JSA’s heimish AGM
Ay, Ay, Ay What A Night!
As our JSA marked it’s 11th Annual General Meeting on Sept 11th, at the Zack Gallery at the Jewish Community Centre, it was indeed an evening of celebration inspiration and innovation!
Serge Haber, our beloved and esteemed President, welcomed a standing room capacity crowd and lead us in a minute of silence to honour those who had passed during the year.
Adolf Zilbershtain, President of the Most Bridge Russian Seniors, brought greetings and extended thanks on behalf of its 150 members for the financial support JSA had made to this group.
Bernard Jackson, President of Jewish War Veterans Shalom Branch– one of only 3 in Canada– followed and gifted the JSA with warm greetings and a generous monetary donation.
Thanks to careful fiscal management, our Treasurer Milton Adelson reported that we are in good standing and that adequate funding remains an ongoing challenge and priority.
We learned from Pamella Ottem that our Peer Support Program is now the largest in the city, and that we are looked to for guidance, mentorship and support by many organizations offering similar services. In particular, Pamella attributed the Peer Support leadership of Grace Hann and Charles Leibovitch in building this highly respected program, now serving over 150 Seniors and includes Peer Counselling Services, a Friendly Home Visiting Program, the Shalom Again friendly phone calls to isolated seniors, the Seniors Information and Referral Line, Transport to Medical Appointments and our new Bereavement Support Group.
On behalf of the Membership Committee, Lyle Pullan shared with us that this past year, we gained 46 new members! In order to build and increase our numbers, Lyle urged us ALL to consider ourselves as Committee members, and to “Sign ‘Em Up”, in our goal of 100 new JSA memberships for the next year!
Shelley Rivkin, Associate Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, spoke to how much she and the JFGV valued JSA and our inspirational, outspoken Serge who always put Seniors issues and concerns at the top of the agenda and served as such a Mentor not only for JFGV, but for all who advocate for the well being of our elders, numbering 5,000 in the community and whose numbers will double in the next decade.
As we celebrated our 11th year, and Serge’s 9th year as our esteemed President, his Report highlighted our numerous accomplishments all related to Advocacy (everything we do), Outreach, the Seniors Line Magazine which receives rave reviews, and the Empowerment Series, Fall Symposium and Spring Forum where we have achieved a 25% increase in attendance. He honoured the work the Executive Coordinator Karon Shear, who he said is “my right hand” for her conscientious hard work and dedication, without precedence and the commitment of Rita Propp, Office Assistant. Together with 4,000 hours of our Volunteer activity, this is what makes JSA the “Best of the Best”.
Time to tribute Serge! On all our behalf, this was in the hands and voice of Ken Levitt, Board Vice President. As Ken posed, how many 86 year olds do we know who are such exemplary leaders and contribute with such vitality on a tiny, shoe-string budget? Very few if any and Serge takes the lead! Serge was elected President Emeritus by unanimous vote.
Certificates of Merit were then presented to “retiring yet always rewiring” Board Members. Lyle Pullan presented the nominations slate of returning and new Board members. Election included the Executive Board for 2014-15.
Our incoming President Marilyn Berger, in her acceptance speech concluded the AGM with the message, “Let’s do This together as JSA continues to grow, flourish and thrive”.
Following adjournment, we made our way to the Wosk Auditorium for an absolutely delicious dinner and were welcomed by the Tzimmes Trio (see more about them on page 23). While our maximum capacity crowd did not allow for dancing space, so many of us were joining in the music from our seats–singing, swaying and sticking to the music of the ever-fabulous Tzimmes!
The honorees were selected by their individual organizations in appreciation for their time
“IN SERVICE TO OTHERS”
As we moved to dessert, it was time to recognize honourees selected by their individual organizations for their contribution in service to others and ensuring that they enjoy life to the fullest.
Natasha Likholatnikov, nominated by Chabad Richmond has been a volunteer since her arrival in Canada from the Ukraine. She volunteers in an ongoing capacity often several times each week.
According to Rabbi Baitelman, Natasha spends more hours at Chabad than he does. She is involved in the Womens’ Art Club whose participants are from the former Soviet Union. She is involved in the Community Kitchen, a monthly communal meal prepared in the Chabad kitchen. This important program provides information about Jewish holidays and other Jewish traditions.
Natasha cooks for Chabad community activities, helps to coordinate volunteers, helps with mailing and does much more.
Stacey Kettleman: Beth Tikvah is thrilled to nominate Stacey Kettleman for an award from Jewish Seniors’ Alliance.
Stacey has been a part of Beth Tikvah for many years. She has a large heart and it goes out to many seniors and people who are isolated and need assistance.
Stacey thinks nothing of whipping up a meal whether it be for Shabbat, a Yom Tov or just a warm dinner and then delivering it to a senior in need. She also ensures he or she has food in his or her home by getting groceries for them.
If Stacey hears about a senior not attending an event, she will make a point of getting that person a ride – trying to make sure the senior is not alone, but part of our Jewish community.
Aside from being a huge sports fan, Stacey will always be there for that senior in need.
It was a breeze to sing the praises of Binny Goldman as it was to and for Edith Shier for all their endless enthusiasm, energy and dedication to JSA.
Binny Goldman: Writer, photographer, tribute card creator, honorary life member, Binny brings an enthusiastic and positive presence to the many activities she undertakes for the JSA. Binny rarely misses meetings, voluntarily undertakes assignments with devotion and the results are inevitably extraordinary. Recognizing Binny as a 2014 honoree was indeed a most deserving and easy choice for JSA.
Edith Shier:, is the person who invented the JSA Senior Line Magazine now published three times each year. To quote President ‘Emeritus’ Serge Haber, our magazine “…is the only written communication to the seniors in the Jewish Community and continues to receive rave reviews as the best of the best.” An easy and well deserved 2014 Honoree.
A standing ovation then followed for Serge as Marilyn presented him with a Gavel and wall plaque in honour of the work he has accomplished, the legacy he leaves and the contribution he will continue to make as our stellar fundraiser and advocate–our very own Professor Emeritus! In honour of Serge’s outstanding contribution to JSA and in memory and honour of his late beloved wife Elinor, the SERGE & ELINOR Z”L HABER PEER SUPPORT FUND has been established.
We urge everyone in our community to contribute generously to this fund and make it part of their yearly plan of giving. In Serge’s reply, he urged us to be here and there with all our heart and to press governments at all levels to play a much stronger role in the well being of Seniors.
Wow– what a night of Jewish Joy as we shared stories of success and pride and as we celebrated together! HERE’S TO A NEW YEAR OF GOOD HEALTH AND ADVOCACY AS WE MOVE FORWARD!
by Gyda Chud