Assembling the Jewish community

Volunteer/Where good neighbors get together

November 19, 1991|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

SOME 1,200 members of the Jewish community are volunteering their time to assure the success of the 60th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations, which opens here tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Convention Center.

''This is the largest gathering of Jewish . . . leaders in North America," says Peggy Warner, project manager. "We will have 3,000 delegates from 189 Jewish federations attending. These delegates represent nearly 800 localities embracing a Jewish population of 6.1 million in the United States and Canada.''

Tomorrow evening's opening ceremonies will include a speech by Barbara Himmelrich, executive chairwoman of the General Assembly, and on Thursday morning, the full gathering is scheduled to hear Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Also speaking will be Rabbi David Hartman, founder and director of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and the Pearlstone Scholar-in-Residence for the GA; Bishop Krister Stendahl, former bishop to Sweden and currently on the faculty of the Harvard Divinity School; Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York; and U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin.

''During the assembly, there will be some 200 meetings which include plenary sessions, forums, workshops and business sessions for planning and action on local and international issues,'' says Himmelrich, noting that two of the programs will be open to the public -- the 8:30 Sunday morning talk by Rabbi Hartman and also a Christian/Jewish interfaith forum at 4 p.m. Thursday. Both are free.

For details about these events and other GA information, call 625-1991.

Citing the importance of this meeting, Himmelrich says that ''it is a meeting to honor the collective Jewish leadership of North America for commitment, energy and dedication to causes and needs of Jews at home and throughout the world."

The Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore works to preserve and enhance Jewish life at home, in Israel and in the world through its agencies and beneficiaries by addressing charitable, educational, religious, humanitarian, health, cultural and social service needs of the Jewish community, she adds.

Himmelrich compliments the many volunteers for their untiring help in planning and structuring the work necessary to make sure the upcoming meeting will be a success.

''My four co-chairs are Carole Sibel, Naomi Levin, Myra Gold and Jane Schapiro, who have developed groups who will deal with ambience, corporate sponsorship, bus tours and entertainment and more. They will have 600 guides in the Convention Center daily, volunteers as greeters in the lobbies of eight local hotels morning and evening and at the airport and train station plus much more.

''At headquarters, Louise Goodman and Myra Askin are in charge of hospitality. Linda Himmelrich will handle the volunteer headquarters. Brenda Lipitz is president of the women's committee and is planning an entertainment for all heads of women's committees. With it all, not one person has complained,'' she says, noting that the GA staff includes Warner, the project manager, and assistant project manager Carollee Getz.

A role model in volunteering, Himmelrich, whose husband Sam is CEO of Inland Leidy Chemical Corporation, says she has ''four grown children, three in-law children, five grandchildren and a lot of energy.''

She can't remember not volunteering for some cause. Her help to others includes being on the boards of Action for the Homeless, United Way, House of Ruth and Park School, and she is trustee of the Maryland Institute of Art.

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