JEWISH CHILDREN’S REGIONAL SERVICES’
Success Stories FALL 07/WINTER 08
A “feel-good” periodic bulletin highlighting (with permission) Jewish
young adults youth who were once aided by our agency
ANDY AND CHAD BAKER: JCRS QUICK FACTS
• A 152 year-old agency
Two brothers with funding Jewish youth of
the South (735 Jewish youth
initiative and ambition. funded in 2006).
At ages 28, twin brothers Andy and Chad Bak er are w ell into their four th successful business • Based since 1855 in New
venture since they entered college. If one counts all their high school "businesses," Andy and Chad have Orleans, Louisiana; created as
more commercial experience than most individuals twice their age. a result of yellow fever
The Jewish Children's Regional Service began providing college aid to the brothers when they started epidemics; a survivor of
Indiana University in 1998. Scholarship assistance, support from their single mother, and all their outside Hurricane Katrina, and a
recipient of 2006 and 2007
savings and ear nings w ere still not co vering all the bills for tw o brothers attending an out-of-state
support from United Jewish
Communities and B’nai B’rith.
Born and reared in Nashville, the y star ted Frequently, larger Jewish organizations strive
college with e xtraordinary reco gnition and • Supported primarily by
experiences: they had both already been voted "most to improve the world; for many Jewish youth, donations and private donors
likely to succeed" b y their high school classmates; the JCRS has already helped to improve the
who wish to establish a
scholarship fund for our
Chad had already ser ved as an inter n to Tennessee
Congressman, Bob Clement; and both had already circumstances in their own world.
operated their own gumball machine business, and Ned Goldberg • Endorsed by rabbis and
had worked in retail sales in Nashville. JCRS Executive Director Jewish Federations through-
out the seven states of
Shortly after entering Indiana Uni versity, the y Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana,
developed a discount card business that is used b y students at
Tennessee and Texas.
retail outlets in the Bloomington area. By the time the y had
graduated in 2002, the y had created Indoor Signs, LLC, a Website: jcrsnola.org
company that produces unique items w hich are used Headquarters:
predominately in the restaurant business. Their tw o main P. O. Box 7368
products are a unique, edge-lit sign and a be verage dispenser, Metairie, LA , 70010-7368
called the "Drink Tower." Sales from their product ha ve been
realized in virtually every state and in six foreign countries. Houston Branch Office:
By the time of their g raduations as b usiness Post Office Box 35499
entrepreneurship majors in Indiana University's Kelley School of Houston, TX 77235-5499
Business, both brothers had w on a wards from the Small 832-767-9097
Business Administration (SBA) as "2004 Young Entrepreneurs of WHAT IS A "JCRS SUCCESS
the Year" and had placed f irst in the annual "Ohio Valley STORY?"
College Entrepreneur" competition. Their good looks,
• An adult who received
comradeship, and ambition won them an appearance on the Ricki Lak TV Show, where they appeared with financial aid from the
other accomplished twin siblings. JCRS during an earlier
In 2005, Andy and Chad returned to Nashville and began investing in distressed real estate. Today, they period of his/her life.
own 35 proper ties in various states of rental or rehabilitation, w hile at the same time continuing their
• Someone who is proud of
operation of Indoor Signs.
his/her educational and/or
Few college students rise as quickly in entrepreneurship as brothersAndy and Chad, but their hard work career accomplishments.
and optimism are as impressive as the rapid rise of their successful ventures.
The members of the JCRS Education and Scholarship Committee and the staf f take great pride in the • An individual who permits
accomplishments of those w hom the agenc y has helped. The inside pages of this ne wsletter the JCRS to share with the
public the role that JCRS
highlight others that the JCRS has aided and w ho ha ve recentl y updated the agenc y on their
played in his/her success.
The Special Formulas for Success...
Lieutenant David L. Duke has just separated from six and a half y ears in the U.S. Navy, where he
served upon the nuclear submarine USS POR TSMOUTH and as the assistant director of the Na val
Officer Candidate School in P ensacola, Florida. He's retur ned to his nati ve Houston with wife,
Lan, and children, Joseph and Isabel. He is cur rently employed as a maintenance engineer with
Lyondell Chemical Company. As a youth, David was a recipient of JCRS camp scholarship aid to
attend Greene Family Camp and was later granted funds from JCRS to study at Tulane University,
where he received his degree in chemical engineering in 2001.
