By Jo Strausz Rosen
It’s time to Kvell about JSL!
There are many 80+ year old menschen in our community who deserve recognition for repairing the world. We are thrilled to introduce our 2023 Eight Over Eighty Honorees.
MAZEL TOV to Jim August, Barbara Cohen, Dennis Frank, Roslyn (Roz) Garber, Dr. Richard Krugel, Phyllis Lewkowicz, Janet Pont, and Elli Slovis.
These eight remarkable community members will be celebrated at Jewish Senior Life’s 30th Annual Eight Over Eighty Tikkun Olam Awards luncheon on Sunday, May 21 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. The entire Metropolitan Detroit community is invited to participate. We will share additional details in upcoming newsletters and on our website at: jslmi.org/8over80 Watch your mail for the invitation to attend and support JSL at our largest yearly fundraiser and celebrate the remarkable contributions these honorees have made to our community.
Jim August has a community service background for over five decades. He has held leadership positions with Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. He served as President of Detroit Men’s ORT, the Michigan Jewish Conference, the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Vice President of JTA, as well as being the founding President of JET, the Jewish Ensemble Theater, the oldest continuously operating Jewish theater in North America. Since the 1950’s, Jim has worked with cultural and human needs organizations across the nation to improve the lives of others, with his cultural commitment to the Jewish community creating a bridge of understanding to the community at large.
Barbara Cohen is a Holocaust survivor, and a docent and speaker at the Zekelman Holocaust Center, where she shares her own stories as a hidden child and serves as a welcoming face for visitors. Barbara volunteers weekly at Meer Apartments on the West Bloomfield campus of Jewish Senior Life teaching chair exercise. She is a Jewish Hospice volunteer, and a longtime volunteer and member of Congregation Beth Ahm. She also delivers treats to survivors and their families at JSL’s Program for Holocaust Survivors & Families monthly Café Europa gathering.
Dennis Frank, CPA, has been involved in the Metropolitan Detroit community for many decades. He has served as President of Temple Beth El, TBE Brotherhood, and the Married Group, and he continues to serve on their Board of Directors. Dennis volunteered as President of Oakland Family Services and as President of the Metropolitan Federation of Reform Synagogues (METFed), Treasurer of Michigan Jewish AIDS Commission, and Treasurer of the Jewish Gay Network. He currently sits on the boards of the JCC and the Farmington Hills Police & Fire Benevolent Association, and on the Michigan Jewish Historical Society Advisory Committee. In addition to his board work he volunteers with Southfield Goodfellows, JCC Matzo Factory and steps up on Super Sunday to make calls for JFMD.
Roslyn “Roz” Garber is a force in both Detroit and Israel. Dedicated to Tikkun Olam, she has volunteered in Israel for the “Winter in Netanya” program, taught English at a boarding school for Ethiopian and Israeli-born boys, and helped 12th graders at Netanya’s Tchernikovsky Public High School prepare for college entrance exams. Independent and selfless, Roz is an active member of Congregation B’nai Moshe and can often be found in the kitchen volunteering on the Sisterhood Kiddush Lunch Team on Shabbat. She is a member of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women, as well as a volunteer at Yad Ezra.
Dr. Richard Krugel has been a DMC physician for fifty years and has spent his entire life volunteering in the Jewish Community. He chaired The Jewish Fund, spearheading initiatives to support Detroit-based medical and neighborhood charitable organizations related to the former Sinai Hospital. He was active on the Boards of JCRC, Tamarack (Fresh Air Society) and the United Jewish Foundation. He is still an active leader and fundraiser for The Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit presented him with the Frank A. Wetsman Award for Young Leadership in 1981 and the Fred M. Butzel Award in 2014, recognizing his lifelong service to the community.
Phyllis Lewkowicz is a JSL Hechtman resident who remains an active volunteer. Although she is visually impaired, she uses a specially enhanced computer along with her creativity to design and sell greetings cards to resident sponsors to fund the Hechtman Resident Council flower fund, which provides flowers on the tables each Shabbat. From her greeting card sales, Phyllis also donates to the West Bloomfield Police and Fire Departments, to show appreciation for their dedicated service on our campus. A former Livonia resident, Phyllis was very active with the Livonia Shul as Sisterhood President and helped prepare kiddish lunches for the congregation, continuing that service at B’nai Moshe when the Livonia Shul closed. Phyllis loves to cook and bake, handing out her delicious treats, meals and desserts to residents and staff, and making so many feel special.
Janet Pont has made Judaism accessible, relatable, and full of joy for hundreds of families for more than six decades. She has demonstrated her long-term commitment to teaching with love and inclusivity across the community, in Jewish schools, camps, and businesses. Her lifelong devotion to Congregation Shaarey Zedek started when she was a 17-year-old camp counselor and continued through serving as Executive Director – with numerous roles in between, including many decades of teaching. Beyond her extensive professional background, she has been a volunteer with Hadassah, Congregation Beth Ahm, Jewish Family Service’s Cancer Thrivers, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network (JHCN) Dimensions Advocacy Board. She serves as a friendly visitor to individuals with terminal diagnoses and is a member of the JHCN’s Grand Circle of Women.
Ellie Slovis has volunteered at Cranbrook Institute of Science and initiated their science curriculum for visually and hearing-impaired children. Through her years with Cranbrook, Ellie was a room mother, taught enrichment classes, and started the “Picture Lady” program. She volunteered at Children’s Hospital as the “art lady,” bringing projects to children who were being treated for cancer. Ellie taught English to new Americans, joined the Soviet Jewry Committee, and co-chaired the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program to help children understand the struggles of Jews in the former Soviet Union. She was actively involved in the Family-to-Family Program, linking families of new Americans with families in the community, initiating a “Coffee and Conversation” program at Congregation Beth Shalom. She joined the Holocaust Education Committee and is an active member of many committees and nonprofits.