Annual awards will celebrate Federation, agency volunteers

Howard Schwartz, left, and Deborah Oseran

The Jewish Community Awards Celebration and Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona annual meeting will be held Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. New this year, the evening will include special recognition awards honoring outstanding lay or professional leaders from each of the Federation’s beneficiary and affiliated agencies. The Federation’s 2018-19 officers and directors will be installed. An ice cream social will follow the presentations.

The Federation’s Man and Woman of the Year are Howard Schwartz and Deborah Oseran.

Schwartz has been active in the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona, where he was named a visiting scholar in 2010. He is co-chair of the JFSA Coalition for Jewish Education, teaches at Congregation Bet Shalom Shabbat study sessions, teaches a weekly Torah class at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, and is a member of a rotating panel of Torah study leaders at Congregation Anshei Israel. He is also a current board member of both Tucson Hebrew Academy and Bet Shalom, and a past board member of JFSA, the UA Hillel Foundation and the Jewish History Museum.

“Howard has made an immense impact on our community and although he has held his share of formal roles, he’s receiving this recognition not because of a specific organizational leadership role but because of the depth of his commitment,” says Stuart Mellan, JFSA president and CEO. “Rabbi Dr. Howard Schwartz (he doesn’t like it when I call him ‘Rabbi Doctor,’ but it’s a way of acknowledging the high esteem in which I hold him) is ever present as a philanthropist, as an educator, and as a voice of wisdom. He and [his wife,] Trudy, form a formidable duo in terms of their powerful impact on our Jewish community.”

Oseran’s community involvement has included JFSA’s Cardozo Society, board of directors, board governance committee, strategic planning committee, Birthright Israel committee, and REAP, its real estate and allied professionals group; the Jewish Community Relations Council board and the  Jewish Latino Teen Coalition. 

“Deborah has always ‘been there’ for our community but because of her demanding profession as one of Tucson’s outstanding attorneys, her volunteerism was often in the form of pro bono legal work. As she moved toward her retirement she began to take on lay leadership roles and brought great honor to our Federation when she assumed the role of Campaign chair [for the 2016-17 program year]. With a big heart and a brilliant mind, and a lifelong commitment to Jewish community, Deborah elevates everything she touches,” says Mellan.

JFSA’s Gary I. Sarver Young Man and Young Woman of the Year awards will go to Tracy Jeck and Josh Silverman.

Oshrat Barel, former director of the Weintraub Israel Center and now director of the JFSA’s new community engagement department, will receive the Ben and Betty Brook Community Professional of the Year Award.

Rabbi Richard Safran will receive the Synagogue-Federation Dialogue Award, and Danielle Schwartz will be the recipient of the Rabbi Arthur R. Oleisky Teen Recognition Award.

The special recognition awards are as follows: Eric Rudner, Handmaker; Evan Mendelson, Jewish Community Foundation; Max Cohen, Jewish Family & Children’s Services; Leslie Glaze, JFSA; Lynda Rogoff and Linda Tumarkin, Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center; Ellis Friedman, THA; Ken Goodman, Tucson J; and Nancy Koff, UA Hillel Foundation.

The evening is free but RSVP is required at www.jfsa.org or admin@jfsa.org. For more information, call 577-9393.