JFS of MetroWest hosts an ‘Evening of Laughter’
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JFS of MetroWest hosts an ‘Evening of Laughter’

JFS board president Andrea G. Bier presents the late Maxine Myers’ sons with a gift from the agency. (Photos courtesy JFS)
JFS board president Andrea G. Bier presents the late Maxine Myers’ sons with a gift from the agency. (Photos courtesy JFS)

On June 1, about 200 people attended Jewish Family Service of MetroWest’s annual gala, “An Evening of Laughter.” The celebration, held outdoors at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, honored the legacy of Maxine Myers z”l, by renaming its volunteer department in her memory. Guests bought “Cookies for a Cause” to support the critical needs of the community, and enjoyed entertainment by comedian Ryan Hamilton.

Diane K. Squadron, the CEO of JFS, renames the volunteer department; it is now the Maxine Myers JFS volunteer services department.

Maxine Myers was a cherished friend, benefactor, and longtime JFS board member who provided leadership funding to help strengthen JFS Safety Net, the Horizon Endowment, and the Rachel Coalition Endowment. Her generosity helped JFS to establish its legacy and major gifts societies, and that has strengthened the MetroWest community for generations.

Back row, from left, Andrea G. Bier; An Evening of Laughter chair Rachel Braverman, and Diane K. Squadron. Front row from left, Paul Brownstein, Susan Rueda, Stephanie Gerstein, and Gary Berger.

The following volunteers were honored: Stephanie Gerstein of West Orange, who has volunteered with JFS since 2015 in many areas including Reading Buddies and Listen to Children and for older adults, Friendly Visiting and Tessie’s Touch, was the Maxine Myers z”l volunteer award. Gary Berger of Maplewood was the Covid-19 Response Programs award winner. During the pandemic, JFS started a meal delivery program for Holocaust survivors and other vulnerable older adults who benefited from a socially distant weekly hot meal and check-in. Gary volunteered and delivered meals to clients across Morris, Essex, and Union counties, brought care packages of necessities to survivors, and is also a part of the virtual Reading Buddies program. Susan Rueda of Nutley was the Reading Buddies award recipient. She joined the program in 2020, one of its most challenging years, and uses her dogs, Leela and Odie, to engage the children. Paul Brownstein of Livingston received the Older Adult Programs award. He’s a dedicated Money Management volunteer who has served JFS clients over his five-year tenure in the program. Ayne Klein-Chasid of East Hanover earned the Medicare Counseling State Health Insurance Assistance Program award for her patience and efficiency in counseling clients in the Essex County community.

The Evening of Laughter committee: back row, from left, Emily Neider, Sandi Rosenbaum, Jessica Gantman, and Rachel G. Wilf, all of Short Hills. Front row from left, Lois Kaish of Springfield, Merle Kalishman of Livingston, Rachel Braverman of Short Hills, comedian Ryan Hamilton, Andrea G. Bier of West Orange, and Robin Polson of Maplewood.

The corporate event sponsors that were thanked for their support included Sunrise Shoprite (West Caldwell and Parsippany), BNE Real Estate Group, Lereah Financial Group, Shufro Rose Wealth Management, McCarter & English, New Frontier, the Preferred Client Group, the Saritte Harel Team at Keller Williams, Amanda Damesek at Sotheby’s Prominent Properties, Goldman Sachs, Toshiba Business Solutions, and SAX Accounting.

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