Unseen. Unknown. Unsung. Heroes Behind The Scenes.
Nearly half the funds under management by DJCF/SWCF are custodially held for other nonprofits. Oftentimes, it’s the people behind the scenes of these organizations making their work so impactful. They are the heroes making the difference and who we bring to the forefront to recognize and celebrate.
Whether volunteers or employees, they are the 2020 Unsung Heroes.
Thank you for your dedication.
Congratulations to this year’s Unsung Heroes
Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas
Our “Unsung Hero,” Nathan Neely, has been working five years as a JCC Facilities Technician. Nate played a big role in helping restore the JCC facility during the 2019 tornado. What sets Nate apart is his eagerness to learn, willingness to go the extra mile and lend a helping hand, adaptability, and kindness. Due to the nature of the trade, his responsibilities range from troubleshooting and repair of HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems to retrofitting light fixtures to LED to changing a battery. You can always count on Nate to do every task with a smile and never complain.
Akiba Yavneh Academy
Heather Moodley has been a part of Akiba Yavneh for 9+ years. As Director of Human Resources, she nurtures, supports, and manages faculty and staff, ensuring that everyone is on-boarded, trained, and welcomed as part of the family. Heather goes above and beyond to help navigate the uncertainties in the academic environment as a result of COVID. No matter the challenge, Heather responds with professionalism, and thoughtfulness. Her beautiful neshama resonates throughout the administrative team. We are lucky to have her as our colleague, grateful and proud of everything Heather does to enhance and support our team at Akiba Yavneh.
Ann & Nate Levine Academy
Eighteen years of dedication to Solomon Schechter/Levine Academy, Anna Katzman works tirelessly both behind the scenes and on the front lines to run our Hebrew programs throughout the year. From the scheduling to the finished production, Anna makes sure it is fine-tuned and meaningful for all grade levels. Her smile is infectious, radiating her love for the children and her role as Dean of Hebrew Language and Programs. Anna’s positive nature bolsters her passion and love for Levine Academy - its teachers, students and families.
Elizabeth is a volunteer BBYO advisor for Fannie Sablosky BBG and continuously pours time, effort, and love into ensuring the success of Jewish teen leaders. She makes a positive impact on the lives of teens every day. Hundreds of local teens look up to Liz as a role model and mentor. In her daily interactions with students in BBYO, she empowers teens to do their best, develop new leadership skills, and grow into dynamic young Jewish leaders. BBYO is lucky to have her leadership, and we’re grateful for all the ways she helps the Dallas community strengthen and grow!
Drs. David and Lisa Genecov
Be The Difference
David and Lisa Genecov have supported us with their time and resources since we started Be the Difference Foundation in 2012. They step up and look for ways to help us and do so with a genuine giving spirit, asking nothing in return. We are honored by their support and devotion in helping us to fulfill our mission fighting ovarian cancer.
Chabad Jewish Student Center at UT
Morgan Chapman was a key board member at Chabad at UT. The centers focus on breast cancer awareness in partnership with Sharsheret, started with foundational support from Lizzy and Jules Greif in 2008. The program saw tremendous success, and Morgan was deeply touched by it Freshmen year. She strengthened the connection between Chabad and AEPHI, who also became a leading sponsor helping educate further about breast cancer awareness. This was done through her spearheading the annual pink Shabbat and taking it to the next level. We are grateful for her positive energy and efforts she put into the program.
Community Home for Adults
We would like to nominate Lenolia Ewing as Community Homes for Adults Unsung Hero. She has volunteered to be part of our emergency team for COVID 19 direct care. The residents respect her and will follow directives without resistance. She is very good at taking care of the menus (not to mention she is a great cook). During COVID 19 a big challenge has been making sure the residents get along. Lenolia is wonderful with talking to residents about the issues and making mends between them. Lenolia is a kind, generous person who takes wonderful care of her residents.
Congregation Anshai Torah
Joe Kufert has been a member of Anshai Torah for over 13 years and has stepped up to volunteer from the first day he was here. Joe and his wife, Stephanie have 2 kids and they are all involved in Shul life. Joe has served on the Anshai Board, has been the Chair of Anshai’s IT Committee and is the current Chair of Anshai’s Budget Committee. Anshai Torah would not be where we are today without Joe Kufert.
Congregation Beth Torah
As soon as COVID restrictions were implemented, Beri Schwitzer, CBT’s Director of Congregational Learning, jumped in to add even more education and connectedness for our CBT family. Daily Coffee Talks for The Busy Soul,nightly StoryTime, weekly Positive Judaism for our adults, frequent posts with words of encouragement on CBT’s Facebook. Beri oversaw our first virtual Youth Day Camp to keep kids engaged over the summer, began pre-Shabbat ‘Shalom in the Home’ program for our families.Beri’s enthusiasm to create and adapt to keep CBT families together prevented feelings of isolation.Despite her own medical challenges, Beri exhibited a true concern that each CBT member’s needs was her top priority.
Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum
Adilene Hernandez has worked for the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum since 2012. As Group Tours and Survivor Relations Manager, she works with educators and Museum staff to ensure students have a meaningful experience while learning about the Holocaust and human rights. Adilene’s passion for our mission shows in her devotion to our Holocaust Survivors, with whom she has an incredible bond. She is the ultimate team player, taking on any project assigned to her with diligence and grace. She excels in a role that is often behind the scenes, and the staff is so grateful for her work.
