By Sharon Wisch-Ray
We talk about it in passing, we daven the words, but it’s always special to see true l’dor v’dor in action. These words were embodied at the Federation meeting June 12 when Roz Rosenthal presented her grandson Todd Blumenfeld with the Jerry and Sylvia Wolens award. As I’m sure most of you know, Jerry and Sylvia Wolens, both of blessed memory, were Roz’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Todd was born in Silver Spring, Md. to Sharon and Steven Blumenfeld. Todd’s mother was born in Baltimore to Edward and Faye Jalowsky, both Holocaust survivors from Poland who met in a Displaced Persons camp after WWII. His father was born and raised in Chicago by his parents Leo and Natalie Blumenfeld. Todd’s parents met in Israel in 1971 while both studying abroad.
Todd attended high school at The Bullis School in Potomac Md. playing varsity baseball and basketball. He then attended Tulane University where he earned a B.S. in management and marketing from the A.B. Freeman School of Business. While at Tulane Todd met, and fell in love with, Ashli Rosenthal. After graduation they moved to New York City and Todd worked for RCA Records for five years, the last three of which he spent splitting time between working and earning a law degree at the Brooklyn Law School.
He graduated with a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2008. After graduating, Ashli and Todd, who were newly engaged, moved to Fort Worth. Todd began working for Friedman, Suder & Cooke, P.C., where he still works as an associate attorney today, focusing on patent litigation and contract drafting and negotiation. Ashli and Todd were married Nov. 8, 2008. Their first child, Elanor, was born April 3, 2011 and their second child, William, was born July 21, 2013. The family also has a dog named Theodore. Todd joined the Federation board in August 2012 and the executive committee in May 2013. Ashli and Todd are both active in a number of other nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout Fort Worth.
President Jeff Hochster led the meeting, which was well attended, including all five Tarrant County rabbis — Ralph Mecklenburger (Beth El Congregation), Dov Mandel (Chabad of Fort Worth), Charlie Cytron-Walker (Congregation Beth Israel), Andrew Bloom (Ahavath Sholom) and Levi Gurevitch (Chabad of Arlington).
Jeff gave a state of the Federation address, encapsulating the past year.
“As I look around the chapel this evening I am reminded of two utmost important sayings ‘Together we do extraordinary things’ and we are ‘The strength of a people, The power of a community.’
“The responsibility in maintaining a vibrant Federation must be shared by all. We cannot depend on a generous older base of donors. Collectively, it is time we all dig a little deeper, in order to spread the responsibility. I myself look into the mirror and ask two questions:
1. Am I or We doing all that can be done for the community as far as time and resources?
2. Equally as thought provoking, what do I want to be remembered for in regards to my legacy?”
Rabbi Andrew Bloom delivered a d’var Torah and Cynthia Gilbert, outgoing chair of Jewish Family Services reported on the work of JFS and its plans for future growth, had Meredith Arms elected as a new member of the JFS committee and welcomed Alex Nason in as the new chair of the JFS committee.
The Federation nominating committee, chaired by Marilyn Englander, recommended the following who were approved to join its board of directors for three year terms: Auryn Goldman, Dr. David Klein, Dr. Daniel Oshman, Diane Kleinman, Rebecca Cristol, Howard Rosenthal, David Nudleman and Jeff Rothschild.
The nominating committee also recommended the following officers, which were approved for one year terms: Jeffrey Hochster, president; Lon Werner, vice president/campaign and allocations; Karen Kaplan, vice president/administration; Robert Simon, vice president/community relations; Sheldon Levy, treasurer; and Todd Blumenfeld, secretary.
Alex and Sophia Nason shared their harrowing experience emigrating from the former Soviet Union. Essentially, they are the Federation in action.
“I would like share with you my thoughts of one of the reasons we survived in the anti-Semitic environment over there (former Soviet Union). The outsiders never knew about our differences. They saw us as one group, just Jews. Using this podium today, I would like to say that we, the Jews in Tarrant County would have a much stronger voice if the outsiders will see us as one Jewish community. I strongly believe that being united under one umbrella, the Jewish Federation in our case, is an important point in our Jewish continuity.”
Kol ha Kavod to the Federation. May you continue to grow from strength to strength and generation to generation.