Annual Tribute Event 2018
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International House – 500 Riverside Dr, New York, NY 10027, USA
International House has two entrances. We will be using the main one on 500 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027*
*If you are putting this address into the GPS, please be sure that it is taking you to the entrance on 500 Riverside Drive.
For elevator and wheelchair access, please use the entrance on 155 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY 10027
Jane & Ned Gladstein – Hiddur Mitzvah Award
With the exception of their own children and grandchildren, nothing makes Jane and Ned Gladstein prouder than the Gladstein Fellows—their namesake cohort of rabbis and rabbinical students whom they have nurtured over the past 15 years.
Jane and Ned have helped shape the training of the next generation of Rabbis for Conservative Judaism in the United States, and have left a profound impact on Masorti Jewish communities all around the world. Jane and Ned are known throughout the Jewish world for their philanthropy and for implementing their vision for the Jewish future, but nowhere so thoroughly as in the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership at the Jewish Theological Seminary —the elite training program they created for future rabbis in the Conservative Movement.
Inspired by Chayl Masorti, an initiative to send young, dynamic Masorti couples to develop smaller communities around the world, Jane and Ned wanted to replicate its success in the United States. Initially founded as a simple scholarship for rabbinical students, the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership has grown into a comprehensive professional training program in community development and leadership skills, and is now one of the most prestigious names is rabbinical training in the United States. Each year one promising rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary is named a Gladstein Fellow, gaining him or her access to an extraordinary degree of training and professional coaching, unprecedented for young rabbinical students.
A key requirement of the Gladstein Fellowship is that each Fellow serve a minimum of three years post-ordination as a solo pulpit rabbi in a congregation, thereby guaranteeing that smaller communities can be served by outstanding rabbis, and that each Fellow receives a full spectrum of hands-on professional experiences, thereby ensuring they develop the skills and confidence needed to lead any community anywhere. In this way the entrepreneurial leadership and community development skills acquired through the Gladstein Fellowship are preparing the next generation of Conservative rabbis to deal with the changing complexion of the Jewish Community in North America.
Five generations of Gladsteins have been members of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ where Jane has worked for over 30 years as a teacher in the Early Childhood Center. Ned served as President of Congregation Agudath Israel from 1989 to 1991.
The Gladsteins attribute their level of involvement and commitment to Jewish life around the world to Rabbi Alan Silverstein of Agudath Israel, who has held various leadership positions in the Jewish Community worldwide. Rabbi Silverstein has frequently used Jane and Ned as his emissaries. In 2001, Rabbi Silverstein asked them to be couriers to deliver a donated Torah scroll to the Masorti Community in Prague. On a later mission to Latin America, Jane and Ned were shocked by the condition of the children’s’ playground in the community in Mendoza with its overflowing septic tank, and helped design and construct a new, state of the art playground for the community. Jane and Ned’s worldwide involvement has also led them to support a kindergarten for the Masorti community in Kiev, the gan in Kehillat Ramot Zion in French Hill, Jerusalem, as well as community projects in various places in Europe and Latin America. Ned has served as Treasurer and Vice President of Masorti Olami. In 2015 the Gladstein Fellowship partnered with Masorti Olami to run a mission to bring their cohort of American Rabbis to meet Masorti communities in London, Paris and Budapest, and they are planning their next Fellowship Mission to Latin America.
Ned is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and has been nominated to become the next International President of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
The Gladstein family has lived in Caldwell, NJ since 1940 when Ned’s grandfather founded the original Sunrise Market grocery store. His father later joined Wakefern Food Corporation, the ShopRite cooperative of modern supermarkets. Ned has enjoyed a long and productive career both at Wakefern, the cooperative, and at Sunrise ShopRite, the family business currently lead by their daughter, Dara Sblendorio.
Most of all, Jane and Ned are the proud parents of Dara, Liza and Hannah and have eight of the most delicious grandchildren ever.
Rabbi Sarina Vitas – Rabbi Mordecai Waxman Rabbinic Leadership Award
Rabbi Sarina Vitas graduated from the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in 2002 and received her BA in Public Relations from the Argentine University of Enterprise (UADE). Upon her appointment to the Asociación Israelita de Paraná in the Argentinian province of Entre Rios (a position she held from 2005-2009) she became the first female congregational rabbi in Latin America. She is currently developing her professional activity as the Rabbi and Community Director of the Weitzman Comunidad Educativa, a role she has held since 2010. She has served as Executive Vice President of the Latin American Rabbinical Assembly and Director of Placement since 2010.
She is married to Alejandro Rosenberg and mother of two children, Dan and Mijal.
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman International Leadership Award
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg was born in Glasgow to a German Jewish refugee family. After completing his degree in English at Cambridge and teacher training at Goldsmiths, he studied for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College, London, and in Israel, following family tradition. He was appointed Rabbi of the New North London Masorti Synagogue in 1987 and Senior Rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues UK in 2008.
He is a President of the Council of Christians and Jews and a member of the Council of Imams and Rabbis. He is a co-founder of Eco-Synagogue and deeply engaged in environmental issues. He is closely involved in supporting refugees. Further interests include pastoral work, hospice care and literature, especially poetry. He teaches and speaks widely, including on BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day. His publications include The Eternal Journey: Meditations on the Jewish Year (2001); The Silence of Dark Water: An Inner Journey (2008); Walking with the Light (2013); My Dear Ones: One family and The Final Solution (2016) and most recently Things my dog has taught me – about being a better human.
He is married to Nicola Solomon; they have three children and a dog. He loves plants, animals, people, and woodland and mountain walks.
Rabbi Joe Wernik – Lifetime Achievement Award
Rabbi Joe Wernik grew up in Kehillat Neve Shalom in Metuchen NJ, where his Jewish and Zionist education culminated in a gap year in Israel, representing Young Judea in the Institute for Leadership Training, which was a catalyst for his decision to make his home in Israel several years later. After his ordination at JTS, he served as Rabbi in charge of formal and informal education at Park Avenue Synagogue until he made Aliyah in 1969, along with his wife, Miriam Glick Wernik.
In Israel, Joe had an illustrious and influential career advancing Masorti and Zionist institutions in Israel and around the world. Together with Rabbi Alan Silverstein, he moved the offices of the World Council of Conservative Synagogues from New York to its present location in Jerusalem where they renamed it Masorti Olami. Joe was instrumental in creating the Masorti regions around the world, such as Masorti AmLat and Masorti Europe, which made Masorti Olami a truly worldwide organization. He also founded Marom Olami, the young adult movement of the Masorti/Conservative Movement
In June 2006, Joe retired from the position of the Executive Vice President of Masorti Olami (World Council of Conservative Synagogues) and MERCAZ Olami (the Zionist arm of the Masorti/Conservative Movement) and as a member of the Executive of the WZO.
Prior to this position with Masorti Olami, Joe headed the Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education’s Department of Jewish Education and Culture in the Diaspora and also served as a member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. He also served as Chairman of the WZO’s Department for Zionist Activities and was named an Amit Kavod—a lifetime honorary member of the Va’ad HaPoel of the WZO. Joe previously served as National Director of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) and was the former Director of Young Judaea/Hadassah Youth Center in Israel at Beit Riklis.
Joe was an active volunteer for many years in a number of organizations. He has formerly served as Chairman both of the Masorti Movement in Israel and also the Schechter Institutes for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, where he was also a board member of Midreshet Yerushalayim. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of the Diaspora (Beit Hatfutsot), former chairman of the Association for Demographic Policy of the Jewish People and has also served on the board of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. He was a member of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and also a member of the Jewish Educator’s Assembly and the International Rabbinical Assembly.
Joe served two separate terms as President of Kehillat Ramot Zion over the past 30 years and was one of the founders of the first TALI Masorti School in French Hill. He worked with the Jewish Agency on a joint project to educate Ethiopian children and also served as Chairman of the Ramah Committee in Israel and National President of T’nuat Aliyah.
Joe is currently Chairman of Menuhah Nechona (alternative burial) for Jerusalem and its environs and serves as an ex-officio member of the MERCAZ Olami board.
Joe has been married to Miriam Glick, a native of Philadelphia for 52 years, and they are proud parents of their daughter, Idit, and son, Rami z”l. They are proud to be saba and savta to Zohar (Zoe) Nachama and Dvir (Dev) Hadar Wernik.
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* Contributions of $1,000 and over are eligible to receive complimentary tickets.