JTS Tribute Dinner to Honor Local Leaders

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

April 13, 2009, Alexandria, VA

Arnie Hiller, Shari and Brian Hirsch, Philip Rosenthal, and the late Ed Schiff (z’’l) will receive Community Service Awards, and Brittanie Werbel will receive the Young Leadership Award, at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s Annual Northern Virginia Tribute Dinner.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, at Agudas Achim Congregation, 2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria. Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School of The Jewish Theological Seminary, will be the guest speaker.

Arnie Hiller chairs the capital campaign for the building expansion of Congregation Olam Tikvah, Fairfax, Virginia. His involvement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington began in the early 1990s and includes numerous leadership positions, among them serving on its board of directors for the past nine years and as chair of the Community Link Program and the Federation Congregation Relations Committee. He currently serves as vice president of the Federation’s Executive Committee, and is a past recipient of the Jack Kay Campaigner of the Year award. Mr. Hiller has been regional vice president of the Seaboard Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism for several years and served as president of Gesher Jewish Day School from 2002 to 2004.

When Shari and Brian Hirsch moved to Herndon, Virginia, and joined Congregation Beth Emeth (CBE), it became an important part of their lives. Mr. Hirsch has served on the fund-raising committee and is a trustee on CBE’s board of directors. Ms. Hirsch teaches b’nai mitzvah students, has served as Sisterhood’s Torah Fund chair, and coordinates the Megan’s Muse Creative Arts Competition for CBE’s confirmation class. The Hirsches believe that JTS’s greatest impact on their family has been through their connection with Camp Ramah in New England (CRNE). Mr. Hirsch is the managing partner in the law firm of Hirsch & Ehlenberger in Reston, and Ms. Hirsch is a school counselor for Fairfax County Public Schools.


Philip N. Rosenthal has been active in Jewish and civic affairs in Northern Virginia for forty years. A fund-raiser on behalf of Etz Hayim, Arlington, Virginia, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Mr. Rosenthal has served on Etz Hayim’s board of directors, was a vice president of fund-raising, and currently is the solicitation co-chair for the congregation’s capital campaign. He has been chair of the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board and president of the Washington Mill PTA. In the business community, Mr. Rosenthal has served as president of the Virginia Collectors Association and the American Collectors Association (ACA), which awarded him the Paul Bunyan Award, ACA’s highest commendation.

A longtime supporter of JTS, Ed Schiff (z”l) had a highly distinguished military career and was the recipient of numerous military awards. After settling in the Washington DC area, he became an active member at Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria and maintained a strong relationship with the Fort Belvoir Army Chapel. Though not a Holocaust survivor himself, Mr. Schiff tirelessly supported the efforts of his wife, Charlene, a survivor, and was a longtime volunteer at the United States Holocaust Museum. Deeply involved with the Child Survivor Group of Greater Washington, prior to his death he played an instrumental role in the planning of the 2008 survivors’ international conference. In addition, along with his wife, Mr. Schiff made monthly visits to wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Hospital.

An active member of Congregation Olam Tikvah, Brittanie Werbel serves as chair of the Membership Committee, where she has implemented a mentoring program for all new members and other recruitment and retention programs and services. Among her other leadership positions at the synagogue, Ms. Werbel is communications vice president for the preschool. She has completed the Signature Course of the Jewish Leadership Institute (JLI); a leadership development program funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; and is scheduled to graduate from the Florence Melton Mini School later this spring. Recently, Ms. Werbel and her husband, Dan, cofounded Kid Desktop™, a “kid-friendly” Windows desktop. A former associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington DC regional office, she has also worked for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee on the campaign of now-Representative Diana DeGette of Denver, Colorado, and as a legislative aide at the American Jewish Committee.

The couvert is $125 per person and $72 per person age 40 and under. Reservations are required by Wednesday, April 22. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Rickey Goodman at (215) 376-0474.