When the Agency for Jewish Learning decided to cease operations as an independent agency, the Federation divided the dollars being invested there into two parts: teen work for our community through the JCC and Jewish educational capacity building at the Federation. That led to the development of a new department for Jewish Education and Engagement at the Federation. Since that time, we have been able to launch new initiatives for Pittsburgh including Honeymoon Israel and OneTable. Federation also took on the responsibility of facilitating the Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for our Pittsburgh Jewish community.
This year’s teacher, like all predecessors, is a stellar educator. Sharon Serbin has been a force for our Jewish children for decades. In her speech, she discussed the role that her own Jewish foundational experiences through youth groups and Jewish camping inspired her work. It was an incredibly powerful speech by one who lost her own ability to hear at a young age. I encourage you to watch the video about Sharon below that was presented at the ceremony.
At the program sponsored by the Barbara and Lester Parker Fund in the Federation’s Community Foundation, I tried to remind all of us that there are many “Sharon Serbins” in our community – our educators, caregivers for our seniors, social workers, administrators, fundraisers, programmers, planners, counselors, group workers, accountants, HR professionals and career counselors who make such a difference in the lives of thousands every single day. It is our financial support that allows them to work their magic in taking care of the needs of every member of our Jewish community.
Thank you to all those who work day in and day out as Jewish communal professionals in making this such a special community.
Jeff Finkelstein, President/CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh