Volunteer Awards Brunch 2021

Sunday, October 10, 2021

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Meeting ID: 836 7148 5604
Passcode: AWARDS





2021 Award Honorees

Lester A. Hamburg Member of the Year Award

COVID-19 Task Force Doctors

Dr. Micah Jacobs

Dr. Micah Jacobs has been a member of Beth Shalom since moving to Pittsburgh in 2008 to join Romano, Pontzer and Associates as an infectious Disease Physician. Dr. Jacobs is currently the managing partner of the 6 physician Infectious Disease group and works primarily out of UPMC St. Margaret hospital. At St. Margaret Dr. Jacobs has been a key part of the COVID response from an infection control and prevention standpoint and in seeing the many COVID patients who have been admitted there. This experience has helped him in being able to guide and advise other organizations in the community as they deal with COVID. Since first being contacted by Debby Firestone in early March, 2020 he has been a regular part of the Coronavirus taskforce that has helped guide the congregation through the pandemic. Additionally, Dr. Jacobs has been guiding Community Day School and has been available for the Beth Shalom Preschool and La Escuelita to help them navigate this ongoing pandemic. Dr. Jacobs would like to thank his amazing and supportive wife Beth along with his children Arielle and Eitan for all of their understanding as so much of his focus has been on dealing COVID and helping so many others. Finally, a big thank you to all of those who have protected themselves and their community though vaccination and masking as it is only by working together as a community and thinking about others that we will be able to get past this pandemic.


Dr. Steven M. Albert

Steven M. Albert, PhD is Hallen Chair of Community Health and Social Justice in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Puiblic Health. He has 30 years of research experience in public health, aging, HIV, neurologic disease, and health behavior. He is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and American Academy of Neurology. He has published research on racial disparities in COVID-19 risk and serves on the University of Pittsburgh COVID operations task force.





Dr. Daniel Kass

Daniel Kass, M.D. moved to Pittsburgh in 2010 with his wife Debby Gillman and their children Judah and Nava Kass. He is Associate Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Dorothy P. and Richard P. Simmons Center for Interstitial Lung Disease at Pitt. He is board-certified in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and practices at UPMC Presbyterian.






Dr. Jane Liebschutz

Jane Liebschutz, MD MPH, her husband Roger Zimmerman and their two daughters, Abigail and Maya, joined Beth Shalom in 2017, soon after moving from Boston to Pittsburgh. Their older son, Eli, lives in Washington, DC. Jane grew up in Rochester, NY and lived in Boston for 30 years before being recruited to Pittsburgh to serve as Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and UPMC Endowed Chair for Translational Medicine and Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC. She is a primary care and addiction medicine physician, substance use researcher, educator, and administrator. She is a lead investigator for NIH grants that focus on prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders, including safe opioid prescribing for pain and disseminating treatments for opioid use disorders in non-specialty medical settings. She is a national lecturer and educator on opioid prescribing. She has been a certified buprenorphine prescriber since 2006, managing an active panel of opioid-dependent patients within her primary care practice and serving as inpatient addiction medicine consultant. She also is a national expert on physician wellness.

In addition to volunteer work at Beth Shalom on the COVID Task Force, she is a board member of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, a harm reduction syringe exchange program. She is also a member of the COVID task force for Camp Yavneh (Northwood, NH).


Dr. Jonathan Weinkle

Jonathan Weinkle became a doctor because family and friends kept telling him that being a rabbi was no kind of job for a nice Jewish boy. That didn’t stop him, however, from continuing to love Jewish learning and lifting his voice in tefilah and Jewish song. Jonathan is a veteran of Tzaha’l, a former summer camp songleader, and a singer-songwriter who weaves subtle references to Yehuda HaLevi and Megillat Ruth into his lyrics. As a doctor he works in a Federally Qualified Health Center serving a primary care population ranging from the Lubavitch to the Lingala-speaking refugees from the Congo, and striving to treat all of them as human beings created in God’s image; he has even written a book on the subject, and blogs about related issues for the Jewish Chronicle/Times of Israel. As an amateur chazzan, he has helped lead services in congregations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Sarasota and Jerusalem, as well as small towns like Wheeling, WV and Meadville, PA. He has served Beth Shalom over the years as a b’nai Mitzvah tutor, religious services chair, member of committees ranging from nominating to interim Rabbi search to Coronavirus, frequent darshan, leyner and davener for Shabbat services. His proudest recent contribution was organizing the Scholar in Residence Weekend with Rabbi Jeffrey Schein and Dr. Deborah Schein this past January, just in the nick of time before the pandemic closed the shul. He is only able to do this because his wife Vita Nemirovsky and his sons Eitan, Akiva and Adi Weinkle allow him the time and space to do so, for which he is immensely grateful.


