Community Leaders to Be Honored at “Dinner of Ideas” Hosted by The Jewish Theological Seminary

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

March 28, 2008, New York, NY

Community leaders Marcia and Alan Leifer, and author and theologian Rabbi Harold Kushner will be honored at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s first annual Boston Dinner of Ideas on Tuesday, April 29. The evening of dining and conversation will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Gann Academy, 333 Forest Street, Waltham. Professor Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor of JTS, will present the leadership awards.

The conversation will focus on “Too Jewish or Not Jewish Enough?” a look at Conservative Movement schools and camps. Dr. Jeffrey Kress, chair of the Department of Jewish Education at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS, will moderate. The panelists, who will directly engage with dinner guests, will include Rabbi Marc Baker, head of school, Gann Academy; Rabbi Ed Gelb, director, Camp Ramah–New England; Jane Taubenfeld Cohen, head of school, South Area Solomon Schechter Day School; and Arnold Zar-Kessler, head of school, Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston.

Recipients of the Community Leadership Award, Marcia and Alan Leifer have been involved in Jewish educational and philanthropic organizations for nearly three decades.

Members of Temple Emanuel, the Leifers were co-chairs of the congregation’s Make Your Mark Sefer Torah Writing Publicity Committee, which was awarded a Gold Prize for Publications by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The Leifers are graduates of Hebrew College’s Me’ah program, and their four children are current students or alumni of Solomon Schechter Day School, Camp Ramah–New England, Gann Academy, and Prozdor.

Marcia Leifer is chair of the Creative Arts Committee of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston and a past member of the board of Boston’s Bureau of Jewish Education and Jewish Big Brother and Big Sister Association.

After retiring from Fidelity Investments, where he held several management positions, Alan Leifer began a full-time involvement in Jewish communal interests. He is a member of the board of governors and board of managers of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, where he founded the Jewish Community Endowment Pool, a director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and a trustee of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. He previously served as vice president of Hebrew College and most recently was appointed Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Harold Kushner is Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, having served the congregation for twenty-four years. He is best known as the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, an international best seller first published in 1981. He has also written When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, which was awarded the Christopher Medal for its contribution to the exaltation of the human spirit. The author of six other New York Times best-sellers, he is one of the editors of Etz Hayim, Conservative Judaism’s commentary on the Torah. Ordained at JTS, he has six honorary doctorates.

The couvert is $360 per couple or $200 for individuals. The RSVP deadline is Tuesday, April 22. Further information is available by contacting Joan Goodman, director of the Northeast Region of JTS, at (212) 678-8861.