, Judah Gribetz, Carol and Jerry Levin and Dr. David Morrison and the extraordinarily generous support of the honorees, The Blumberg Family and all the sponsors.