Michael Rekhelman is a chemical engineer and vice president of
technical ser vices for the ABS Compounding Compan y in Atlanta,
Georgia. A native of the former Soviet Union, Michael spent a portion of his youth in Shreveport,
Louisiana. Michael holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University
and a M.S. degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Technical University. As a youth, Michael
received JCRS camp scholarship aid to attend Camp Henr y S. Jacobs. Michael also recei ved
college financial assistance from JCRS when he studied at LSU.
Anastasia Golovin is a biological researcher at the Vanderbilt University,
Nashville Medical Center . A 2004 g raduate of Belmont Uni versity,
Anastasia holds a B.S. degree in biology. Born in the former Soviet Union and reared in Nashville,
Anastasia received financial assistance from the JCRS when she studied at Belmont University.
Nancy Br averman is an assistant professor in the Depar tments of
Genetic Medicine and P ediatrics at the John Hopkins School of
Medicine. She holds a B degree from Sarah Lawrence College and an
M.D. degree from Tulane University. She has served as a chief resident
of pediatrics at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and as a fello in genetics at John Hopkins Uni ersity.
Her current research is centered around children with genetic-metabolic diseases. Nanc received
financial aid from JCRS w hen she attended Tulane Medical School in
Holly Spanier is cur rently a pediatric resident at INO VA F airfax
Hospital for Children in Virginia. She is a graduate of University of Maryland Medical School and
holds a B.A. degree from Binghamton University. Reared in New Orleans, Holly was a recipient
of JCRS camp scholarship aid to attend Camp Henry S. Jacobs and later, she received JCRS aid to
attend Binghamton University.
Dear Jewish Children’s Regional Services,
As you kno w, I just gr aduated with m y B.A. degree from the Univer sity of J udaism (California.) Without your
support through the years, this would have been increasingly difficult. Therefore, I have a strong urge to write you. You have
given me gold: my education. Because of you, I am a strong, confident individual who can make a difference in this world.
Because of you, I have the strength to continue learning and eventually teach my own children, as well as others. Most of
all, I have the cour age to support m yself and continue striving f or happiness and a J ewish life. You have given to m y
siblings. You have put m y gr andmother (w ho helped r ear me!) in the spotlight w hen she is often
overlooked. You have made sure that we have Hanukkah gifts and a strong education. You have given my entire family hope
and therefore LIFE. A million words or gifts could not express my thanks to all of you. I can assur you, however, that through
your continuous help, I will strive to succeed and make a difference.
Thank you again,
From a v ery r ecent colleg e gr aduate w ho gr ew up in Oklahoma. She is curr ently studying in gr aduate sc hool.
2005-2007 Graduates Who Are Now Employed in
Jewish Communal Service
"Financial need" and not "career choice," is the most impor tant factor used by the JCRS Education and Scholarship
Committee when making college aid decisions. However, the JCRS is proud that a g rowing number of students aided b y
JCRS have pursued a full-time career in v arious Jewish communal professions, while many others have become part-time
Sunday school teachers, y outh group advisors, summer camp staf f and lay-leaders. All four recent graduates featured
below are recipients of both camp and college scholarship assistance from JCRS.
Elka Claire Smith is a 2007 Louisiana State Uni versity graduate, majoring in English, with a
minor in leadership development. Reared in New Orleans and Shreveport, she has just begun her
first post graduate job as a program director for the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization in San Diego,
California. As a youth, Elka received scholarship assistance from JCRS to attend Camp Henry S.
Jacobs and she also received aid from JCRS to attend LSU.
Amanda Abrams is a ne w de velopment associate with the Je wish
Federation of Greater Atlanta. Her cur rent responsibilities include
leadership development, community campaign and planning. In Ma y,
2007, Amanda earned a MBA degree at the University of California and
a masters degree in Jewish Communal Service at the Los Angeles Campus of the Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Reared in Mississippi and Ne Orleans, Amanda also holds
a B .A. de gree in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the Uni versity of
Pennsylvania. Among Amanda's many accomplishments in the Je wish Community of the South
include a two-year fellowship with the Goldring-W oldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life and
her role as co-narrator of the video, "The JCRS Story: 150 Years of Southern Jewish Children." As a youth, Amanda received
JCRS f inancial aid to attend Camp Henr y S. Jacobs, and later recei ved JCRS aid w hile she studied at the Uni versity of
Jillian Levin is the manager of the executive office at the 92nd Street YMHA in Manhattan. Her
responsibilities include special e vents, donor de velopment, board functions and research for the
executive director. Jillian is a 2005 graduate of Boston University, majoring in humanities. Born
and reared in New Orleans, Jillian received financial aid from JCRS while she studied at Boston
University. She also recei ved camp scholarship aid from JCRS for a number of y ears, while
attending UAHC Camp Henry S. Jacobs in Utica, Mississippi.
