Federation, JEF hold 98th Annual Meeting
By ALAN SMASON
With reflection on the past and an eye towards the future, the 98th Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana (JEF) was held at the uptown JCC on Sept. 13.
New slates of candidates were elected for both organizations with Alan Franco being named as the new president of Federation. Franco takes over from outgoing president Julie Wise Oreck, who enumerated the key results in her term of office.
Franco thanked Oreck for her leadership role over the past two years and called his selection “an awesome responsibility and a welcome opportunity.”
He thanked his executive board for their past work as well as past campaign chairs Cathy and Buddy Bart and said he looked forward to partnering with executive director Michael Weil.
“We don’t need to dwell on the past,” he said. “We need to determine our paths and lech l’echa,” reiterating the same words spoken to Abraham in the Bible that mean “go…go for you!”
Franco said he believes in a three-tier approach to improving the Jewish community. First, he said, everyone should work towards establishing an endowment for the Jewish community and pointed to the Create a Legacy program managed by the JEF. Secondly, he challenged the community to engage the next generation of young leadership by moving beyond programs like Lemann-Stern. Lastly, and most importantly, the entire community must embrace the joy of giving, he said.
“First of all, we don’t give to Federation. We give through Federation,” Franco continued. “We give because we can. We give because it’s the right thing to do.”
Aside from Franco other officers elected to the Federation executive board included vice-presidents Joshua Force, Morton Katz and Dana Shepard as well as Henry Miller, treasurer, and Steve Timm, secretary.
Nominating committee chair and past Federation president Dr. Michael Wasserman submitted a slate of 20 Federation board candidates. Approved for new and continuing two-year terms were Jay Corenswet, Ed Kurtz, Shellie Jacobson, Mark Mintz, Sylvan Steinberg, Gary Zoller, Brook Bissinger, Vivian Cahn, Shellye Farber, Alan Kansas, Dr. David Kaplan, Dr. Benjamin Sachs, Amy Shapiro, Robert Brickman, Richard Cahn, Lis Kahn, Julie Silbert, Janice Stern, Ellen Yellin and Charles Stern, Jr.
JEF president Charles “Rusty” Levy gave his report, detailing a rise in assets from $36 million in 2009 to $40 million in 2010. The general fund – from which grants are made to constituent agencies – currently stands at $3.5 million. Levy reported grants of $47,000 in 2010 and grants of $53,000 so far in 2011.
He also emphasized the success of the Create a Jewish Legacy program and noted 75 declarations of intent and 56 completed legacies. After presenting the slate of officers for the ensuing year, which were approved, he congratulated executive director Sandy Levy on the completion of twenty years at her present position.
Elected to two-year terms ending in the fall of 2013 were Sanford Pailet, Courtney Nathan Singer, Mark Stein and Michael Stern. Re-elected to two-year terms ending in the fall of 2013 were Cary Amann, Allan Bissinger, Ann Fishman, Carol Good, Lawrence Lehmann and Oscar Tolmas. Levy was re-elected to a one-year term of office, ending next fall.
As Federation executive director, Weil spoke about the “cutting edge” accomplishments of the past year including hosting the General Assembly (GA) last November. Weil noted that the New Orleans joint GA and International Lions of Judah Conference boasted a record attendance of close to 5.000 people and an unprecedented 421 local volunteers.
The Ann Goldsmith Hanaw and J. Jerome Hanaw Tikun Olom Award was presented to both Federation vice-president Joshua Force and former ADL regional head Joyce Pulitzer by 2011 campaign chairs Cathy and Buddy Bart. Immediate past president Oreck presented the Barts with a commemorative challah plate and holder to signify their successful $2.5 million campaign.
Several other local institutions received additional checks from the Lagniappe Campaign instituted by the Barts and run concurrently with the regular Federation campaign. An additional $35,000 was raised for these funds.
Margot Garon presented the Herbert J. and Margot Garon Young Leadership Award to Shea Soll prior to a video presentation depicting the year in pictures.