Dallas Jewish Historical Society
Jessica Schneider, Archivist & Volunteer Director for Dallas Jewish Historical Society, has been a welcome addition to our team. Since she joined our staff, Jessica has made exceptional progress toward DJHS’ goal of eliminating the backlog of collections to be sorted and cataloged, adding to the breadth of both our inventory and our online catalog. She has been an exceptional volunteer manager as well as a mentor, especially to part-time staff pursuing an archive/museum career. Jessica has brought creativity to our social media and exhibits and created both cyber programs and our ability to capture online Oral.
Mark is our unsung hero. Quietly and humbly, he constantly volunteers and does whatever it takes to help our young community grow. Whether coming early to set up our dinner, schlepping tables and chairs for events, or volunteering to drive anywhere to assist, we know that we can always count on Mark. Together with his wife Denise, they were the first family to jump in and move to our new community, and they continue to be leaders and such great role models ever since. The Richardson community is blessed to have such a wonderful person part of our ‘family’.
Eileen silently is a hero by showing up to all of Friendship Circle’s programs and helping whenever needed. She is an advocate for the special needs community. It is so apparent this has been her way for quite some time because her children and grandchildren followed by example. Her children advocate for those with special needs, and her grandchildren do too.
Dawn Leobold and Laurie McCarty
Jewish Family Service of Dallas
When stay-at-home orders went into effect, Laurie McCarty, The Resale Shop Store Manager, and Dawn Leobold, the Assistant Manager, temporarily closed the store. Soon after, they volunteered to help with administrative tasks and in the Food Pantry as we prepared to open our drive-thru distribution. The hours they spent purging and organizing files put us months ahead of schedule for our year-long project, and they did it all with a can-do, positive attitude. They balanced providing support at JFS, managing re-opening plans, and operations at the store. We simply could not have gotten through the last six months without them.
Jewish National Fund
Fonda Arbetter is the essence of an unsung hero. She works tirelessly behind the scenes of countless Jewish agencies included the college scholarship committee for DJCF. Her love and commitment to her Dallas Jewish community, family, and Israel is exemplified in her years of volunteer work. Fonda has represented Jewish National Fund in Dallas before we opened our office, joining as a leader in our arts and entertainment task force, and soon to be Makor member. Fonda’s generous heart has touched thousands of lives in Dallas and Israel. We are proud to have Fonda a part of the JNF family.
Mesorah High School for Girls
After graduating from Mesorah High School in 2009 and spending a gap year in Israel, Liba returned to work as an intern in Mesorah and then headed back to Israel. There she got married and started a family before moving back to Dallas in 2014. Wanting to give back, Liba became an active Mesorah High School board member and in 2019, she began sharing her professional expertise by volunteering to teach a real estate elective course. Although a busy professional with a growing family, Liba never says “no” and has spearheaded several initiatives to benefit Mesorah.
National Council of Jewish Women
June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2020, Renee was president. Renee’s term was unlike that of any other president. Spring 2019 came the unexpected loss of the executive director. October 2019, the tornado. Our office was completely destroyed. Contents were salvaged, and temporary office space found. January, a successful fundraiser. New office space is acquired. February 1, 2020, move into new office. Covid comes, everything shuts down. Renee leads us into the virtual world of running a nonprofit. A virtual installation, the next administration takes over. Without her cool head and excellent leadership, we would not have made it.
“Temple Shalom is my second home!” exclaimed Steven Thompson, Temple Shalom’s Facilities Supervisor. Having worked there for 22 years, Thompson described his job as, “everything I can do to make everything function right.” Executive Director Steve Lewis says, “There is not another Steven anywhere. He is diligent, dependable, dedicated, resourceful and incredibly committed to our congregants”. When not at work, Thompson works on old cars. His prize possession is a 1974 maroon Impala with a convertible blacktop. “Someday, I will give this car away to someone who will appreciate it as much as I do.” Steven is our unsung hero!
The Legacy Senior Communities
“Tell me where to go, and I’ll be there.” This is Kebba Jemmeh’s mantra. A Legacy at Home caregiver since 2012, the West Africa native lives his life to serve others. His commitment to service was recently witnessed when LAH was short-staffed with team members quarantining at home. Without hesitation, Kebba went home, packed, and returned to Memory Support. He spent the next five days living on-site caring for residents. Deborah Dingwall describes the man who cared for her late father: “Kebba embodies the spirit of giving—respectful, professional, loyal, and extremely caring. To know him is to be blessed.”
Sonia Meltzer is a powerhouse and inspiration to all who work with her. As Vice-President of Membership, her Mitzvah Callers contact every member twice monthly during this pandemic. Prior to the High Holy Days she personally calls every member. She created the Sunshine Club Committee, providing meals and visitations for new parents, and to shiva homes. Sonia formed the Book Club 15 years ago, co-chairs the Directory, and serves on the Chevra Kadisha. She is on the Tycher Library Committee and teaches historical fiction in the Collin College SAIL program. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from UTD.
Coach Ozzie Denson
Torah Day School
Coach Denson is a wonderful person who we truly cherish here at Torah Day School. He stands for ethics, he teaches the children good middos (attributes) and he is loved by all of his students. He promotes great values by example. Coach is always willing to lend a helping hand around school whenever he is asked. He is a real team player and we are so fortunate that he is part of OUR team. Thank you Coach Denson for your commitment and dedication to Torah Day School.