Dallas Doings: Graduates, philanthropy

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Amitai Abouzaglo
Amitai Abouzaglo

Ariella Choen
Ariella Choen

Avi Baynash
Avi Baynash

Elena Okowita
Elena Okowita

Ethan Fisher
Ethan Fisher

Sarah Wilensky
Sarah Wilensky

Sharon Levin
Sharon Levin

Schultz Scholars named

Six Yavneh Academy students have been named Schultz Scholars for the 2015-16 academic year. The Yavneh students include four graduating seniors and two juniors whose academic achievement and co-curricular leadership exemplifies the best of Yavneh Academy. The Schultz Scholars are:

  • Amitai Abouzaglo, Grade 12 (Harvard University)
    Abouzaglo, Class of 2016 valedictorian, has been widely involved both in and beyond campus in AIPAC, Student Government, Athletics, Students for Students, and journalism, where he served as editor-in-chief of the school’s award-winning student newspaper, The Bulldog Print. He will attend Harvard University in the fall.
  • Avi Baynash, Grade 12 (Yeshiva University)
    Baynash, Class of 2016 salutatorian, has excelled in Judaic and general studies, and has served as a student leader in robotics, journalism and Jewish life. Avi will attend Yeshiva University on YU’s Top Merit Scholarship starting in the fall.
  • Ariella Cohen, Grade 11
    Cohen has distinguished herself academically and co-curricularly during her three years at Yavneh. A leader in Student Government, Bnei Akiva, journalism and community service, Ariella will represent Yavneh at next month’s International Girls’ Math Competition — Ulpaniada 5776 — in Jerusalem.
  • Ethan Fisher, Grade 12 (UT Dallas)
    Fisher has excelled academically and has been a leader in the school’s theater and drama program, and is responsible for the founding of several innovative student clubs and activities. A standout in the area of community service and school spirit, Ethan will attend University of Texas at Dallas on a Merit Scholarship this fall.
  • Elena Okowita, Grade 12 (UNT)
    Okowita has been an exemplary student and school citizen during her three years at Yavneh. She has served on the admissions committee and been active in several community service projects. Elena will attend The University of North Texas Honors Program in the fall.
  • Sarah Wilensky, Grade 11
    Wilensky has excelled in every area at Yavneh since her freshman year. Her contributions to creative writing, journalism and community service, together with her top scholar status, have made her an integral part of the Yavneh Family.

— Submitted by Yavneh Academy

Local philanthropist Sharon Levin selected Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland honoree

Photo: Yossi Zamir Israel Bonds presentation Israel Bonds National Board Member Jason Schwartz of Dallas presents Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with a framed copy of the Bonds 65th Anniversary Medal, commemorating the historic moment in 1951 when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion officially launched the new enterprise. The presentation was made on behalf of a visiting Israel Bonds delegation consisting of more than 100 participants from three continents. President Rivlin, who hosted the delegates at his official residence May 15, noted that since its inception, the Bonds organization has achieved nearly $40 billion in worldwide sales, adding,“Israel Bonds is not just a way to show support for Israel, it is a way to show faith in Israel — faith in our growth, faith in our development and faith in our future.”

Photo: Ilene Zidow Cantorial concert Metroplex cantors and choirs performed a concert at Temple Shalom, “The Songs of Shalom,” May 26. Pictured are, front row, from left, Cantor Roz Barak and Cantor Sheri Allen; second row, from left, Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker, Cantorial Soloist Raquel Pomerantz Gershon, Cantor Devorah Avery, Cantor Don Croll and Cantor Leslie Niren at the “Songs of Shalom” Metroplex Concert of Cantors and Choirs 2016 at Temple Shalom.

Sharon Levin has been selected as the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland (KWF) honoree at the upcoming International Lion of Judah Conference later this year. The KWF Award is named after the founders of the Lion of Judah, Norman Kipnis-Wilson and Toby Friedland, z”l, and recognizes extraordinary women who have set a high standard for philanthropy and volunteerism. More than 1,500 of the most passionate, dynamic Jewish women from across the U.S. and Israel will embark on a trip to the nation’s capital to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Lion of Judah at the International Lion of Judah Conference taking place in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-13, 2016.
Sharon is a “woman of valor” with a lifetime commitment to the Jewish world and has made a difference locally and across the globe; she embodies the spirit and vision of tzedakah and tikkun olam.
“We are thrilled that Sharon has been selected to receive this prestigious award and honored that we have the privilege of sharing in her talents and gifts at the Federation,” said Bradley Laye, president and CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “Her leadership can be felt across all levels of the Dallas Jewish community,” he added.
With an extensive history of community involvement, Sharon credits the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas for her training, mentoring and giving her the foundation and springboard for all of her Jewish communal volunteer work which all started with the young women’s group, Younger Set. She instituted The Lion of Judah division and the first Younger Set mission to New York where she led her first caucus.
Sharon graduated from Young Leadership Development Group, became a Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) National Young Leadership Cabinet alumnus, and has been a division chair for many divisions including Women’s Philanthropy. After demonstrating exemplary leadership, it was no surprise Sharon received the Bess Nathan Young Leadership Award in 1987.
Her other Jewish communal involvement includes the past presidency of Congregation Shearith Israel, and currently the chair of Shearith’s Inclusion Commission. She serves as vice chair of the Legacy Midtown Park Capital Campaign for the Legacy Senior Communities, is a member of Federation’s Upgrade & Acquisition Committee, is a member of the Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center Board, and is on JFNA’s National Women’s Philanthropy Board.
Sharon continues to lead Campaign caucuses. She led the Dallas caucus at the 2014 International Lion of Judah Conference, and a Dallas’ community’s mission caucus in Israel, winter 2015. Sharon and her husband, Chuck, reside in Dallas. They have three sons, Adam, David, and Daniel.
“Sharon is an extraordinary woman who demonstrates the passion, commitment and dedication to the Jewish values we all hold,” said Carol Kreditor, chair, Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center. “Her ongoing leadership will undoubtedly continue to make a difference in the lives of our Jewish community in Dallas, across the country and around the world,” she added.
The Lion of Judah Giving Society recognizes women who contribute $5,000 or more to the Annual Campaign each year. Lions are strong, committed women, of all ages and from many walks of life, from around the world who play an essential role in creating social justice, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, preserving human dignity and building Jewish identity. Today, more than 16,000 women worldwide proudly wear the gold Lion pin to signify their commitment. To register to attend and or to learn more about the conference, visit www.lionconference.org.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas is the central coordinating fundraising agency for the Dallas Jewish community. It is the one place where philanthropy, volunteerism and shared commitment come together to make a difference in the community and the world. From hometown to homeland, Federation brings life-saving and life-sustaining care to Jews in need in Dallas, Israel and overseas. Visit www.jewishdallas.org for more information.
— Submitted by Jamie Moore

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