JFSA to honor local “gems”

JFSA Man of the Year Jim Whitehill
JFSA Woman of the Year Diane Weintraub

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will hold its own “gem show” to honor its 2011 award winners at its annual meeting and awards celebration on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Heading the list of community gems are Man of the Year Jim Whitehill and Woman of the Year Diane

Weintraub. Whitehill is a past chair of Jewish Family & Children’s Services and is one of the founding chairs of the Federation’s B’nai Tzedek youth philanthropy project. Diane Weintraub, along with her husband Ron, is one of the founders of the Weintraub Israel Center.

Nina Isaac and Ben Silverman will receive the Gary I. Sarver Young Woman and Young Man of the Year Awards, which include stipends to be applied toward an Israel mission or attendance at the General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America.

The winners of the 2011 Meritorious Service awards are Angie Goorman, Lew Hamburger, Jane Kivel, Joyce Stuehringer and Michael Wexler. The Ben and Betty Brook Community Professional of the Year is Rabbi Stephanie Aaron of Congregation Chaverim. The Outstanding Judaic Educator Award, determined by a Coalition for Jewish Education committee, is Jacqueline Miller of Tucson Hebrew Academy. The Ben and Sally Smith Memorial College Youth Award, determined by a committee of the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation, is Alex Hecht.

Special Recognition Awards will be given to Rachael Baker and Julie Feldman, who recently co-chaired the Federation’s first Young Women’s Mission to Israel; and to Brenda and Bill Viner, founders and co-chairs of the Tucson Festival of Books. Ben’s Bells will receive this year’s Meyer and Libby Marmis Humanitarian Award.

The annual meeting and awards celebration will also feature the election and installation of the Federation’s 2011-2012 board of directors and recognition of outgoing leaders Kathryn Unger, campaign chair; Deanna Evenchik, Women’s Philanthropy chair; Joyce Stuehringer, Women’s Philanthropy campaign chair; and Bertie Levkowitz, Women’s Philanthropy campaign vice-chair.

Dessert and coffee will be served at the event. Cost is $5 per person. The co-chairs of this year’s annual meeting and awards celebration are Rachael Baker and Mark Cassius. The awards committee was chaired by Tom Warne. For information or reservations, call the Federation, 577-9393. Online registration is available at www.jewishtucson.org.