HomeApril 2012Celebrate Good Times & Good People

Celebrate Good Times & Good People

In the spirit of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) Rabbis say, “Upon three things the world does stand: Torah, work and loving acts.”  With this in mind, on Sunday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m.the JCC will host a Celebration Ball honoring four people in our Jewish community who personify these principles.
The honorees for 2012 are Adeline Cohen, Ann and Joel Moskowitz and Dr. Leonard Sender.
Now in her 90s, Cohen has been a volunteer and a board member (since 1993) for Merage JCC.  She has been instrumental in creating the senior adult program in the J’s new facility.  But that’s not all!  Cohen has also been involved in the Bureau of Jewish Education, Jewish Family Service, the Leisure World Federation, Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy and B’nai Brith.  Adeline has also helped tutor immigrants, participated in job training and countless other programs!
“My mom was always involved in helping people and teaching me the importance of caring about and helping others – especially if they came from another country and needed support in becoming acclimated to how we do things here.  It rubbed off on me, and now I hope that my continued involvement rubs off on others,” said Cohen.
A believer in the theory of “you get what you give,” Cohen said that when you help others, you get a great feeling when you do good things.  Now living in Heritage Pointe in Mission Viejo, Cohen is involved with a program that connects seniors with kids and helps them discover the importance of doing mitzvah projects.  “I’ve enjoyed getting to participate in this group.  My hope is that I influence the coming generation about the importance of helping not only our Jewish world, but the rest of the world as well.”
The Moskowitzes have been very involved in the Jewish community throughout their marriage, which took place in 1964.  Joel has been a past president of Temple Bat Yahm and is on the board of trustees of Alfred University.  Ann has held several positions in Temple Bat Yahm’s sisterhood, she’s been on the board of the Orange Coast Interfaith Shelter and the Women’s Auxiliary of the Jewish Senior Center of Orange County and held several positions on the Federation board.
Joel credits their marriage as the inspiration for their volunteer work within the community.  As he said, “Ann suggested we join a temple and that was the beginning of our love of helping not only our Jewish community, but helping others within the world.”
Ann says that 25 years ago she went to a seminar held at the Women’s Division of Jewish Federation (now Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation & Family Services) entitled “So, you don’t like it; what are you going to do about it?” and it inspired her to do what she could to not only help those in need, but to raise awareness about the need for funds to create the programs to accomplish just that.  “I don’t mind making those calls to ask people to give what they can to help others.”
Dr. Leonard Sender has dedicated his life to helping children and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer.  He is the medical director of the CHOC Cancer Institute and division chief of Pediatric Oncology for Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty.  In addition, he is the director of Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Programs at both CHOC and UCI Medical Center’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Sender considers working with and for the children and their families an honor and a privilege.  “People have a very hard time understanding the ramifications of cancer,” he said.  “It is still something that stops people in their tracks.  And when a child or young adult is diagnosed, we have to realize what it means to the patient and the family.”
He added, “My father was a wonderful physician in South Africa, and he inspired me to become a doctor.   My goal is to have the families feel as if I’m doing the very best for their child on every level.  It’s a scary and difficult time for my patients.
“Think about it this way: how many of us lead our lives and look back and say, ‘Wow, where did the time go?’  For the children, youth and young adults and their families who are dealing with cancer, time literally stops for them.  They don’t know if they have a future.  And there is no cure; we strive for remission and do what we can to do the very best that science has to offer.  Plus we need to see them through the side effects of their treatment.  Will they be able to have a family?  For many, once they get to remission, has their fertility been affected?  Will they be able to count on a future doing what they’ve dreamed of doing?  Will they have lifelong limitations?”
Sender feels fortunate that he recently received a $10 million gift from the Hyundai Corporation to help in his efforts of improving the situations of adolescents and young adults (ages 15 to 39) who, as a distinct group of cancer patients, haven’t experienced the same degree of survival as compared to younger and older counterparts.
For Cohen, being recognized by the JCC is, “Extraordinary!  Years ago I had the honor of being recognized, but this makes me feel that I am still able to do something for my community, even though I’m in my 90s.  My feeling is that you should keep doing worthwhile things that help others in our Jewish community and outward as long as you can.”
The Moskowitzes feel the recognition is, “truly an honor.  It’s really important for all of us to go outward into the community and do what we can to help wherever we can.”
When Sender heard about being one of this year’s honorees, he said, “I was embarrassed, humbled and very honored all at the same time.  To be recognized for doing what you truly feel blessed to do is really the ‘cherry on the top’ of the sundae.  I have always lived my life according to Jewish values.  And I’ve had a wonderful life.”

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