Nathan E. Snader Distinguished Service Award

Elisa Recht Marlin

Elisa Recht Marlin is the proud mother of Daniel, Barry, and Zachary Marlin and mother-in-law of Anna and Samantha. She is an attorney and a certified public accountant and represents clients in Pennsylvania and West Virginia in her practice.

Elisa observed her parents’ active participation at the local synagogue in Weirton, West Virginia while growing up, and she continued the tradition herself- doing whatever the local shul needed- while raising her children in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

After she moved to Pittsburgh in 2007 and joined Beth Shalom, Elisa first served on the Cemetery and Bylaws Committees. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, as Parliamentarian for Beth Shalom, and as the President's appointee to the Board of Trustees. Elisa has also been a member of various Beth Shalom Strategic Planning Committees, Nominating Committees, the Ruderman Committee, and was a Co-Chair for Beth Shalom's Centennial Luncheon in April 2017.

In the wider Pittsburgh Jewish community, Elisa is on the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh. She was previously an Agency Operations Committee representative for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, as well as a member of the regional ADL board.

Elisa has also served as a board member of the Comfort House Child Advocacy Center and on various advisory committees at her children's schools in the past. She also coached her son's soccer teams, as she attempted to pass on her former athletic prowess to her children.

Elisa is honored to be the recipient of the Nathan E. Snader Distinguished Service Award and to be in the company of this award's past honorees.


Ethel & Bernard Halpern Young Leadership Award

Ilanit Helfand

Ilanit Helfand moved to Pittsburgh just over two years, having previously lived in Brooklyn, Tel Aviv, Ann Arbor, Cambridge/Somerville and New York (and Ann Arbor, St. Louis and Cleveland as a kid). Her two kids, Nitzan and Meital, are in the 3rd and 1st grades, respectively, at Community Day School.

She has a BA in Talmud and Rabinics from JTS, a BA in mathematics from Barnard College, and PhD in mathematics from Northeastern University. She currently serves on the adjunct faculty of Northeastern University, Southern New Hampshire University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Ottawa University. She has previously taught math at Touro College, New York City College of Technology, and Alexander Muss High School in Israel, and has tutored many private students in math, science and standardized test prep. She has won and been nominated for a number of awards for her teaching, including being selected from over 700 STEM instructors to win Southern New Hampshire University’s Award for Outstanding Instruction in STEM during the inaugural year of the award.

At Beth Shalom, she has enjoyed leading services and reading Torah (as she works slowly towards a lifetime goal to read the whole Torah), she serves on the religious services committee and is the chair of Youth Tefillah. She has also enjoyed the opportunity to lead the community in signing niggunim whenever she is given the chance.

As a teenager, Ilanit was a master hula hooper, and as she was recently gifted an adult sized hula hoop, she has been reacquainting herself with that skill over the past few weeks. Ilanit also enjoys running and listening to audiobooks.


Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle Volunteers of the Year Award

David Horvitz

David Horvitz has had a lifetime of involvement with Congregation Beth Shalom, beginning when his family joined the Shul in 1967. David has celebrated many life cycle events at the Shul, not the least of which were his Bar Mitzvah and the baby namings and Bat Mitzvahs of his three daughters, Rachel, Shana and Sarah. Throughout the years David has volunteered in many capacities at Congregation Beth Shalom, including as Chair of the Religious Services Committee, a member of Board of Trustees, a Vice President, as President, and most recently as the “longest tenured” Immediate Past President.




Youth Member of the Year

Ori Cohen

Ori Cohen was born in Binghamton, NY and moved to Pittsburgh when she was two. She attended Beth Shalom Preschool until moving into kindergarten at Community Day School where she went for nine years. She went to CAPA for visual arts for two years and now goes to The University School. Ori has attended Young Judaea camps since she was 10. She started doing USY her freshman year of highschool, becoming BSUSY’s freshman representative. She went on to become BSUSY’s Social Action and Tikkun Olam Vice President, before becoming President in her Junior year of high school. Ori enjoys going to the park with her puppy George.