Rabbi Jeremy Schneider is the new assistant rabbi at Temple Shalom of
Dallas, Texas. A 2006 g raduate of Hebrew Union Colle ge/Institute of
Religion, Rabbi Schneider is a Houston nati ve and g raduate of the
University of Texas. Accompanying Rabbi Schneider to Dallas has been his wife Rachel, w ho
joined the staff of the Dallas Je wish Community Relations Council. Prior to entering rabbinical
school, Rabbi Schneider w as known to man y young people across the South, as he ser ved in
executive capacities at both U AHC Camp Henr y S. Jacobs, in Mississippi, and Greene F amily
Camp, in Texas. As a youth, Rabbi Schneider received JCRS camp scholarship aid to attend Greene
Family Camp, and he later received JCRS college aid while he attended the University of Texas.
In F ebruary 2004, at the last lar ge JCRS meeting
before Hur ricane Katrina, six Je wish communal
professionals, w ho w ere also JCRS “success stories”
addressed the meeting. They spok e about the career
positions that the y held in 2004 and ho w JCRS had once
assisted them as campers and colle ge students (Karen
Schlosberg is also a for mer JCRS foster child.) The
"sensational six" included: Rebecca Kamerling Chesk es
(Jewish educator), Philip Gaethe (Je wish educator), Erin
Ellis (assistant camp director), Bradle y La ye (Hillel
director), Mona Green Kar ten (Je wish F ederation pro gram director), and Karen Steabman Schlosber g (synago gue
administrator). All were full-time Jewish communal professionals working in the South.
The JCRS “3-Plus Club” Sibling Groups
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Rosemary Fortmayer with her four boys (left to right) Bruce, Barry, Mark and Jeff
Katz. Bruce is ABC Channel 26 Chief Meteorologist in New Orleans. Barry is an
attorney in New York City. Mark is a Birmingham children’s clothing manufacturer
and r etail operator. J eff is the mar keting director of Standar d Coffee in Ne w
Orleans. All f our Katz br others received college aid fr om JCRS and Mar k also
received JCRS aid to attend Camp Henry S. Jacobs in Utica, Mississippi.
The three Wearb siblings were all recipients of both camp and college aid from JCRS.
They include (far left) Leslie Wearb Hirsch, archivist and ne w mom living in Austin;
Leslie had held administr ative positions at libr aries in Memphis and Austin. (second
from left) Rebecca is a teac her at the Birmingham JCC’ s Ear ly Childhood
Learning Center. Allison W earb Earnest (far right) is an early childhood educator. Al-
lison is the mother of a three year-old and has directed preschools in Birmingham and
Colorado. Allison and famil y currently live in Gulf Shor es, Alabama. Front row is
grandmother, Bertha Luks and back row is mom Judy Luks.
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA
The three Piha-Paul siblings (left to right) are featured with their mother P (far left).
Sarina is in her second year of an oncology fellowship at the Houston M.D. Anderson
Cancer Center, w hich f ollowed her Baylor Medical Sc hool residency. Roger is a
housing financing specialist with the Louisiana Housing and Finance Agency in Baton
Rouge. Aaron is a college student. The Jewish Children’s Regional Service has provided
financial aid to all thr ee sib lings as the y pur sued their under graduate de grees at
Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana State University.
The Sherman siblings of Houston include Brad, director of recruitment advertising for
the Houston Chronicle; Melanie, an advertising sales associate for the Jewish Herald
Voice and a consumer science and mer chandising student at the University of Houston;
and Greg, a graduate of Southwest Texas State University with a B.A. degree in exercise
and sports science, who has held administrative positions in several Houston-area sports
facilities. All the Sherman siblings have been recipients of JCRS college aid.
The Singer siblings of Memphis include (left) Ralph, a franchise representative in the
lodging industry; and (center) Becky Singer Starr, a business manager by training and
currently a homemaker. (Right) Tod is a Memphis dentist. Ralph and Becky reside in
Atlanta. Each received college aid from JCRS to attend their respective undergraduate
university. Their undergraduate degrees are from the University of Memphis and Tufts
ONCE UPON A TIME IN NEW ORLEANS
(Circa 1937)…Widow Lillie Hart left Jefferson, Texas ten years earlier, in 1927, with her
four boys to enroll the three youngest in the New Orleans Jewish Children’s Home, the
institution from which the JCRS evolved. (At age 14, Julian was too old to be admitted.)
