UJA FEDERATION COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY GALA HONORS BOB AND MAXINE PECKAR—OVER 300 CELEBRATE OUR COMMUNITY
CONVENING THE COMMUNITY: UJA NNJ AND THE JCRC HELP ADDRESS A CHALLENGING ISSUE
On Wednesday night, young adults, Birthright alumni and Hillel students, public officials, rabbis, agency leaders, synagogue presidents, the affiliated and the unaffiliated, long-time federation supporters and new friends all came together at Temple Emanu-El in Closter to honor Bob and Maxine Peckar at our Community Solidarity Gala. More than 300 people filled the room—including an array of public officials: US Senator Frank Lautenberg, US Congressman Steve Rothman, NJ Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney and Bergen County Freeholder John S. Hogan. The night was special for many reasons. Pictured here: Ilan Bruhim, Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Peckar.
It is always special to honor accomplished, inspirational leaders in our community. Maxine has been a member of the Board of Women's Philanthropy and is a Ruby Lion of Judah. Bob has been a member of the Board of UJA Federation, has led a Men's Mission to Israel, has been an active supporter of the Commerce & Professionals Division and has spoken on behalf of UJA on many occasions. More recently, in addition to his support of UJA, Bob is President of a new initiative at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, (a UJA NNJ beneficiary agency) called "Jewish Home at Home", which provides geriatric care management for seniors wishing to remain in their homes despite their need for medical and other support (Maxine is Vice President of Jewish Home at Home).
Bob and Maxine were joined by their family and a room full of admirers who heard Bob share his thoughts about the meaning of federation in sustaining community and of the need for solidarity. He also described his and Maxine’s upbringing in Bergenfield and all the experiences that brought them to their deep commitment to the Jewish community.
In his keynote address, Bob expressed the following convictions:
"Each of these (community service) endeavors stands on its own; however in combination they define the goodness, the values and great privilege we all have to live in such a wonderful Jewish Community.
This very special combination of services, programs and meaning has one home and, ladies and gentlemen, you are in that home tonight; it is our UJA Federation.
Federation is that home because it is where all the parts come together both in terms of financial support and in terms of being the place where the diverse needs of our community are defined and addressed. Therefore, this first UJA Federation Community Solidarity Dinner is the place where we have gathered to celebrate the fullness of our community in all its individual parts and through that its combined strength of character and resolve."
Pictured here (L to R), event co-chairs, Howard and Anita Blatt, presented Maxine and Bob with a UJA NNJ bowl by renowned glass artist Steve Resnick. The bowl represents the highest honor UJA NNJ bestows on those who have shown exemplary leadership and commitment to our community.
See the virtual journal that was prepared for the Gala.
We are also pleased to announce that the Gala added to the momentum of our 2011 Annual Campaign, generating $200,000 in additional contributions.
Finally, we also want to thank everyone on the event committee who, along with Anita and Howard Blatt, worked so hard to make the evening a great success: Virtual Journal co-chairs Betty Hershan, Chuck Ludmer, and Dan Silna: Silent Auction co-chairs Eileen Greenspan and Judi Reisman; and Young Leader co-chairs Lindsey and Marc Blatt, Simara and Ilan Bruhim, and Tiffany and Steven Kaplan.
Many in our community have been following the issue that arose in the aftermath of a same sex wedding announcement running in the Jewish Standard. The series of events has received wide media coverage, not only here in NNJ, but also nationally and even internationally.
This is a challenging issue, one about which people can—and do—disagree. However, what is clear and indisputable is our responsibility as this community’s federation, to do everything we can to serve as the convener and to help foster an open, candid, respectful and productive dialogue.
We pride ourselves on being an inclusive community. However, when disagreement arises about an issue of deep importance to many people, our responsibility is heightened. Key parties need to come together, share views, air disagreements and search for common ground. An open discussion also could mean recognizing, with respect, that there might not be an easy resolution and, as a result, that our shared task is to focus on ways to keep our community intact and united around the many critical issues and values we share.
I was a participant at an initial meeting that took place at Temple Emanu-El of Closter last Thursday, October 7th, to begin discussions about the announcement in the Jewish Standard and what occurred in the weeks after the announcement ran. To follow up, UJA NNJ and the Jewish Community Relations Council are convening a working group next week, under the auspices of the Jewish Leadership Forum of JCRC, to discuss next steps in the formulation of a community-wide program to foster greater intra-Jewish dialogue and understanding.
The meeting will take place next Wednesday at UJA Federation headquarters. An invitation was sent by Rabbi Neal Borovitz, JCRC Chair, and Joy Kurland, Regional JCRC Director, to a diverse group of rabbis, local agency executives and other prominent communal leaders.
We look forward to continuing the dialogue and to working together on behalf of our community. The meeting will not be open. However, I recognize my responsibility to keep you—the leadership of our community—informed about our progress and will do so in future Updates.
As we look back on this week, on the excitement and enthusiasm of the Community Solidarity Gala and on the challenging issues we face as a community, we are optimistic, engaged…and ready to act. We thank you for your support, involvement, interest and leadership.
Economic Crisis—How to Get Help—and Give Help:
UJA NNJ remains focused on addressing the ongoing impact of the economic crisis. If you need help—or know someone who needs help—click here. We welcome information on any job openings and, of course, generous support of UJA NNJ’s Economic Crisis Fund.
Jewish Family Service of Bergen and North Hudson Community Conference this Sunday in Teaneck
The conference will provide strategies on managing financial and career challenges. Keynote speakers include Eli Amdur, Senior Coach and Advisor, Amdur Coaching and Advisory Group; and Bergen Record columnist David Giller, Esq., Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense Attorney.
UJA NNJ is proud to join many local organizations as a co-sponsor.
Synagogue Leadership Initiative
Jewish Educational Services
Jewish Community Relations Council
Israel Programs Center