JTS to Honor Columbus Leaders

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

May 20, 2009, Columbus, OH

Yehudit Kanfer and Marc M. Neiwirth will be honored with The Jewish Theological Seminary's prestigious Shin Award at a dessert reception at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, at the Hamilton Parker Company Showroom, 1865 Leonard Avenue, Columbus.

The Shin Award is presented to outstanding individuals who embody a commitment to Jewish education and synagogue life. The awards will be presented by Rabbi Marc Wolf, vice chancellor and chief development officer of JTS, who will discuss "The Next Generation of Jewish Leaders: Building Blocks for the Future."

A member of Congregation Agudas Achim in Bexley, Ms. Kanfer has always made Jewish education an integral part of her life. She began her formal education at the Brandeis Day School founded by her grandfather, Rabbi Irving Miller, and currently teaches third grade at the Columbus Jewish Day School, where she represents the Judaic studies faculty on its leadership team. Her teaching career has included positions with schools in New York, most notably at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, in Israel at Midreshet Yerushalayim, and locally at Columbus Torah Academy and Agudas Achim's religious school. In 1996, Ms. Kanfer was named "Jewish Educator of the Year" by the Commission on Jewish Education.

Ms. Kanfer's interest in Jewish education has extended beyond the formal classroom. She has coordinated and served as spiritual leader of Agudas Achim's Women's Tefillah Group for the past twenty years and prepares young women for b'not mitzvah. Her first exposure to JTS came when she attended the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School. She also received her MA in Talmud from The Graduate School of JTS, where she has completed course work towards a doctoral degree.

Mr. Neiwirth has been executive director of Congregation Tifereth Israel since 1997. Active in professional associations for synagogue administrators throughout his career, in 2004 he was named a Fellow in Synagogue Administration (FSA) by the North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE). In 2005, he received commission as Amin Tzibur (one who faithfully devotes oneself to the ministration of the community and the rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael) by JTS, NAASE, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the highest honor for a synagogue executive; he is one of only seven individuals nationally to ever be so recognized. He currently serves as the second vice president of NAASE.

Prior to becoming a synagogue executive, Mr. Neiwirth spent sixteen years in youth work, including positions as youth director, United Synagogue Youth advisor, and Hebrew school teacher. He is an expert baal koreh (Torah reader) and baal tekeiah (shofar blower) and plays an active role in the High Holiday services at Tifereth Israel. Mr. Neiwirth attended the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies of JTS and holds an undergraduate degree in Hebrew Culture and Education from New York University.

Couvert is $10 and RSVPs are required. Further information about the event or other Columbus area programs is available by contacting Michele Siegal, assistant director, JTS Great Lakes Region, at (248) 258-0055.