Left to right, sons, Carol, Julian, Ellis, and Van Hart. All four boys married and raised
their families in the South. Car ol became a Ne w Orleans attorney and the second
former resident to become JCRS pr esident. Julian became a successful Ne w Orleans
insurance r epresentative. Ellis settled in Winona, Mississippi and oper ated a
successful family clothing store. Van became an engineer and spent most of his career
operating a famil y-owned compan y that manufactur ed w ork c lothes and denim in
Montgomery, Alabama. Ellis is father of Macy Hart, executive dir ctor of the Goldring-
Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life.
WIN T E R 20 07 T HE JE WISH C HILD PAGE 11
Where Are They Now?
Proud scholarship aid recipients (and their proud family members) keep us informed
Jewish Communal LeadersÖ... Emerging ArtistsÖ...
Rabbi Jeremy Schneider is the new assistant rabbi at Temple Marina Shterenberg is a
Shalom of Dallas, Texas. A 2006 graduate of Hebrew Union widely acclaimed artist who
College/Institute of Religion, Rabbi Schneider is a Houston is now living, teaching, and
native and graduate of the University painting in the San Francisco
of Texas. Accompanying Rabbi Bay Area. Since 2000, her
Schneider to Dallas has been his wife works have been shown ex-
Rachel, who joined the staff of the tensively in galleries in Dal-
Dallas Jewish Community Relations las, New York, and the Bay
Council. Prior to entering rabbinical Area. She is the founder and
school, Rabbi Schneider was known director of Star Mountain
to many young people across the Art, a Bay-Area interactive
South, as he served in executive ca- community for artists, young
pacities at both UAHC Camp Henry people and families. A native of the Ukraine, she moved to
S. Jacobs, in Mississippi, and Greene the Dallas area as a teenager and continued an art educa-
Family Camp, in Texas. As a youth, tion that began at art school in Zhitomir, Ukraine. Her
Rabbi Schneider received JCRS most recent degree is a M.F.A in painting from San Fran-
camp scholarship aid to attend Greene Family Camp and later cisco State University. When she was pursuing her B.F.A
received JCRS college aid while he attended the University of degree from Parson’s School of Design, she received JCRS
college aid, and she also received JCRS camp scholarship
Shari Klein Kammerman has, for the last two years, served aid when she was a teenager to attend Camp Moshava.
as the executive assistant to CEO Lee Wunsch at the Jewish
Federation of Greater Houston. Michelle Levine is a New Orleans scenic painter whose work,
Reared in Dallas, Shari has also since Hurricane Katrina, has included a collection of paintings
served as the communications which depict the destruction from
director at Congregation Shearith Hurricane Katrina. She recently held a
Israel of Dallas and as an executive show with a collection of paintings of
with Jewish Women International. McDonald’s restaurant signs,
Shari and husband, Steve, are also mangled by the force of hurricane
parents of nine-month daughter, winds. She designated part of the
Molli. While a student at the proceeds from the show to a local
University of Texas, Shari received Ronald McDonald’s House. Having
numerous academic and studied at both New Orleans
achievement awards and was a Academy of Fine Arts and the
recipient of college aid from the JCRS. University of New Orleans, Michelle’s
credits include set production work
The JCRS wants to hear from all its past aid recipients and for VH1, the Travel Channel, Lifetime
“success stories”. Please, contact us by e-mail at Television and Oliver Stone’s "JFK".
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-729-5277 and/ As a youth growing up in New
Orleans, Michelle was a recipient of JCRS camp scholarship aid to
or send your achievements, contact information and a photo
attend Camp Henry S. Jacobs and later received college financial
by e-mail or to P.O. Box 7368, Metairie, LA 70010-7368 assistance from the JCRS to attend UNO.
Lives of Achievement and Community ServiceÖ...
A proud mother, Sharon Spanier, is surrounded by her four children at the recent wedding of
daughter, Holly, to Max Pfeferman. (left to right) Her son, David is a sophomore at Towson
College, majoring in accounting. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Maryland and
teaches first grade in Montgomery County, Maryland. Holly is a medical school graduate
and pursuing a pediatric residency in Virginia. Adam is a Cincinnati pediatrician, married to
Stacey, and recently became the father of Ari, who was named after his grandfather, the late
Arthur Spanier. The Spanier family lived many years in Greater New Orleans and during
that time, all four children received JCRS camp scholarship aid. Before the family relocated
to Maryland, both Holly and Adam also received JCRS college financial aid.